adBlockCheck

Business-Card Drawing For Free Sandwich Mired In Scandal

Top Headlines

Recent News

The Arguments For And Against Bernie Sanders Staying In The Race

Bernie Sanders is ramping up his efforts in the presidential race despite long odds, while sharpening his criticisms of a Democratic Party increasingly focused on the general election with Hillary Clinton as their presumptive nominee. Here are the arguments for and against Sanders staying in the race

Report: Nobody Fucking Cares

NEW YORK—According to a brief but conclusive report released Monday, nobody fucking cares. “Doesn’t fucking matter,” read the report in part, which went on to inform readers that no one gives two shits, so fuck it.

Mom Sleeps In Past Sunrise

WOBURN, MA―Noting that she had somehow managed to sleep through both the dawn chorus of birds and her neighborhood’s early morning garbage pickup, 53-year-old local mother Laura Maloney confirmed that she did not awaken Monday until after the sun had risen.

Facebook Clarifies Site Not Intended To Be Users’ Primary Information Source

‘No One Should Really Be On Here More Than 15 Minutes A Day,’ Say Executives

MENLO PARK, CA—Addressing concerns about the site’s alleged bias in how it displays news stories in users’ feeds, Facebook executives held a press conference Thursday to clarify that the social network was not intended to serve as anyone’s primary source of information, and that its 1.6 billion active users should, at most, be spending 15 minutes on the platform in a given day in the first place.

Heart Attack A Real Wake-Up Call For Man’s Insurance Provider

HARTFORD, CT—Saying the incident had forced them to completely rethink their past decisions about the man’s coverage and how they would approach his policy from here on out, Aetna executives reported Thursday that the recent heart attack of longtime plan member Michael Burns was a real wake-up call for the 163-year-old insurance company.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next

Business-Card Drawing For Free Sandwich Mired In Scandal

HOUSTON–Controversy has engulfed a suburban Einstein Bagels store, where for months a business-card drawing for a free bagel sandwich has been mired in corruption, store sources reported Monday.

The site of the controversial drawing.

"I thought a weekly drawing would be a fun way to bring in the lunch crowd," store manager and contest creator Tim Bednarik said. "I had no idea how many problems a free-sandwich giveaway could create."

Thirteen weeks ago, Bednarik kicked off the contest by placing a fishbowl at the front register, inviting customers to "Drop In A Business Card And Win A FREE Bagel Sandwich!" Since then, Bednarik said, there have been at least 10 confirmed cases of drawing-related fraud, including business-card falsification, fishbowl stuffing, and illegal removal of competing cards.

"I've had people try to claim that they won a free sandwich when they didn't," Bednarik said. "I've had employees messing with the bowl. It's been one headache after another."

As stipulated by Bednarik, every Sunday evening, after the store is closed, a new business card is to be drawn from the fishbowl in preparation for an announcement the following morning. The winning business card is thumb-tacked to a bulletin board under the heading "This Week's Lucky Winner!" and the previous week's winner is relocated to another section of the bulletin board under the heading "Past Winners." Winners have 10 days to claim their free sandwich.

Despite Bednarik's efforts to preserve the integrity of the contest, many customers have cried foul.

"This is the second week in a row that someone from that bookstore across the street has won," said Lynne Rangel, 39, an M&G Advertising administrative assistant and regular Einstein lunch patron. "I think someone working at Einstein's has friends over there. That's not fair."

Added Rangel: "Maybe I should take my business down to Schlotzky's Deli."

While the charges of bookstore favoritism remain unproven, other cases of sandwich graft have been confirmed. Several weeks ago, Bednarik discovered that employees had been sifting through the bowl to select winners, rather than simply sticking their hands in and blindly pulling out a card.

"We were all bored, so we'd go through all the cards and check out where everyone worked," said Einstein employee Dan Pruitt, 20. "We found this one guy whose last name was Luyck, and we thought it'd be funny if a guy named 'luck' won, so we picked him."

Pruitt and fellow employee Debi Richards, 21, admitted to hand-picking as many as four sandwich winners. Among them was Vince Neff.

"It said on [Neff's] card that he was the owner of a janitorial-supply store," said Richards, wiping down a table. "We thought it'd be cool to see him win a free sandwich instead of one of those lawyer or business-guy assholes who come in here for lunch all the time."

Business card fishbowl.

Though Pruitt and Richards were caught by Bednarik and stripped of their winner-selecting privileges, the corruption continued.

"I saw that one tall bearded guy with the windbreaker hanging around by the register," employee Greg Fontana said. "Then, when he left, I noticed the bowl was half empty. I think he took some of the cards. It was either him or those raver kids with the backpacks."

Fontana said he has also spotted at least two other customers dropping in stacks of cards and then shuffling the cards in the bowl to conceal their illicit deed.

"The sign clearly says 'One Card Per Visit, Please!'" Fontana said. "I mean, what the fuck?"

Still more problems arose over the issue of what constitutes a free sandwich.

"We had one guy come in here to get his free sandwich, and he orders double everything–double cheese, double ham, double tomatoes. I mean, the thing was loaded," cashier Christine Lilly said. "Then he asks for a single extra bagel on the side. Well, I don't have to tell you what he was planning to do with all those extras."

One customer went so far as to question the intrinsic fairness of a bagel-sandwich giveaway that requires a business card to participate.

"Why should I not get a chance to win a free sandwich, just because I don't have a business card?" customer and self-employed watercolor artist Diane Maurer said. "I feel like I'm being punished for not working in a corporate office."

The controversy swirling around the drawing has been a major blow to Bednarik, whose aim was to generate excitement and foster positive Einstein-related feelings throughout his customer base.

"I should have known this would happen, considering the whole punch-card debacle," said Bednarik, referring to an October 1999 Einstein promotion in which customers could collect punches on a card to get an 11th cup of coffee free. "We had people asking for cards with seven or eight punches to replace cards they claimed they'd lost. We had people bringing in cards with punches that didn't match the shape of our puncher. That month was hell."

As a stopgap measure, Bednarik has temporarily removed the fishbowl from the register area.

"I'd like to think we can do something nice for our customers," Bednarik said. "It's a shame, but maybe it just isn't possible in this day and age."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close