AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 7/14/2004 04:06:00 PM ----- BODY:

Au Bon Pain

There's a new one of these that just opened up at a busy intersection near where I work, one I have to pass through every time I leave or return to work, be it in the morning or on a lunch break or leaving for the day. It looks to be the Au Bon Pain megastore, from what I can see, the bistro equivalent of one of those sprawling, obscenely sized Wal-Marts that dominate Midwestern landscapes. From what I've seen glancing at it on the way by, the building it's in is at least big enough for a Pier 1 Imports, which is, in my opinion, way too big for what is essentially a deli for snobs. Of course, I haven't taken that close a look at it primarily because of the lobotomized corporate slaves made to stand outside at the edge of the parking lot, attempting to woo commuters in for some Orangina. Who am I to question their Marketing Plan, but surely someone somewhere along the line could have politely suggested that this particular intersection is frequented mainly by people either coming out of traffic on 128 and late for work, or people coming out of work and heading for 128 traffic on their way home, and that that makes it a less than ideal location for lobotomized corporate slaves--dressed in complete chef's outfits, mind you--to shout, yell, wave, and on occasion even appear to be reaching into the windows of passing vehicles. That person, voice of reason though they may have been, appears to have been roundly bitchslapped before they could state their case. Because there are the lobotomized corporate slaves, every single day so far this week, being as obnoxious as possible. Finally today on my lunch hour, passing this sad pantheon of human misery, I had to share it with someone. I called Tim. "You know, when you see things like that, you can't help but think, 'Wow, I'm actually doing pretty good'," he said. "I mean, that's just one step above having to dress as an inanimate object. "After that, it's nothing but Pepsi cans or giant lobsters."