I want my dollar back.

Hungry and in a slight hurry, I dropped by the East Bay Deli (334 E. Bay Street, 843-723-1234) today shortly after 1 p.m. for a late-lunch-rush take-out order of their New York Yankee — a triple decker pastrami and corned beef with swiss on rye. The place was pretty full, but there was no one in line ahead of me. The cashier took my 20, asked me for my name, and handed back the change — no problems, very polite. “We’ll call your name out when it’s ready.” Cool. I dropped a dollar into the plastic tip jar by the register and stepped to the side by the “Pick Up” counter.

I skimmed through a copy of last week’s Preview. Twice. Ten minutes go by. I browsed a copy of Charleston Review with the Duda Lucena on the cover. Twenty minutes. Nothing. I kept glancing at the cashiers and servers — and at the black Styrofoam boxes piling up at the counter. Nothing. No name called, no acknowledgement. Joe Giant**, an acquaintance from the band scene walks in the back door and greets me — he’s about to clock in for his shift at the Deli.

“Hey Joe, how about checking on my lunch order,” I say.

Joe: “How long have you been waiting?”

“Over 25 minutes or so — they said they’d call my name.”

Joe walks to the far end of the counter by the salad bar and drink area — there it is, just sitting there.

Joe: “I don’t know how long this has been sitting over there …”

(my original cashier looks over): “Oh, they probably called your name a while ago.”

“Well, I’ve been standing right here waiting — and I never heard any name called.”

Cashier: “Yeah, you just didn’t hear it because of the chaos.” (turns away).

Joe: “Sorry, man.”

I shoulda gotten the Salad Bar.

I want my dollar back.

**(Giant dropped by with a generous offer of a free lunch this afternoon — East Bay Deli has been redeemed … I’ll try another “Yankee” soon, thanks!).

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