How would you like a job as “sandwich man”? Or how about “inspector of lunch” or “collector of eggs”? Those are some of the rather arcane job titles listed by individuals answering the 1880 U.S. Census, according to the ancestry.com website.
Bars seemed to be a popular service industry 130 years ago, as some 30,000 individuals (out of a total population of 50 million) listed themselves as “saloonkeepers.” Given that about 40 percent of the population was under age 15, that meant one of every thousand people 15 or over was peddling booze to the other 999 (or, since most women, and some men, didn't frequent saloons, the figure is probably closer to one barkeep for every couple hundred drinkers.)
There weren't quite as many sandwich men or egg collectors, but they no doubt served an equally valuable function. Who wants to make their own sandwich or collect their own eggs when there are professionals out there who can do the job better? Left to your own devices, you would miss some eggs or mess up your sandwich assembly. You would misalign the meat and cheese, use the wrong kind of bread or fail to get full coverage with the mayo. These are an amateur's mistakes. An accomplished sandwich man would never make them.
Even if they did, they would never get away with it. Not with all those lunch inspectors around…
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Minced meat and bread”
— What North Korean authorities require the insular Communist state's first burger joint to call its signature product, to distance it from its American associations. The restaurant, a unit of the Singapore-based Waffletown chain, opened in May in the capital of Pyongyang (from the British newspaper The Telegraph, October 13, 2009)