Many different locations establish their own forms of currency to get things done. Prisons trade in cigarettes, Disney World in Disney Dollars, the Internet uses BitCoin, but in Toms River FuncoLand we used The Chicken Parm Sub. We had a few food options in the T.J. Maxx Plaza: Subway, Chinese food, a hot dog place, and Italian restaurant called, at the time, Pizza Plaza (Now it is known as Dario’s but its the same place). Pizza Plaza had a lot of different food options, and they were all great. But their Chicken Parm Sub was something special. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you if there was anything different about it but it was just so delicious.
We all pretty much loved that particular sub and we would often get halves for dinner or lunch. A whole was like 14″ and over $10. (We’re talking late 90s – early 2000s here for over $10 for lunch was crazy talk.) The half was like 6″-7″ and only $5 and change. It was a great value. I don’t remember exactly how it came about but we used to use the Chicken Parm Sub as a form of currency to get others to do things for us. We were all guilty of this, but the most guilty of all would be Wooza.
Wooza would often open the store alone in the mornings during the week. This was normal operating procedure for our store. But Wooza would often get lonely during the day. My Summer mornings in the year 2000 consisted of the following: I would keep odd hours, often staying up until 3am or 4am sometimes, and sleep until my afternoon shift. My bedroom phone would ring about 10am like clock work almost every time I was scheduled to work that afternoon.
Wooza: Piotrowskis, when you coming in?
Me: Wooza I’m not scheduled till 4pm. So 4pm.
Wooza: I’m lonely, come keep me company.
Me: Wooza, I just fell asleep like 5 hours ago I’m tired.
Wooza: Come on bro, you can clock in, just come keep me company.
Me: WOOZA, come on man I’m tired.
Wooza: I’ll buy you a Chik Parm.
At this point of the conversation I would usually give in but depending on how bad I didn’t want to go in, I would strike a bargain. Most days I’d settle for a half. Some days I would want a whole. This would show Wooza I meant business about how badly I didn’t want to come in early. Most of the time Wooza would give in and buy the whole. However there were times he didn’t, and I guess on those days he wasn’t as lonely as he thought. It was a good system. I got free a lunch and sometimes dinner (half vs. whole) plus my hourly wage, and Wooza got company for most of the day.
Wooza would also use the sub as a way to get us to do pull backs, defective shipments, and the usual housekeeping tasks that we needed to do at FuncoLand that were time consuming and annoying. I know Shane and Kenny D were on the receiving end of many a Chicken Parm Sub like I was when we worked for Wooza. I only wonder if he still uses this technique on his current job?
I’ve been meaning to go back to Pizza Plaza and have a Chicken Parm Sub as its been over 12 years since I’ve had one. I hope they are as good as they used to be. One day I’ll get there. Maybe it will be to reunite with my FuncoLand friends…