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Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2007

Dave!I'm in a New York state of mind.

On my first trip to New York City, I had a laundry list of crap that simply had to be done... Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Hard Rock Cafe, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, The New York Public Library, Museum of Modern Art, Times Square... and a dozen other essential tourist haunts that first-time visitors to NYC are obligated to visit. Every morning I would get up and rush around the city trying to see as much as possible before my trip was over.

The last thing on my list was to eat at the Stage Deli. This New York City institution is famous for serving insanely big sandwiches. Seriously insanely big. These things are at least six-inches tall...

Stage Deli Sandwich

And so on the last night of the last day I walked a block behind my hotel (The Hilton) to 7th Avenue and dinner at the Stage Deli.

Where I proceeded to have one of the worst sandwiches I've ever eaten.

But I don't blame the Stage Deli. I blame myself.

It was my fault because I went there and ordered a "cheese sandwich" off the menu which, as you might guess, ended up being nothing more than a bazillion slices of American on bread. It was much like sitting down and eating a brick of cheese. And as much as I like cheese, that's just too much to take. But that's what I get for ordering something off the menu that doesn't work for how they build sandwiches. They gave me exactly what I had asked for because I wasn't thinking, so who else could I really blame except myself?

Which is why I tend to get a little upset when I do a job exactly how somebody tells me to, only to have them turn around and blame me because they don't like the result. But it happens quite often in my line of work, so I tend not to go ballistic when it happens.

Except when I'm donating my time and working for free.

Today I had somebody bitch at me because a logo I made for a charity event had too much yellow in it.

It was a drawing of a ring of stars circling a moon, which is exactly what they had asked for.

So I re-colored it with a variety different star and background color combinations, only to have them get upset because it looked "wrong" that way. At this point they told me that they had a couple of NEW ideas for a DIFFERENT logo since I was having trouble with their "vision." Biting my tongue, I apologized and explained that I am very, very busy this time of year and didn't have time to start all over. They grabbed the work I had done, gave me a terse "thanks" (as in "THANKS FOR NOTHING!") and stomped off.

And then tonight I get a call from a friend who overheard the event organizer bad-mouthing me because I promised to make them a logo and then bailed on them.


Categories: Food 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Hilly says:

    That’s bullshit. They should be thankful that you spend the amount of time and energy you DID both helping them AND dealing with them. I think we know what to do with that brick of cheese now! 😉

  2. RW says:

    Man what a jerk! Just go get a drink and to hell with them!

    Which makes me think of beer. Which makes me think of pastrami and mustard…

    Hold that thought. I’ll be right back…

  3. Brandon says:

    I’m sure that you didn’t use nearly enough clip art for their liking either.

  4. Humor Girl says:

    That sandwich is obscene.

  5. Wayne says:

    Also, high expectations can do that to you. Blue Man Group did that to me – I had seen them in Vegas at the Luxor, where the presentation was huge, the music was awesome, and it was well-refined art. I went to New York and saw that BMG was playing off-broadway and it was actually their original show, in the original theatre. I was so pumped. Went, and it was… eh. It definitely was good, but nowhere near my expectations. I had brought some folks from UK with me, talking it up, and they loved it, but I just shouldn’t have built it up for myself like that.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Speaking as someone who has worked in nonprofits for most of the past 20 years, I have to say that I HATE asshats like that who make the rest of us in the industry look bad by association.

    Most of us are tremendously grateful for the time, energy and resources professionals like you donate on a pro bono basis.

    And speaking as someone who has worked the marketing/PR side of things, I have to say that I HATE asshats who don’t recognize that it’s usually their own damn fault for either poorly communicating with a designer, or entirely lacking a vision and the imagination to go with it.

    Rat bastards!!

    I promise, if I ever ask you to design something for us, we will not only pay you, but I will trust your abilities, skill, knowledge and experience as a professional to deliver something wonderful. I just don’t know if we could afford you…

    There are those of us who recognize what you bring to the table, and admire your talent. And Bad Monkey, too.

  7. ssp says:

    I can’t remember the name of the place, but when I visisted NY with my parents 15 years ago or so, we had memorable huge sandwiches quite possibly right there 🙂

  8. The Ref says:

    I would have offered them the loan of your Mac (under supervision whilst eating a huge bowl of ice cream) and told them if they could do better then go ahead.

    I am sure within 5 minutes your creation, which I know would be wonderful, would have been on every marketing brochure, t-shirt that the charity had

  9. Looking at that seriously insane sandwich made me crave a Reuben. Yet as I read on, I realized a “charitable” organization had dissed our Dave’s professional work. All notions of a yummy Reuben were gone. Ungrateful bastards!

  10. Didn’t I warn you about being nice?

  11. Roberta says:

    Sucks. I work in advertising (or I did, now I’m just fired, which is not like working at all). I’m sure you’ve seen everything I’ve seen… clients changing their minds and pretending that’s not what they’re doing. One thing that people seem not to understand is that if you have something in your head, and you describe it perfectly, it will still likely be different in someone else’s head. And if you’re not a designer, you just have to accept that.
    And pro bono stuff is definitely worse when it goes wrong.
    I sing you my empathy. La la la!

  12. August says:

    Wow, I’d be mad too but I’m too darn nice to think of anything to get even. Too bad for jerky mean unappreciative people. It really sucks to be them, I imagine.

  13. Avitable says:

    That’s why they say that charity begins in your pants.

  14. MRKisThatKid says:

    Hey! Can you do a logo for me?

    Just kidding.

  15. Bre says:

    Gross. People can be such turds sometimes.

  16. kapgar says:

    Time to provide us with an e-mail address so we can spam them.

  17. jenny says:

    ugh. everyone thinks they’re a designer. and everyone thinks they can do marketing – seriously, i get our accounting and legal departments telling us how to write brochure copy.

    but really… that sounds like the most disgusting sandwich ever. 6 inches of cheese… gak. and i’m from wisconsin!

  18. Stephanie P says:

    F those people, Dave!

  19. kilax says:

    This does happen to graphic designers all the time. I took up some freelance designing a yearly publication for my university last fall. It never got anywhere because of that reason – they weren’t happy with anything I did, they didn’t know what they wanted (just that it wasn’t what I designed) and they never gave me any content.


    I wish we could see your work Dave! I bet it blows all the amatuers away!

  20. Karl says:

    Bastard charities.

  21. Bec says:

    As a member of a fundraising team for a charity I cannot believe they would be stupid enough to complain about someone helping them. It is hard enough tto get people to donate their time/energy/talent/money without idiot people like that making it harder.

    Don’t think of us all with the same mind… *Cough* We’re nice, trust us! 😉

  22. Catherine says:

    I’m picturing this fat, doughy, Disney villain lady with prim bright auburn hair that swings around and follows her like obedient pet when she pivots imperiously to storm away with her obsequious, shivering henchpeople.

    Fucking whore.

  23. Jeff says:

    That sandwich is over the top. That’s almost as bad as the Hardee’s 2/3-Lb. Double Thickburger. {urp

  24. Chag says:

    I’ve always found that the projects I do for free are the ones that take the longest. And the ones where I get, “Can you do this instead?” twenty times despite the fact we’ve already agreed to what they wanted.

  25. Lewis says:

    Maybe she ate a cheese sandwich too…..and maybe, just maybe, she’s constipated and all plugged up from it having so much cheese on it. Now, she’s irritable, a real bitch, and…obvious….ungrateful and unthankful, two qualities that I really can’t get my head around. Um, bye bye. Don’t let the door hit you. Oh, and a big PS, next time you decide to hit NYC, I’d love an invitation.

  26. Dan says:

    Perhaps that’s just fodder for your blog… bad logo can go next to bad monkey.

    Speaking of which… I could use a logo for something that I did. Free, of course.

  27. Kyra says:

    That’s horrible, Dave! I hate it when people do that. I did a painting for a charity art auction, and while I was there the people/organization it was benefiting asked me to do a children’s book for them. I said I’d look into it, and decided to do it – they said to do whatever I felt like, they kept having no opinions. So i did. but about halfway through they came in and wanted to change and all these things which would have meant hours and hours of redoing the watercolors I had done – I just couldn’t do it. So they told everyone I was unreliable, and tried to take the watercolors I had done to sell without my permission. People suck. 🙁

    Are they going to end up using your original logo anyway?

  28. Suzy says:

    The Stage Deli? For a vegetarian? I have a craving about twice a year for pastrami on rye with cole slaw and kosher dills. Thank God for Canter’s. I don’t even lower my standards and go to Jerry’s Deli.

    As for doing exactly what you’re asked to do and people dumping on that, that’s what standup comedy is all about.

  29. minimimi says:

    Ungrateful frakkers… and sweet mother of moses I think they must have killed a whole farm to make that sandwich! They should totally call it the ‘everything, including the kitchen sink and the farm, sandwich’ or maybe just ‘the farm sandwich’. Either way I hope that organisation orders a bunch of ’em for their next function and then that angsty psycho cow woman gets a big lump of pastrami stuck in her throat and chokes on it for a good minute or so..

  30. ms. sizzle says:

    as a non-profit worker, i am ashamed of their behavior. they would never treat a person they were PAYING like that and here you are doing it as charity. that is so lame.

    that cheese sandwich? i feel constipated just thinking about it.

  31. Rick says:

    Charities are the worst. I know, I sit on the board of one.

  32. Foo says:

    This is the reason why I cringe when it comes to designing anything as a favor or for charity. It never comes without strings attached. The person in charge is usually a wannabe designer with way too many ideas about how to turn crap into crappier crap. I feel your pain…and then to hear that they bad-mouthed you, sheesh, they’re all fuckers!

  33. Dan says:

    Are they still gonna turn the Paramount Hotel into the Hard Rock Hotel NY? I haven’t heard anything about it in awhile.

  34. bogup says:

    That pastrami-turkey-cheese-beef-rye bread sandwich would make a mighty fine logo all by itself!

  35. Robin says:

    I used to think that it was noble to help the local charities—now I want to stab myself with my Xacto knife everytime one of them calls (and they never stop calling). I get “volunteered” all the time by various VPs/president/CEO of our company to help out the local charities.

    They always have a lame idea (and need it yesterday), but tell me to do “whatever you think will look nice”—and then they are disappointed when I actually give them something cool because they really wanted their lame idea. And then when I give them their lame idea, they insist on telling everyone that I did it, even when I begging them not to.

    Sorry… was I ranting? Probably because I just finished an invitation for a style show and have to go to a committee mtg tomorrow night to “volunteer” my services again for another charity. Now, where did I put that Xacto knife…….?

  36. Randy says:

    I know that is “the” deli…but when we visited there a few years ago, I was so grossed out by the mile-high sandwiches, my wife and I ended up just getting the chicken soup with HUGE motza ball. It was a meal in itself, and, I might add, very good…

    But as for the Stage Deli…now you know…

    And I DO LOVE NYC.

  37. Belinda says:

    I’ve never been overly impressed by the Stage Deli, either. Except for one good slice of cheesecake one time.

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