I hadn't been to Lee's Sandwiches in years, but ended up there last week after giving a lecture at UC Irvine. I gasped at the $2.75 price for a bánh mì, but still enjoyed the xa xiu selection, even if the baguette was a bit too hard. I also bought that green Vietnamese waffle made with some type of coconut-spiked green batter, and a pineapple sinh to (smoothie) that gave me too many brain freezes to count but was nevertheless delish.
But I left Lee's a bit peeved. On the counter was an open box of of some type of butterscotch candies with the Lee's Sandwiches logo on their wrapper. I assumed they were samples but asked the cashier if they were free. "No!" she said, in the dismissive manner only an undergrad can. "Can I buy just one to try them?" I asked.
Dumb question. She started to furiously sort through the box, trying to determine how much one would cost, huffing and puffing. "Fine--don't worry about it," I told her.
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Nearly every restaurant, bakery, or candy store I've visited counts as samples any open boxes they might display on the counter. Lee's obviously doesn't have to follow everyone else, but is their name-brand candy really that legendary that no one needs to bother with a sample before buying a box?