The Sandwich Guy Incident

Blog Experiences

Update 02.01.2010
The Sandwich Guy posted their official statement regarding this incident. You can read it on their website: The Sandwich Guy Official Statement . I have also copied the text of their statement in my The Sandwich Guy-Official Statement post.

I got this “disturbing” incident via email. Methinks that the email (and its contents) is already making rounds since yesterday (judging from the tweets and posts I chanced upon in the net). I know the food establishment since the branch in question is located near our office. Is this true? Or just a black propaganda? You be the judge.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the validity of this claim. Read and believe at your own risk.

–from an IBMer sent to HR last 1.19.2009

Dear HR,

I shouldn’t have brought this up to the management, but I think, with the current situation I am faced with, this incident compelled me to report this to you and so I could use some help. I am also writing this to let my fellow IBMers know about this stomach turning incident which will hopefully open their eyes before buying or eating somewhere.

On January 5th, between 7:30 to 9 AM. I had a gruesome incident with one of the stores here in Eastwood. The name of the store is the Sandwich Guy. It is a small kiosk located here in Eastwood under the tower clock infront of the 7 eleven store. We used to buy lunch from there and get large orders as they serve healthy sandwiches, pasta and drinks. Until that morning, when I discovered something.

On my way home from work, I decided to grab a sandwich for my breakfast so I bought a sandwich from this store. As usual, I went to the store and ordered the country tuna sandwich and a bottle of mineral water. The cashier was courteous and very accommodating though I sense that she is getting ready to go home because it is time to turnover the shift. I notice too that the number of the crews in the store at that time is more than the usual 3 to 4 employees I usually see. So they prepared my country tuna. They put on the spread, grilled the bread, sliced it and wrapped in a paper. Instead of the cashier presenting the order, One crew from the back took the package and presented the order to me saying “Here is your Country Tuna Sir! Enjoy!”. Honestly, I was a bit surprised with the unusual greetings but I never minded it so I responded back with a thank you.

So I went out from the store and walk some steps and rode a cab. Hungry I was, I munched into the sandwich which was sliced fairly and savor the tuna and some green leaves between the warm wheat bread. I consumed the first half of it but still my appetite still wants to finish everything. And so I turned on the other side of the sandwich, unwrapped it and started to bit the next half of the bread. I noticed a colorless, liquefied matter on top of the veggies. I thought that it was melted cheese or mayonnaise! It appeared luscious so in the middle of my chomping I slurped it! At that very moment, I got my self teary eyed, I felt my stomach flipped and ended throwing up that bite. It was a foul phlegm of a human. Horrible! ulk!

I immediately asked the cab driver to drive me back to Eastwood and so he did. I entered the store again, this time not nice though still composed as I don’t want them to think that I am a uneducated person. I insistently asked the question. ” Sino ang nagprepare ng sandwich ko?”. The crew who I remembered presented the sandwich to me replied “ano yun sir?! hindi ko po maalala!”. With the looks of him, he cant seem to remember that I just ordered the sandwich 30 minutes ago. So I helped them through by stating the obvious that I just ordered the sandwich a few minutes ago. The other lady was bright enough to remember. She pointed at that crew and said “Yung country tuna! yung ginawa mo!”. So I knew that it was him “Alloys” who initially presented the order, and the same person who could not remember the order. This time, I directed the question to him.”Plema mo ba tong nasa sandwich ko?”. And there was silence inside the store but no one is brave enough to answer the question. I repeated the question intensely as I am frustrated, irritated and angry. All I need is an honest response which I have failed to get. No one seemed to answer and prove that I was wrong.

The manager butt in and mediated. He explained that there is a video that we could see and that everything is captured to check if it really was his crew who put that phlegm in the bread. He immediately phoned the owner. He went back to me and said that the video should be ready with in 24 hours as they need a request for it to be released and processed. Imagine how the manager handled the situation poorly. He even admitted that the phlegm I found could be a fault of their commissary as they have also had similar incidents where they found staple wires and strings on their products. The days passed and no video was presented up to this day. Please note that I did not request to view the store video; they made the offer to show the video to me to prove their crew member’s innocence.

I gave them the sandwich and the receipt trusting

On January 7th, I was invited by the owner and talked with him and his lawyer who offered to settle the matter amicably. I was with my brother during the time of confrontation gladly as I was not prepared to be intimidated by the lawyer. All I wanted was for them to take responsibility, bring out the truth and talk to the crew. They have told us that they will take this issue seriously and that they will revert back with the result of their investigation and that we will see the video on January 14th. They offered to have the bread undergo DNA testing which we were surprised to say if they are willing to do that. They say it will take few months and that the samples needed to be sent to Australia and Canada. I left the bread and the receipt on their custody as I am trusting them to resolve the issue and will adhere on the truth. The crew, Alloys said his apologies infront of us at the end of the conversation and asked to forgive him of the things he had done. We also proved that the store does not have sanitary permit.

On January 14th, the lawyer called me and my lawyer and told us that the DNA testing was done and that they have found no evidence of the saliva from their crews and that I have no basis for my claim. My lawyer who is my sister-in-law was surprised with the investigation as previously they had stated that it would take months for the DNA results to come back. Afterwards she said to schedule another time to meet up. The lawyer responded back with intimidation questioning matters immaterial to the case. Some questions were:

a) Is my lawyer capable of handling private matters knowing that she is only a government employee?
b) Is she really married? (fyi- she just recently got married so the change name has not been processed yet)

These questions are immaterial to the case and that the intimidation would not work. More so, I am concerned with how the store is handling the situation. I am afraid that action should be taken and that attention should be given for them to respond truthfully and honestly for the welfare of the consumer. We are a thousand employees here in IBM and there are also other people who are buying food from their store. If this incident was not handled properly how much more the management of their crews, and how are they preparing our food. This poses a big concern and I would like your help to achieve the result of the investigation and to warn the employees. I decided not to pursue meetings with them as I do not know if they are truthful to their words with the harshness of words and intimidation they are showing opposite of what they said to settle this amicably. I don’t think they are putting action to my complaint.

Further: it would perhaps have been more “acceptable” if I found human hair on my sandwich, or found the tuna /any of the sandwich ingredients to be spoiled. There was phlegm spat on my sandwich – that to me is not a matter of gross negligence, it was a deliberate insult to myself as a paying customer of their store.

My intention of airing this grievance is not to blackmail the store into paying me some amount of money; my intention is for them to a) admit to their mistake and b) put policies/practices in place that will prevent such an occurrence from happening to some one else in the future.

Hope you would consider this note.

Company Details:

Name: The Sandwich Guy
Owner/Franchisee: Mike Pangan
Lawyer: Atty. Pangan
Store Manager: Ernesto “June’ Pangan Jr

Address: Food for Fun City Walk 1 Eastwood City
E.Rodriguez, Jr. Avenue, Bagumbayan, Libis QC 1110

I would admit that most of the sandwich they serve there is good. But after reading about the incident, I now have second thoughts on getting ANY food from that establishment.

On my part, I know of another “minor” incident involving the same store: I need to confirm the details (was it spaghetti (or was it the carbonara(?)) that triggered some food allergy in the middle of the night) and will update this post asap.

Have you also received the same email containing that incident? If yes, kindly leave some comments at the end of this post (just make sure you understand and read my comment policy).

If you have concerns/issues on this post, kindly drop a note via my contact page.