I Will NEVER Eat A Sandwich From Walgreens


I’ve been made fun of a lot in the comments since I decided to not eat one of those terrible looking, shrink wrapped sandwiches from the Walgreens in Times Square. For any of you who may have missed it, I’ll briefly recap: awhile back, I posted that if there was something you were afraid to try in Midtown you could “dare” me to eat it, and I would be happy to oblige. Whether it was banana sushi from a generic deli, or steak from Tad’s, or a beef liver sandwich from a cart, the idea was that I would be more than willing to try something that a Midtown Lunch’er was curious about, but didn’t want to eat themselves.

I was dared to eat a sandwich from the new Walgreens in Times Square- and fully intended to eat it, until I got there and discovered that the sandwiches were actually pre-processed and shipped from Massachusetts. It was like being dared to eat a Lean Cuisine or a Stouffer’s Pizza, and I thought it went against the spirit of the original “service” I agreed to provide. I put my foot down and decided not to eat it.

Most of the abuse and jokes about my not eating the sandwich are easily laughed off (I’m a big boy, and this is the life I’ve chosen), but yesterday one comment really bugged me:

“Zach, it’s just a damn sandwich! : ) All right. I’m going to get on my soapbox now. (Violins playing in background) I get the whole thing of not eating anything that’s less than delicious. But there is something a wee bit spoiled about refusing to eat something that’s probably not super yummy because it’s shrink-wrapped and it won’t be as heavenly as Panda Express (which still stumps me). Maybe it’s because I’ve been to a lot of third-world countries where a lot of the people don’t have this privilege of choosing what and where to eat. At the end of the day, it’s just nourishment. We’re lucky enough to be in a position where we can make choices. End soapbox. So, Zach, I really think you shouldn’t have chickened out on the bet. –Boo”

Really? That’s where you want to go with this? Midtown Lunch is more of a fun site, and doesn’t really ever get serious (mostly because I don’t think anybody wants to hear about my political or social views about anything, you just want to read about places to eat lunch), but this one I had to respond to.

The comment I posted in response to “Boo” is after the jump…

Are you freaking joking? This is your defense of a shrink wrapped, pre-processed sandwich sold by a Times Square drugstore? I should eat this because we’re lucky to live in the one of the richest countries in the world? That is just stupid. By that rationale, I shouldn’t say anything tastes bad on this website. I should just be happy we have access to it?

Panda Express is one of my guilty pleasures… I admit it. And there’s no defending it. But at least it tastes good. I didn’t eat Walgreens because I knew it wouldn’t taste good. Make a fresh sandwich in your drug store, and wrap it in shrink wrap and I’ll eat it. Pump something full of preservatives and ship it across country to be eaten two weeks after it was assembled? No thanks. You want to find something to be pissed off about in this country, there it is.

I agree with you that we should be incredibly happy living in the USA… and I have done plenty of food traveling to countries much poorer than this one, that has made me very appreciative of what we have access to. But eating a sandwich from Walgreens doesn’t support that thinking in any way. Personally I would rather eat at the carts and restaurants run by people who came from these third world countries (and send money back to their families there), then buy a shrink wrapped sandwich from Walgreens.

He then responded with this:

@ Zach — Unless I’m mistaken, didn’t you agree to eat a Walgreens sandwich during a bet? I’m not saying you should eat the sandwich of your own free will when you have lots of other great things to choose from. But to go back on your words because you don’t want to eat a shrink-wrapped processed sandwich is kind of lame. It’s not like we’re asking you to eat what Andrew Zimmern ate on Bizarre Foods last night. To be perfectly honest, your vehemence of your disapproval of the Walgreen sandwich sounds a bit petty. Then again, that’s my opinion, and it’s your site and your body and you will choose what to do. But I think there are a lot of people on this site who would love to see you eat the sandwich and give feedback.

Boo – I would *gladly* eat every single thing that Andrew Zimmern has eaten on Bizarre Foods, over eating the Walgreens Sandwich. (And that includes the blood milkshake he ate on Wednesday night.)

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again… if they made the sandwiches fresh in the Walgreens- (or even somewhere in New York state!!!) I would gladly give them a chance. But why would I try a sandwich that was made in Boston two weeks ago, shrink wrapped and shipped to Times Square? In what bizzarro world would that be something that *anybody* would ever want to eat? Blondie and Brownie and Wined and Dined both tried the sandwiches and agreed they would never go back. I think that is plenty of “feedback” for anybody who is truly interested…

I considered going and eating [the sandwich] to shut everybody up, but now- you know what. I’m taking a stand. I’m NEVER eating that sandwich. It’s not about being worried that I’ll get sick (I’m sure I won’t) or even caring whether or not it tastes good or not. It’s about knowing- without even trying it- that it is nothing that any self respecting Midtown Lunch’er would ever want to eat.

And that’s the end of that.  Now back to your regularly scheduled, Midtown Lunch frivolity.

(There was more nonsense about “By your logic, Treats Truck shouldn’t be on this site either” because they bake their cookies outside of Midtown, but it’s not even worth reprinting. If you’re interested you can just read it yourself in the comments.)


  • Walgreens should open in Darfur.

  • does this mean i have to eat another double bulkie burger? you’re killin’ me zach!

  • @ Rudy – way to take us back to where we belong

  • Send all those shrink-wrapped barf burgers to Darfur and end the food shortage.

  • by the way, that infomercial ad on the website for the big city slider station “that’s sweeping the nation” is hilarious.
    zach- you have to get them to send you one and do a test-run. that would be some compelling integrated advertising…unless the sliders suck.

  • There’s nothing “midtown lunch” about shrink wrapped airplane sandwiches likely made by Aramark. I support your stand Zach. Yes, we’ve all eaten that shitty food on flights all over the world—but come on—it’s not like Zach’s afraid to eat, –it’s more like why even bother eating it. It’s no different than not sampling a dirty water dog from every cart in the midtown lunch area….Yeah you could do it, but why bother….

  • Haha. I would eat one if I was compensated well for it or at least it’s free and came with a drink & large bag of chips. Less than that deal, I doubt I would willingly pay up to eat that garbage either. Even banh mi in chinatown is cheaper than those things so why throw away good money on that nonsense. lol.

  • Shrink-wrapped products belong in the meat-packing district…not drugstore food aisles.
    With that said…
    eat the sandwich, Zach…eat the sandwich.

  • I’m with you, Zach. With the buffet of cheap food options in NY, there is no reason to EVER eat something processed and shrink-wrapped. Those sandwiches look vile. I was once dared by a friend to eat a 7-11 shrink-wrapped hamburger. The stupidity of youth – trust me, I paid for it.

  • “But I think there are a lot of people on this site who would love to see you eat the sandwich and give feedback.”

    I, for one, couldnt give a sh*t about your feedback re: a walgreens turkey lettuce and tomato sandwich. Move on.

    Im with you Zach

  • btw, if I was going to eat it, I’d rather know it was shrink wrapped vs wrapped in a piece of saran wrap or in a clear plastic clamshell container.

  • Zach has convinced me. I think the point is that the bet was taken on premise that the sandwich was a midtown eat, but clearly the sandwich has nothing to do with midtown except being sold here. It would be like asking Zach to drink a can of coke or eat a bag of dorritos… pointless.

  • Zach, Can you give up your feedback on a lunch of Doritos with a Coca Cola Chaser?

  • When a walgreens opened up by my apartment a few years back I would go there on my lunch breaks and discovered the sandiwches. I made the mistake of buying one and opened it to find mold on the bread and meat. the color of hte ham was ditrubing and when i returned it i made the mistake of accepting a new one… only to find something worse! And the doozy: the package said it was made fresh… and was supposedly condsidred expired within 2 days of my purchase. BARF!
    I support you Zach! I’d rather spend $3.95 at the hole in the wall “tasty dumplin” in chinatown and have a full meal!

  • I can confirm that I, the hamster, the blow-up doll, and the wife would NOT have any interest in Zach eating the sandwich nor in any subsequent feedback. None whatsoever. I want Zach’s time spent finding (and then writing about) the GOOD eats, not the crap.

  • eat those Duane Reade sandwiches, Zach!!

  • You’re right, stay away from this piece of crap sandwich.

    I just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt you years later with young Harry.

    “Dad, I don’t want to eat _____ [insert name of random midtown lunch food]! You didn’t have to have to eat that Walgreens sandwich!”

  • I totally support Zach on this. The request that he eat some mass produced sandwich is stupid, immature and not at all in keeping with the purpose of this site. We all come here to learn about the GOOD in Midtown, not the absolute worst and utterly uninteresting.

    Zach – please don’t waste any more of your time on this debate. Rather, go find me another restaurant in a freight elevator hallway. You’ve been seriously slacking in the “hidden treasures” department lately.

  • Yes, this whole topic should just die already. At most it should be brought up as a ML inside joke.

  • I’m with you, Zach! Definitely no reason to eat airplane food while in the middle of Manhattan. And that comment comparing this to starving people in Africa? Just ridiculous.

    Can’t wait to see what you eat next. More Harry pics please!

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