Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Performance Art: I Choked on a Sandwich at Pret to Add to the Existing Chaos


Photo by Brigitte Tohm / CC0 

You’ve been there. You’ve seen the idiots that stand in one huddled mass instead of splitting into the five separate checkout lines that the cashiers insist there are. The crowd mobbing the counter where the drinks are set down, but only for a moment, before a vicious claw reaches for her iced soy milk macchiato.

This place is already a calamity. But I thrive in the heart of the storm. I told some friends about my idea, and instead of discouraging me, they corrected me on my pronunciation of Pret a Manger. So I continued my plan with no reservations.

I decided to choke on a caprese sandwich to see how long it would take for someone to notice. I wanted it to be casual, but definitely significant. But when I entered that cold, sandwich lined hell, I couldn’t control myself. I couldn’t stop myself. I grabbed the nearest baguette (which happened to have mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, and Pret’s signature yogurt sauce) and hardly got it out of the plastic before I shoved it down my throat.

There was cheese everywhere. A tomato fell down my chin. Sauce got in my eye. My slight yelp wasn’t enough to alert the people closest to me, and I wanted to escalate my performance, so I threw myself onto the ground, baguette still lodged in my unhinged jaw, and caused two people to trip on me, spilling hot coffee into my hair and all over the floor. They grunted, and kept walking.

Then I grabbed onto the ankles of some people in line, they used my tiny, coffee burned legs as a placeholder while they stepped off to get another honey tangerine juice. The people kept stepping over my debilitated form, and soon, the one line that turns into five became a mob of flailing bodies, spilled tomato bisque, and egg salad sandwiches slapping against the unforgiving tiles.

The cashiers yelled at the heap of corpses to separate into five different lines. Some made it out, others lay still, covered in cold avocado smash. I can’t unsee what I saw. But I did get an amazing vanilla latte afterward, so I gave them 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp. I’ll probably stop by before class tomorrow.