I wouldn’t call myself a picky eater. I would call myself an I-know-what-I-want-and-how-I-want-it eater. And I want bagels. Daily.

Sorry, Mama, I know bagels are bad for me. This is not an article on how to lose weight on a bagel a day. Good luck with that one. This is about how frustrating it is that I need to choose where I go to get a bagel sandwich, not based on quality, but based on the least ignorant service.

Come on, Metro Detroit! Let’s get our bagel act together!

My current go-to order is salt bagel (toasted), regular cream cheese (not too much), lox and cucumber. The experience of getting what I want should be measured by both walking out with the correct order and walking out with my composure intact. Let’s break down how hard it is to get this order right for both the chain and independent bagel shops in the area.

Have It My Way?

Toasted — At one of the chain establishments, I will be asked “how” I want my bagel toasted. I am NOT ordering red meat! Put the bagel in the toaster and stop talking.

Not too much — God forbid, I say “light” amount of cream cheese. I will not be getting regular cream cheese. I will get light cream cheese. Why do I ask for not too much? I am not counting calories. I just can’t stand having a huge dollop of cream cheese coming out of the center of the bagel.

Lox — I know smoked salmon and lox are not the same thing. I know what I want is lox. Lox has not been smoked. It is just salted salmon. Who knows what a specific bagel spot calls lox?! They may call lox, lox. They may call lox, smoked salmon. They may call lox, lox, but cream cheese with lox, smoked salmon. Ah!!!

Cucumber — Some places have it, others are confused why I would want anything other than a tomato, onions and capers on my lox sandwich. As if I am ordering a pepperoni pizza without cheese and tomato sauce and pepperoni.

This brings us to the “Lox Sandwich.” And why I am taking time from studying for the bar exam to share my plea for stress-free custom bagel experiences in Metro Detroit. I stopped at a local independent bagel shop this morning. The staff member took my order.

Wherever I am, typically the next question is, “Do you want everything on it?” In my head, I am screaming, “What do you mean, do I want everything on it?! I just told you exactly what I want on my bagel and how I want it!” In the real world, politely and calmly with a very, tight fake smile, I say, “No, thank you. Just the things I asked for.”

Bagel By Any Other Name

This morning, the staff member, as she is making my bagel sandwich, says to me, in a tone to educate me on my bagel order, “You are having the Lox Sandwich.” I, of course, panic. Because, I am not having their Lox Sandwich. The only common ingredient is lox. In my head I am screaming, “I don’t care under which code you will ring up my order! Just don’t mess it up!”

In real life, I walk to the register and focus on my breathing. So, of course, I am having yet another horrible experience that will end with a great bagel.

Metro Detroit Bagel Eaters with Distinguished Taste, we deserve great bagels and great, knowledgeable service!

Jane Gazman


Jane Gazman lives in Farmington and is studying for the Michigan Bar Exam.