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A Seedy, Moral Dilemma

Is it rude to take the last, coveted sesame bagel?

I love Bagel Art. It’s a great, locally owned bagel shop at the corner of Dempster and Sherman, right across from the Dempster Purple Line El stop (where Café Express used to be).  The shop is surprisingly large, and the bagels, when they’re hot out of the oven, are fantastic.  The shop has a delicious menu and outdoor seating on lovely days.  The 7th and 8th graders at Chiaravalle Montessori School grow and provide the basil (see photo); Bagel Art is really a true, local taste of Evanston.

On Sunday morning, my husband picked up some fresh, warm bagels and a couple of tubs of cream cheese. 

When he arrived home, he said, “I’ve got a moral dilemma.  How would you have handled this: I waited in a long line at Bagel Art, and there was a still a long line behind me when I placed my order.  There were only three sesame bagels left, and I took them all.  Was that wrong?”  Apparently, after he handed over his money for the last three sesame bagels, he noticed one disappointed customer turn to another in the queue and say, “Aw. That guy just took the last sesame.” 

My husband’s a decent man.  He waited in line like everyone else. He knows our house is full of sesame bagel lovers and yet, he doesn’t want to be rude; Evanston’s a big town, but it becomes very small if you’re a jerk. 

I replied the way any die hard fan of Bagel Art sesame bagels would: “I don’t think you did anything wrong.  The other people in line could have gotten there earlier to get sesame, too.” 

That’s how the bagel rolls, right?  When you get to Dunkin’ Donuts and they’re out of the strawberry frosted doughnut you wanted so badly, do you get mad at the person who took the last one? No…you remind yourself it pays to get there earlier next time if you really want it, right? 

I realize the scenario is entirely different when our kids are at the Thanksgiving table (or any table, for that matter) and there’s only one roll left in the basket; we remind them never to take the last item.  Always offer it to others before taking it for yourself.  Therein lies the dilemma, and so Patch readers, I ask, should my husband have turned to the rest of the customers and asked if anyone else wanted sesame bagels before wiping out the supply?  Should he have asked the staff if more sesame bagels were coming?  In a capitalistic society, does this dilemma even matter?  

Mayre Press July 04, 2011 at 12:34 PM
I think what your husband did was okay. If that other person had been ahead of him in line, would he/she have queried about other sesame lovers? Likely not. Not always getting what you want is a fact of life. Sometimes you have to go with Plan B. Going with your second choice (in this case a bagel flavor) can open the door to a newly discovered favorite. Thanks for promoting Bagel Art...an independently owned, neighborhood treasure.
Jimmy Kaplan July 04, 2011 at 01:45 PM
What he did was fine. In most bagel shops, hot bagels from the oven appear at various times of day. For all he knows, two minutes later there were two dozen sesame bagels placed in the bin. My only question now is...are they open on the 4th and I'm going to get motivated to go and find out?
mij July 04, 2011 at 04:49 PM
I took the last piece of pastry sample at Starbucks the other day. I t was really tasty. Your husband did fine. I sure those people had a sencong choice bagel they liked.
Christine Wolf July 04, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Just checked. Bagel Art is open today (4th of July) till 2pm.
Candace Hill July 04, 2011 at 05:15 PM
It is the store's responsibility to provide the product in the amount in which it is desired. Bagel Art knows very well that the sesame is the most popular bagel. In our family, however, we love a good pumpernickel bagel, and those do run out quickly.
Joanne Leiman July 04, 2011 at 05:19 PM
I think your husband was fine in taking the last of the sesame bagels. He could have said 'sorry' to those who expressed disappointment, but he definitely didn't do anything wrong, and the 'sorry' is only to empathize with their disappointment. On busy days at my flower shop, I get similar situations with customers taking the last of a certain flower or a flower in a particular color. It's just the way things go, and next time, maybe someone else will get that last coveted item. And, I, too, LOVE Bagel Art; they're the type of bagels I had growing up in NY. :)
annie July 04, 2011 at 06:08 PM
I think your husband was fine and I agree, its up to the store to stock the bagels. I wouldn't feel bad about it.
Becca July 07, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Agreed!! And many a time I've been disappointed by an empty sesame bagel bin, so Bagel Art, if you're listening, we love you! And we need more sesame bagels! :)
mij July 07, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Haven't tried it yet. Sounds like a great place for a bagel, coffee and reading the morning paper. Do they allow dogs in outside space?
Christine Wolf April 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Some might think it's rude to take the last bagel, but what if an employee is rude to a longtime customer? It pains me to write this, but Bagel Art has, unfortunately lost my business. This morning I bought a Lox&Key bagel sandwich and a medium coffee (the cashier told me "free refills on the medium"). I paid my $12 tab and even gave him a $2 tip for his friendliness. Ate and wrote for an hour (on paper! didn't even use the wifi). Bussed my own table. Brought my empty ceramic cup up to the counter and asked if I could get my refill to go. Friendly clerk pulled out a paper cup and said sure...but the older woman behind the counter (who never smiles) rolled her eyes at the cashier then snarked off to me how the refills aren't as much as the paper to-go cups. I gave her my best stink-eye, left the full to-to coffee on her counter (in her very important paper cup) and walked out. And to think I wrote this article about their store not too long ago. Shame on her.
Jane April 18, 2012 at 04:07 AM
The customer is always right. That said, I will buy a delicious bagel from Bagel Art and purchase my coffee from Starbucks.

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