Originally posted by crcoll
If you ever find yourself in southern New Jersey, there is a little "deli" right outside of Mays Landing called the Sugar Hill Delicatessan
They humorously have a hanging sign out front that says "over 1 billion subs sold".
Here is an article I wrote for an Ocean City, NJ paper....
"If you have ever driven on Somers Point - Mays Landing Road, just east of Route 40, you've probably noticed a sign at the Sugar Hill Deli with a big picture of a submarine sandwich and the subscript "Over a billion served".
Passing by that sign many times, I have often found myself performing mental mathematical calculations to put that 'billion' in perspective.
In doing so, my first, and likely only valid, assumption has been that Sugar Hill Deli is not a nationwide franchise like Subway and that it is a single location business.
The second assumption, which is a stretch, is that the place never closes and subs are being pumped out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
The third and final assumption - and this one is really out there in left field - is that the deli was established in the year 1796, or 200 years ago.
Using those three assumptions, it follows that twenty-four (hours per day) times three hundred sixty five (days per year) times two hundred (years since 1796) equals one million seven hundred fifty two hours that the deli has operated (if it has, in fact, been open around-the-clock since twenty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence).
This is where it gets interesting.
In order to have sold a billion (which is a thousand million) subs, the deli employees (all seven generations of them) had to turn out about five hundred seventy subs per hour, non stop, for the past 200 years, or one sub every 6.3 seconds. That's thirteen thousand of them a day. That's a lot of subs.
Assuming that a top-notch submaker can whip up a completed sub from start to finish in a minute or so, this single, small deli in a rural area has apparently had about forty super submakers fully employed at forty hours per week, around-the-clock, in ten-person shifts, for the last two centuries. That would probably make it the single largest employer in Atlantic County since the revolutionary war.
And where do all those subs go? Unless the deli has some national government contract to provide subs for school lunches, or some similar, large wholesale market, it is hard to imagine the logistics involved in ringing up sales to retail customers who, let's say, average four subs per order, every twenty five seconds, all day, every day. The local traffic and the small parking lot must be a nightmare considering that a car must enter and another must exist the parking lot every half minute. (I apparently must always pass by there at off hours, when they are only selling two or three hundred subs an hour, because I've never seen this level of frantic vehicular activity in the area.)
Call me a skeptic, but these numbers knawed at me to the point that I had to talk to someone at Sugar Hill to find out if it could be possible that it is part of a Subway-type chain of franchises or, on the outside chance that the sign may not be completely accurate.
When I called, I spoke to Jerry, Jr. the son of the owner. I asked the significance of the one billion figure and was not-so-surprised to learn from him that it was just a spoof on the signs of the major-domo of fast food, where I believe their count is now up to a gazillion trillion. Jerry, Jr. didn't want to say much more to me. I think Jerry, Jr. may have suspected I was investigating him for false advertising, because he attempted to legitimize the figure by telling me that, although they just made up the billion figure, his family has probably come close to that since they have been operating the business. (Jerry, Jr. obviously wasn't aware that he was talking to someone who had already done the math to know that even if they've sold five hundred subs an hour from 7AM til midnight every day since the civil war broke out, they aren't even in the ball park.)
But it isn't me that should make anyone at Sugar Hill nervous by my questions. I'm just a silly amatuer writer. What they should really worry about is the fact that the IRS has an office right nearby in Mays Landing. After all, even if Sugar Hill only makes a measley dime profit per sub, when they hang out a big sign saying they've sold a billion of them, they are telling everyone who drives by (which surely includes some of those IRS dough snoopers) that they have made a hundred million dollars.
The sign is obviously a spoof, but, if anyone gets the idea of turning Sugar Hill in to whoever it is that regulates the accuracy of sub shop signs (and I'm sure there is a bureaucrat somehwere - probably in the office next to the IRS - who does that), please forget about it. It is an interesting, local piece of road art.
Besides, it helps people hone up on their math skills, too."