The Cost of Making My Own Sub Sandwich

As you may have heard earlier this week, I broke up with Jimmy John’s.

“I’ll just make my own delicious sandwiches!” I told myself. “I can be fast! I can be freaky!”

So I went to the grocery store and got the supplies I needed to simulate my favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich, the Number 6 With Pep.


French demi baguette: $0.99

Cucumber: $0.99

Tomato: $0.42

Avocado: $0.99

Sliced provolone cheese: $2.29 (but I only used 1/3 of the package, so technically $0.76)

Sliced hot peppers: $3.99 (but I only used a few slices, so… we’ll say $0.25)

Mayonnaise, salt, pepper: I already had these in the apartment, and I should figure out exactly how much a shake of salt costs, but I’m not going to do that. How about another $0.25 for these three supplies.

Total cost: $4.65

Okay, so we’re already doing better than the Jimmy John’s version, which ends up costing me $10 including tip. (Also, I know the Number 6 With Pep also includes lettuce, but take a look at that sandwich and tell me where that lettuce is supposed to go because I have no idea.)

If you factor in the cost of my time, which currently bills at between $30–50 hr depending on the client, this sandwich actually cost me closer to $34.65. (15 minutes in the grocery store, 10 minutes preparation, 15 minutes cleanup. I even went the full Jimmy and mashed that avocado into a delicious paste, which dirtied extra dishes.)

But the real question is: how did my sandwich taste?

(Technically, the first question we should be asking is “how much of my sandwich fell onto my dress the minute I picked it up?”)

I am sad to report that my sandwich was no good. All the ingredients were there, but it was a sandwich disaster. The store bakery bread was so hard that it popped my jaw every time I took a bite. (I ended up microwaving it just so it would soften enough to be edible.) The avocado paste was fine, but you can’t really go wrong with salt and avocado. Ditto the provolone cheese. The vegetables failed to stay on the sandwich so I ate them separately, like my sandwich came with a free side salad.

After I ate the sandwich I felt gross, like I had tried to have a dinner but ended up eating something that wasn’t exactly food. I blame the bread for most of the gross part, honestly. Clearly I need to seek out better bakeries.

However, I did collect the information I needed. Making my own Jimmy John’s style sandwich will cost me around $35 including time, and won’t taste anything like the original.

It’s the moment you realize the relationship is really over, that you can’t just plug the hole in your life by being your really awesome single self. That you’ll end up eating dinner alone in front of your laptop with a sandwich that doesn’t taste as good even though you made it on your own, and you’re supposed to be able to make anything you want in your life on your own. That all around you are people who still get to hang out with Jimmy John’s, and go visit it whenever they want, and you have to live in the world knowing that Jimmy John’s exists but you can’t go there anymore. And someday you may find another sandwich, but you can’t create that kind of sandwich yourself because it takes two people to make that sandwich, plus the backing of an entire corporate infrastructure.

On the plus side, I have an entire jar of sliced hot peppers in my refrigerator, and I will spend the next two weeks putting hot peppers on everything.

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