A few months ago a Potbelly Sandwich Works opened around the corner from my office building. I'm not a huge fan of Potbelly's sandwiches, but pickings are slim at the corner of 12th and Nowhere, SW, so this is big news under the Eb Principle. (If you're a single woman in Hooterville, Eb looks pretty good.) Still, I initially found going to Potbelly an assault on the senses: the line, the noise, the live music, the ceiling fan/light strobe effect, the guy yelling at you to yell at him that you want a meatball sandwich on wheat. And the micromanaging of the condiment people. All this for a mediocre toasted sandwich. I figured out two things that make it all bearable. First, everything tastes better with hot peppers. Theirs is a mix of vegetables, like an Italian giardiniera. (One day during the jalapeno food poisoning scare this summer, a woman in line asked the condiment guy if the hot peppers include jalapenos, and when told yes, declined them. The peppers were on display in gallon jars. Did she really think these were just canned that week?)
Second, and most importantly, you can now order online. I just log in, pick one of my usuals from my list, such as the turkey and swiss on skinny wheat with hot peppers, lettuce, tomato, Italian seasoning, and oil and vinegar, choose what time I want to pick up, and select the option to pay when I get there. At the appointed time I arrive, go to the side cashier, give my name, hand over some money, and walk out with my sandwich. No line, short noise-exposure, no yelling, and hot peppers. It's perfect. Like Eb. If you're in Hooterville.
Not all locations are offering online ordering yet, but they seem to be rolling it out, so check back if you don't find your location here. If you work in my building (you know who you are), you might want to bookmark this page.