Chicago Deli to Serve Free Sandwiches… On One Condition

Manny's Deli

We’ve been at this whole “pandemic” thing for over a year now and have learned a lot about the best ways to prevent community spread. One of the most vital and highly effective ways to slow the spread is the consistent and proper use of appropriate face masks. We have plenty of experts (and folks who play experts on TV!) telling us this, big companies supporting the effort, folks teaching us how to make our own masks, and doctors proving that yes, you totally can breathe with a mask on your face (You know, sort of how your doctor, nurse, dentist, etc. can all totally breathe all day every day).

Despite all of this, there are still plenty of people who can’t seem to figure out how to wear a mask properly or flat out refuse to wear one at all. If you own a business or work in a public-facing job, you may find that a huge chunk of your time is spent correcting people, “reminding” them to wear masks, and inevitably getting into heated arguments. People just don’t respond well to being corrected and sometimes they may escalate the situation to ridiculous levels. A lot of public-facing employees have had just about enough of this nonsense, like this Denny’s server who quit after a confrontation with anti-maskers.

Similarly having had enough, Chicago-based Deli “Manny’s Deli” decided to take a different approach. Rather than burning themselves out yelling at customers and getting nowhere, they’re trying their hands at positive reinforcement. In a recent Tweet, they announced their plan to incentivize their patrons to follow masking best practices. The gist is that if they don’t have to correct anyone’s mask usage for a full 30 days, they’ll give away free sandwiches for an entire day. That’s a pretty good incentive if you ask me! Giving people a tangible reward for following the rules seems to me like it would work significantly better than telling people the big scary vague consequences of not following the rules.

They issued the initial challenge on Sunday evening. Monday they said that they had failed the challenge, having had to correct seven people on their mask usage. Ever optimistic, though, they reissued the challenge in a Tweet on Wednesday. I almost wish that they kept a running tally prior so we could see the difference that the challenge made. Is seven a lot? Or did it used to be 50+ corrections every single day? It would be really cool to see whether the promise of free sandwiches is a genuinely effective masking motivator.

What motivates you to wear a mask?  What motivates you in general? (I, for one, can be bribed to do chores with Skittles) Let us know in the comments!