"BLT with mustard on brown, no mayo," she said.

"OK," the vendor replied. "But today we have a special. You'll get a Danish with that if you can spot the mustard."

A Danish. That was just what she wanted, but, so far, she had managed to convince herself that she'd stick to her diet all day long. No weakness, no giving in. And here she was giving in to the prospect of getting a freebie, before the day had even started properly.

"I'll call you back," she snapped, closed up her cell phone, and connected with reality. She began taking in the sandwich bar, which she had paid no attention to while ordering her breakfast.

Bread. Sourdough bread. Sliced bread: white, brown, and rye. Mayonnaise, margarine, spreads, light spreads, fatless spreads. Three kinds of lettuce. Cheese. Sandwich meats, the whole assortment. The toaster, the coffee maker, the bread slicer. Sugar and milk. Sodas. Pickles and relish. Tomatoes and peppers. But no mustard.

Let's take a closer look. What's that brown object between the ham and the salami? Oh, just a cockroach. Here we have salt and pepper, there's the sugar. The dishes, the cutlery, and the tissues are all where you'd expect them to be. On top of the counter, a basket with candy bars. That would be nice… Absolutely not, her conscience yelled, and she withdrew her hand. Still no mustard.

Over on the left, salad materials and a whole battery of salad dressings. On the right, fruit, water melon, fruit salad. Further on, all that ice cream. How's a body supposed to be on a diet here? And where's that damn mustard?

This little joint that she had so totally ignored all these months was a veritable gourmet's Mecca. She turned to the waiting vendor and found that her sandwich was ready. Mustard and all. Must have missed where he took it. "How come you haven't told me about all this food you sell?"

"You never looked around before, and you're always on the phone. I never got in my standard sales pitch with you. Now, how about that Danish?"

"This isn't fair! I want the Danish, but I can't spot the mustard. There's too much stuff here. And I get so hungry looking at it, I can't think anymore. Give me a big Caesar salad! And a Danish, I'll pay for it if I have to! And my coffee, too!"

Ten other customers, waiting in line behind her, burst out laughing. One pointed at the mustard jar, sitting right in front of her on the top of the counter. Right there, between the oil and the vinegar. Embarrassed, she tried to retain her decorum, but didn't do very well. She actually let go a small sob. Her eyes filled up with tears.

"OK, let's not take it so hard," the vendor said. "Actually, you've been such an advertisement for our new food counters today that your whole breakfast will be on the house. Mustard, Danish, the works. Have a nice day!"