In the US, packaged sandwiches – and by this, I specifically mean those that come in the triangular boxes – are the lowest form of cuisine there is. People typically only eat them if there are no other food options. It’s the kind of thing you’d eat if you’re stuck in an airport at 4am and all the restaurants are closed, or if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, the nearest diner is 50 miles away, and packaged sandwiches are all the service station has to eat.
The sandwiches always seem half stale, are thin on the ingredients, and usually only come in three or four flavors: ham and cheese, baloney and cheese, tuna or chicken salad (and maybe, if you’re in the South, pimento cheese). Honestly, the only people I’ve seen that eat these poor little sandwiches on a regular basis are construction workers and people on the go all the time, like messengers or delivery people. I’m 37 years-old, and it’s always been this way here in the US, at least in my lifetime.
In the UK, on the other hand, people seem to eat these sandwiches all the time. And why not? They usually taste pretty fresh, and they come in a freakin’ galaxy of flavors. Here’s a short list of just a few of the flavors offered by Marks & Spencer, a single British retailer:
Aromatic Duck, B.L.T., British Ham & Cheddar, Chicken & Bacon, Chicken & Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes, Chicken & Stuffing, Chicken & Sweetcorn, Chicken, Avocado & Bacon, Coronation Chicken, Crayfish & Rocket, Egg & Bacon, King Prawn & Bacon Caesar, Poached Salmon, Red Salmon & Cucumber, Roast Beef & Horseradish, Sausage & Ketchup, Seafood Cocktail, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese
I can’t speak for the rest of the UK, but in London and Bath you can buy sandwiches just like these almost anywhere. Drug stores (chemists) sell them. Convenience stores (newsagents) sell them. Many department stores (like the aforementioned Marks & Spencer) sell them. And almost any time of the day, you can look around and see someone eating one of these sandwiches.