Friday, January 23, 2009
The Crazy Lady at Subway
Well, I'm no Jared--the poster boy for Subway and weight loss--but I am shamelessly promoting rainy day deals at Subway one crazy outburst at a time.
After attending a Mac class today at the Apple store in a local outdoor mall, I walked past a Subway, and since I had no kids in tow, Subway sounded not only good and healthy, but fast and easy too. (With kids, nothing is "fast and easy" that requires getting out of a car, so Del Taco wins over healthy far too often.)
I ordered my usual, spilled my drink (beside the point for now, but may enhance the story as it unfolds) and sat down to eat at a little table by the window.
There are two things you need to know here. One is the kind of sandwich I ordered, because it will lift your Subway experience to new heights. Two is the fact that I am not a generally contentious and/or loud person. Promise. OK, more on that later.
The Perfect Sandwich: Italian herb cheese bread, turkey, and pepper jack (toasted.) Add: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, extra pickles, olives, salt and pepper. Spinach is good, but optional. Sprouts are OK but get a little stringy and may be unappealing for the fainthearted. The sauces, however, are mandatory and they are NOT to be altered as they are the thing that makes the sandwich perfect: Honey mustard, sweet onion, and vinegar (no oil.) No mayo or other sauce substitutes allowed. I did, however add an additional ingredient today that accomplished what I thought was impossible: It IMPROVED upon perfection. So I now also recommend banana peppers. In fact, I insist on them.
Back to the story:
Because my mom was back at my house watching my kids, I decided to also take a Perfect Sandwich home to her. Shortly after I had this thought, I noticed a large decal on the window next to where I was sitting. It caught my eye with the phrase: "Rainy Day Deal: FREE 6-inch SUB." And why wouldn't it catch my eye when it was RAINING outside for the first time in several weeks? It was a little hard to read the details of the deal since they were backwards from the inside, but as it turns out, I'm pretty darn good at reading backwards. I even squatted down to read the *smallest print to make sure the deal applied to me. Everything checked out except one thing. You had to order a 32 oz drink with the first 6-inch sub to get the second sub free. What they had given me with my combo order was the regular 21 oz drink. No problem, I would simply order another larger drink and get my free 6 inch sub. My mom would score a drink with her sandwich, and $1.79 for the drink was far cheaper than another sandwich would have been. It all felt so fortuitous.
So I confidently strolled back up to the counter. I had to wait for a lady ahead of me to place an order for several sandwiches, but good deals tend to make me patient, so it was not a problem at all. When it was my turn, I explained I had just noticed the rainy day deal, and would like to get my free sub. Reasonable enough, right?
"But you already paid for your food."
"Yes, and I only got a 21 oz drink, but I'm happy to pay for a 32 ouncer." (So accommodating, I am.)
"But you already paid for your food."
"Yes." (He had said this already, what exactly was the significance...?)
"Well, I would have had to ring you up differently. I can't give you the deal after the fact."
"But I didn't know about the deal when you rang me up."
"Sorry about that. But there's nothing I can do now."
This is the point at which my internal "that's not fair" alarm sounded, and if you know me well enough, you'll know that the only thing that really gets a razz out of me is injustice. Call me a Libra seeking balance, call me a Blue seeking fairness, or call me the moral police seeking moral justice (my husband does) but nothing makes my blood boil more than injustice. Even if it means a work Saturday for walking off campus in the middle of P.E. because the TA said Kathleen and I hadn't done our push-ups. We had. All of them. Boy style. I am completely offended if someone questions my honor, and I expect people to be equally honorable. Is it really too much to ask? Apparently, in this case, the honorable thing to do would have been to educate me about this deal I was missing out on, because the next thing I said was:
"Well why didn't someone TELL me about the deal when I ordered?"
In retrospect, I do realize this was not their job. I mean, it's not like the carnival where a man dressed in red and white stripes stands outside shouting: Rainy day special, folks, step right up! Free subs for rain. Get 'em while their hot.
But at the time, it seemed so wrong that I should miss out on a deal for pure and simple ignorance.
"Sorry, ma'am. There's nothing I can do."
"Well is there anyone who can do something?" (I was starting to get irrational. I didn't care that the line behind me was piling up and customers were getting antsy, I cared about getting my deal.)
"Just a minute."
At this point he leaves to get someone else but when that someone else appeared on the scene, we got no further.
"I'm sorry ma'am, I don't have the authority to do that for you."
"May I ask who does?"
"My boss, but she won't be here for several hours."
I had run out of ideas, and was no closer to a free sub than I had been pre-decal. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have processed the fact that if this unjust situation was caused by 'lack of knowledge', I could best restore justice to the situation by spreading knowledge. And who else to share it with, but the line of people behind me?
So I turn around and announce to the line, "Hey everyone. Since it's raining today, you can all get a free 6-inch sub with the purchase of another 6-inch sub and a 32 oz drink! They won't give it to me, so someone should benefit from the deal."This is where the spilled drink becomes more significant. (Crazy AND clumsy!) Oh yes, and the outfit I happened to be wearing? Camo pants tucked into Ugg boots, a superman baseball hat and a hooded outer coat. It felt cute enough in the Apple store, but in Subway, I'm pretty sure it added to the whole crazy GI Jane effect.
To say blank faces stared back at me would be crediting the expressions too much. They were less than blank. They were faces that not only under-appreciated this important transfer of information, but frankly dismissed me on all levels. They weren't sorry I had been wronged. They weren't elated I had paved the way for them to get free food. They were just glad I wasn't their neighbor.
Then I stepped out of line, returned to my table, and sat facing the workers while I finished my bag of chips as if to say: I'll be watching."
None of the six customers used the rainy day deal in their purchase, in spite of my generous announcement--which shows the level of credibility they had assigned to the crazy customer in camo (last year's fashion incidentally.) And although I sat peaceably eating my chips and sipping my drink after the scene I had caused, the "I know what you did last summer" staring down of the workers who had wronged me probably didn't boost my popularity on the "people who don't freak me out" scale.
And of course, since paying for another sandwich would have given the victory to Subway, I left empty handed, which shortchanged my mom from trying The Perfect Sandwich.
I'll be back to claim that deal the next time it rains. (Just not at that particular Subway, as a girl knows when she's worn out her welcome.)
But what will really make this post worth the space it occupies in the ether-- is if YOU claim that deal, too. Cause in the famous words of GI Joe and this fellow camo comrade, "Knowing is half the battle."
Rainy day special, folks, step right up! Free subs for rain. Get 'em while their hot. Just hope you don't encounter that crazy lady in your line.