Friday, January 25, 2013

11 or 12 inches? It’s just a sandwich

I once worked in a bookstore – one of those places that stocked nothing but remaindered books.

The newest hassle?

Which meant that everything was marked down significantly in price compared to what it cost when it was brand-new and had promise of significant sales. In fact, the store (which has long since shuttered) had a giant sign on the front window promising up to “70 percent” off the book price.

NOW TO SOMEONE who enjoys books and the process of scouring for them, the joy of such stores is that you might actually find an interesting volume amidst all the junk that nobody wants – priced for about $6, compared to the $25-30 that new books go for these days.

That’s not a bad bargain!

Yet there’s always someone who’s going to find something to complain about with regards to just about anything. And I still remember the one customer who came into the store with a couple of books that were marked down to about $4 each, then tried to argue that the “70 percent” discount ought to be on the $4 price – not on the original price of the book.

In short, someone who had a chance to buy something for $4 (plus tax) was complaining because he couldn’t get it for $1.20.

THAT’S JUST BEING cheap and petty. I still remember the hysterics he went into when I refused to buy into his tightwad line of logic.

And somehow, that same sentiment is popping into my head when I read the reports in recent days about people complaining that a Subway Sandwich foot-long isn’t really a foot-long.

It seems somebody actually felt the need to take the tape measure to the completed sandwich – and came up with an 11-inch measurement.

There is now even a lawsuit pending in the Cook County Circuit Court, and attorneys are trying to get as many people as possible to sign on to make it a class action suit – in which Subway would ultimately have to pay out some huge sum that would be split equally amongst the participants.

THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reported that an attorney actually believes customers are owed a refund for the one inch of sandwich they did not receive.

So for the $5 foot-long sandwich that Subway sells, that comes to about 42 cents per inch.

It sounds more like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch – a Subway executive being forced to write out $0.42 checks to people to reimburse them for the inch of sandwich they did not receive.

Or $0.21 checks if all they had was a six-inch sandwich that was probably closer to 5-1/2 inches long.

I UNDERSTAND THE concept of “Truth in Advertising” as well as anyone else.

But this seriously strikes me as somebody being excessively petty in the way they approach life.

Besides, anybody who paid attention during school ought to know about certain levels of shrinkage – which is why that bag of potato chips often appears only three-quarters full when you first open it.

And why a loaf of freshly-baked bread is never going to come out to a precise length – which, it seems, is the line of logic that the company is trying to use to defend itself against this talk.

PERSONALLY, THERE ARE other places I would go to if I wanted a fresh deli sandwich with all the trimmings. I’m fortunate enough to live near a real nice Italian-themed grocery store where I could get a good Italian-style sub, or an Italian beef, sausage or meatball sandwich – if I so desire.

But I actually worked in a Subway Sandwich franchise back when I was in high school, and the product they put out is passable – a mass-produced sandwich made to order.

With relatively fresh bread; although I understand that most Subway franchises no longer have someone doing what I did some three decades ago – standing in a back room at the meat slicer turning logs of genoa salami or entire hams into perfectly-thin slices for someone’s edible edification.

Still, how much can one expect if the primary appeal of Subway is that they’re promising you a $5 price above all else?


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