This post is inspired, as it were, from a recent post on ManInBlack’s blog here. ManInBlack recently had an unpleasant experience, to say the least, at the McDonald’s located at The D Las Vegas, formerly Fitzgerald’s, in downtown Vegas. Basically they refused to give him a soda refill that he was entitled to and it caused quite a fuss. Go over to his blog and check it out for yourself, it’s a very interesting tale.
Reading it reminded me of a problem I encountered at a local Subway restaurant some time back, probably around 5 years ago, and I thought it might be worth blogging about. Now, this will be a bit of departure from my usual blog posts, because up until now I’ve limited my content to stories either about poker or Vegas or both. This tale is about neither, but I feel ok about blogging it for two reasons.
One, although it didn’t take place in Vegas, it did take place at the very beginning of a trip to Vegas, at the last stop I made in L.A. before getting on the freeway to head to Vegas. So it is Vegas-adjacent. And two, it’s my blog, and that means, for the time being at least, that means I can put anything on it I want..
So on this day, I left work early, around noon, because I had taken two and half days off from work for a Vegas visit—leaving Wednesday, mid-day, returning to L.A. on Sunday. Before heading to work that morning, I loaded up the car so I could leave from the office. The car was gassed and I decided I would hit the Subway near my office to grab a sandwich to eat on the road as I headed up to Vegas.
So I drove the few blocks from my office to the nearest Subway and ordered my sandwich. I’d gotten sandwiches from this particular location numerous times and never encountered any problem. Now, as a point of information, when it comes to condiments and toppings, I am a “all or nothing” guy. You will never hear me say, “a little bit of mustard” or “a little bit of onions” or whatever. If I want something on my sandwich (or hot dog, or burger), I want a lot of it. Otherwise, why bother? So with a burger, you will see me put a lot of ketchup on it, and unless it’s a place that has its own topping bar, I will never get enough pickles and onions to satisfy me.
So I asked for my tuna sandwich to be “built” as I always did, with “a lot of pickles, a lot of onions, and a lot of green peppers.” That’s it. No lettuce, no tomatoes, no cheese, nothing else. Typically when I do this, I never get what I deem to be “a lot” on the first try, I almost always have to tell them “more please” and they add more. Sometimes I have to tell them two times for each topping. But in the end, I have always gotten the sandwich the way I want it.
This time, the young girl put the first topping on, let’s say it was the pickles, and it was not only not “a lot”, it was not even “a little.” Seriously, if I had asked for a little I think I would have told her, “well, I didn’t mean that little.” So I asked for more, and she put a couple more pickles on and I swear, having seen sandwiches for other people made, it was less than they would put on for a person who just said “pickles” and not “a lot of pickles” as I had. So for the second time, I said, “more please….I did say ‘a lot.’”
The young lady advised me that this was the most they could put on, unless I wanted to pay extra. I was rather shocked. I’d never heard this before. I pointed out that, although it shouldn’t matter, I was not getting cheese on the sandwich, but I was paying for it, and that there’s no way they could put enough pickles, onions and peppers on the sandwich to compensate for the price of the cheese that I was saving them. She said sorry, that was it.
Wow. I seriously considering leaving right then, but I asked to speak to the manager instead. It turns out that the woman nearby who had been observing this was the manager, and she said that no, I couldn’t have any more pickles on the sandwich unless I paid extra. Both she and the sandwich maker were late teens, early 20’s at the most. I said that this was absurd. But she just shrugged her shoulders. I said I’d never had a problem before at any other Subway store, including this one. She just shrugged again.
I wanted to leave and go to the next Subway up the street, but I was kind of in a hurry to get to Vegas, and didn’t want to waste the time to do that, so I stayed and said something to the effect that I wanted a lot of onions and peppers too, and I kept begging them for more, and they basically cut me off at what would be a less than normal amount. I was really pissed off, but I paid for the damn sandwich and got in my car and tried to focus on how much fun I was gonna start having in 4-1/2 hours when I arrived in Vegas.
I must admit I had a hard time letting it go, it was so moronic. I ate the sandwich and it was the worst Subway sandwich I’d ever eaten. Now, whether it was due to a lack of the condiments I wanted or just because the whole incident had left a bad taste in my mouth, I dunno. But I was fuming about it for at least half of my drive up to Vegas.
I finally got over it by realizing what I should have done when I realized they weren’t going to make the sandwich the way I wanted it. I should have said, “You know what, I changed my mind, I do want cheese.” After adding the cheese, I would have pointed to every single topping they had, and said, “Yeah, I want that.” “What is that?” “Jalapenos” “Oh I want those too.” “Let’s see, how many different kinds of mustard do you have? I want some of each.” And mayonnaise….I want both regular and lite.” “Oh, and definitely oil and vinegar, and don’t forget the salt and pepper.”
Then when they had put every single item they could possibly put on the sandwich, I should have said to them, “That’s great. I hope you enjoy your sandwich” and raced out of there, gotten into my car and driven to a freaking McDonalds or Burger King for my lunch. If I had actually thought of that at the time, I don’t think I would have done that, but I tell you, I wouldn’t have felt the least bit guilty if I had for the way they treated me.
When I got back to town, I got on the Subway website and filed a customer service complaint with their corporate office. I must say, I was not happy with the way they handled it. I never heard back from corporate. Instead, I got an email a few weeks later from the guy who supposedly owned that particular franchise location. He apologized and more or less conceded I was right, but he based his agreement with me on the fact that I hadn’t ordered cheese. I had put that in as an afterthought, the cheese really shouldn’t have mattered. Further, he said nothing about talking to his employees about their policies or their lack of customer service skills. All he offered me aside from the apology was a free sandwich, but he gave me no instruction as to how I would collect. No coupon was included, he didn’t even say to bring a printed copy of the email. I guess I would have to keep going back there until I happened to find him actually there? I dunno.
Besides, I didn’t relish the thought of dealing with either of the two people who were so unreasonably with me, and I especially didn’t want them to have anything to do with food I might eat, especially if they were reprimanded over my complaint. So instead of trying to claim a free sandwich, I never went back to that particular Subway every again. And needless to say, although I’ve sometimes had to ask a few times, I’ve never again had any problem getting a Subway sandwich the way I want it.