Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Subway Experience

I have undocumented proof that Subway Sandwich Servers must take a "Make-Customer-Service-Not-Your-Forte" class. Across the United States of America, this great land we live in, I have had the occasion to visit all most of the Subways along I-80. And across the board land, they all have the. exact. same. customer. service. rating in my book.

First of all, the way they look at you abruptly with plastic-gloved-hands-hanging in mid air while asking you, "What kind of sandwich do you want?" And of course, since they're making you feel obligated to answer quickly by holding their arm out with a hand extended towards the bread shelf, you start stuttering and mumbling wondering what kind of sandwich you do actually want. All the while pitying their extended arm that is sure to get a cramp in it.

In your mind you can just SEE their foot tapping anxiously on the floor.

So, you say, "Uh, um, the, um, yeah, ah, what kind of bread do you have?"

And they look at you with this shocked look on their face and answer you as if you've never been to a Subway before in your life. With a quick tongue, they roll off a bunch of words and you hear something about Italian and oatmeal and flat bread and herbs.

So you pick a bread, like wheat or white since that's the only kind you know off the top of your head, and they happen to grab it abruptly from it's nestled little bread shelf and hack into it with a huge knife. And then they stare at you again.

You don't know if you should ask them how they're day is going, how long they've worked at Subway, if they like working at Subway, if they ever feel like their hands get too sweaty with the gloves on, what town they're from, etc. Before you have a chance to engage in any friendly conversation, they ask what you'd like on your sandwich with this lets-get-down-to-business air about them.

You start to answer but then realize that there's a whole butcher shop of meat organized neatly in all those little tin containers so you ask politely what kind of meat they have.

They look at you like you've never in your life even heard of Subway.

So you pick a meat and then they wonder if you want cheese. Of course you want cheese but they have to know what kind of cheese you want. You say the name of one of the cheeses they listed off to you and then they slide your sandwich quickly down to the veggie side of the sandwich bar and head back to intimidate help the next customer.

The Subway Veggie Specialist asks you what you want on your sandwich. And since you heard a customer ahead of you say "everything but the..." you decided to try that answer.

So with a ready answer you say, "Everything but the..." and before you can say what thing you do NOT want, the Subway Veggie Specialist happens to grab a very generous handful of the very thing you do NOT want on your sandwich before you can even say "lettuce."

You find your heart beating faster, your palms getting sweaty and your voice getting weak. With all the strength you can muster, you squeak, "No, um, ah... everyth--ah, not the lettuce though."

As you look at the veggies neatly housed in each tin container, you recognize a few other things you wouldn't like so you name off a handful of ingredients you do NOT want on your sandwich. You just know your Subway Veggie Specialist is thinking in the back of her mind, "Didn't I hear you say 'everything'?"

A squirt of oil and vinegar and a couple shakes of salt and pepper and your sandwich is swaddled up in a nice, crisp sandwich paper and with that, slid into a bag. You remark to yourself that you never thought to put salt and pepper on a cold meat sandwich at home, maybe you should try it.

And then comes the bill. You have no clue how they tally up your order or decide how much you should pay to have that kind of sandwich but you did notice the $4-foot-long advertisements in the window. At Pizza Parlors, you normally pay to have each kind of topping put on your pizza but at Subway, you hope the same rule doesn't apply. Because remember? You did say "everything on it."

When your two 6" sandwiches and half a dozen cookies and two little bags of chips comes to close to $14, you decide that maybe trying a little salt and pepper on your cold meat sandwiches at home would actually save you money.

And the feeling of intimidation.


Kate said...

Giggles! You put that so well! I feel that way everytime! Though I did work up the nerve to ask for more banana peppers than they originally gave me! Gutsy of me I know..! :) It worked!

Ruth Ann said...

that type of ordering always intimidates me. Ah, if they'd only give grace to a person and let them process all the choices and make a decision. Oh dear.

Andrea Herrlinger said...

It's called fast food service. At least their food is better than McDonald's though! :-P

Tania said...

I totally agree!! Though I finally decided that if I was going to get my moneys worth and enjoy my food I would have to speak up. Like if my sandwich isn't salted it doesn't taste good at all to me. So to make our eating out worth it I make myself ask for salt. But really to be truthful I don't usually order. My husband does and poor guy he has learned what everyone likes, so he can make everyone happy. (-:

The Ulmer Family said...

Haha. This reminds me of my brother!! He told my parents that he wished they would have given a class in school on "how to order fast-food."
Growing up, on the rare occasion that we actually ate fast food, it was simple- 14 dollar cheeseburgers, 14 dollar fries, 14 waters and ketchup.
So when my brother started working he was always petrified to order at any resturant because he didn't know anything besides the famous dollar cheeseburger. :)

Anonymous said...

This is sooo funny! You make me rotfl. I am crying. How did you get so hilarious? It must be that husband of yours or is it those kids? Maybe it is the water or I know, it is the wind!!! That must be it...Btw, how many folks know about the wind you have there? How many ppl know that some days, it takes 2 ppl to hang sheets on the line and then about 10 clothes pins... Maybe you could write about that. :-)

Yer momma