#MeatballSub #Recipe


So, I’ve been hungry for meatball subs.  They’re so simple to make, but we just never seem to do it at home.  I shared the photo on social media, because I’m weird like that and it annoys people, and some people seemed to dig it.  wanted to share how easy it was with a minimal amount of effort.

So, the wife got a pound of ground meat from Aldi the other day, and I picked up the rest of the stuff that we didn’t already have at Giant Eagle on my way home from work.  I probably could have gotten all of this from Aldi.

So this is what I used…

  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • a handful or two of finely shredded fancy 6 cheese “Italian” stuff – I started with a 2 cup bag.  We always have this or something similar around.
  • Whatever “shake cheese” you put on spaghetti. I have Parmigiano-Reggiano because they think it needs to sound fancy.
  • A handful of crackers.  We had “club” crackers from Aldi
  • Italian Dressing (we seem to really dig Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian)
  • A jar of cheap-ass pizza sauce  (I probably should have used some better marinara sauce)
  • Spices (Season All, cracked black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, paprika …whatever floats your boat.)
  • Brown sugar
  • Sub buns (I like the Cellone’s or bakery ones, but I was being cheap this shopping trip and got some weird mass-produced ones.)
  • EVOO
  • Butter

And this is what I did…

Meatball Subs

MEAT.

Turn the oven on first so you don’t have to worry about it later.  Put it on 375° because that’s always what they seem to say to put it on.  I don’t know why.  I don’t even know who they are.

I made some meatballs with the meat, some hand-crushed crackers, a dash of the pizza sauce, a dash of Italian dressing, a dash of whatever spices I grabbed off the rack (probably pepper, season all, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika), a bit of the Parmesan shake cheese and the mysterious “six cheese Italian” stuff.

I put some spices on the outside because why not, and tossed them into a frying pan with EVOO and a small pat of butter on the bottom.  I pre-heated it to high, then turned it to 6 before I tossed in the balls.  6 is at about 6:00 on my stupid electric stove top.

I melted a bit of butter in the microwave.  I quickly cut open the buns, put them on a baking sheet, spread on some melted butter with a brush and added… garlic powder, onion powder, a dash of shake cheese, and “Italian seasoning” to the buns.  No Italian seasoning for my wife, and no garlic powder for my 2½ year old.  I popped them in the 375° oven on the middle rack for a bit.

I used tongs to turn the meatballs over & popped a lid on the pan.

I dumped the remaining pizza sauce into a soup cup (it was a little jar), and added a sprinkle of brown sugar.  I nuked it for 45 seconds or so.  Why?  I like sweet sauce, and grandma always said “it cuts the acid.”

I turned the meatballs on to an undone side, and got the sub rolls out of the oven.  I knew they were done because… I didn’t even look at them.  I just took them out.  They looked fine.  Plus, we’re not totally finished.  I added some pizza sauce and some of the finely shredded awkwardly named cheese to the buns.

I made sure the meatballs weren’t going to kill us with the food thermometer.  They weren’t.  I put those on the buns and added more sauce, shredded cheese, and shake cheese.

I set some meatballs aside for my 10 month old.  The sandwich was a little much for him, but he will eat just about anything you put in front of him.  Seriously.  even if it’s not edible.

I put the now built subs into the oven and cranked the knob to 400° because I am impatient and my 2½ year old kept asking if lunch was ready.  I turned the light on in the oven and watched the cheese melt.  Not only was that fun, I could also make sure I wasn’t going to burn the bejesus out of things.  I didn’t.  I took it out in time.

Well, some of the cheese that fell on to the baking sheet burned, because I made a mess.  Oh well.

These were pretty good, although next time I will use different/better sauce.  That squeeze stuff isn’t bad.  Maybe I can make a simple marinara.  Also, homemade-ish deli rolls or Cellone’s are worth it… and I would cut a little triangle out of the top like Subway used to, before we were over-saturated with them and they started to serve terrible cream-of-deathfish.

At any rate.  This is easy to do.  You could buy your own meatballs or bake your own bread or use cheese slices to make this as easy or as difficult as you like.  I cut my 2½ year old’s into 3 sections so she had sliders.  I cut my wife’s in 2.  I ate the whole thing in one big sandwich like a hungry hungry pig.  I refuse to apologize.

Share photos of yours or links to your own blogged recipe in the comments!

 

Subway | Eat Death™


I’ve recently renewed my dialog with Subway, sparked by the news of them rolling out a gluten-free menu.  Here’s how it’s going down:

From:

ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: Paula Gomez <gomez_p@subway.com>, Rob Searfus <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>, Mack Bridenbaker <m.bridenbaker@sfaft.org>, Christine Sumecki <c.sumecki@sfaft.org>, Subway Customer Care Team <asksubway@subway.com>, “B. Pingarron” <b.pingarron@sfaft.org>, “M. Luby” <m.luby@sfaft.org>, “Anna Marie Seeley (Customer Care Representative)” <seeley_a@subway.com>, Kevin Kane <kane_k@subway.com>

Hello Friends at Subway,

I write to you today because we have had a dialogue going in the past about food allergies and cross-contamination that I would like to continue.  I have recently read a few articles online informing the masses that Subway plans to roll-out some gluten-free menu options in the Dallas & Tyler Texas markets soon.  If you would like to read the articles in question, here are some links:

While I would like to be able to applaud this effort, I also find it quite frustrating.

I am quite proud of Subway as an organization when I read such responsible things like “The baked goods will arrive pre-packaged and individually wrapped. Employees will be educated on how to cut the bread using a pre-wrapped knife to avoid cross contamination.”  I mean, really… this is a novel idea and a stellar effort as well as great news for Celiac afflicted potential Subway customers.  Certainly lines like “Also, to further avoid cross-contamination, that same Sandwich Artist will prepare the order from beginning to end, ensuring a 100-percent gluten-free meal” offer a level of comfort to those who must dine gluten-free.  While other restaurants have offered gluten-free menus, you seem to understand that a knife that cuts a regular bun cannot also cut the bun of a gluten-free selection.  This would, I imagine, be quite a worry for a wheat-allergic or Celiac person.  I can imagine this scenario quite well, actually.  You may remember my past missives expressing my allergy to shellfish (and more specifically to your “seafood” sub offering).

This is where my frustration sets in.  I have written to you on multiple occasions expressing the frustration for not only my shellfish allergy, but all of the “top 8”; Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, & Wheat.  Why have you picked this opportunity to only concentrate on the wheat?  There are others too… I know of people with tomato and pepper allergies that would be thrown into the same anaphylactic shock that I would given I were to take a bite of unknowingly deathfish-laiden lunchmeat.  While you seem to understand the importance of a gluten-free knife… what about a cheese-free, tomato-free, and shellfish-free knife?  Perhaps you have forgotten my previous letter with a few colorful illustrations of the contaminated knife issue.  I will repost here for your convenience:

Then we have the community knife.  If one were to cut someone’s seafood sub with that knife, wipe it off, then cut my sub, there are STILL allergens on that knife, enough allergens to kill me.  Do you want me to be thrown in to an Anaphylactic fit?  I doubt it.  Well, at least, I hope not.

Think about this – do you share your toothbrush with everyone in your household?  Would you with everyone in your office?  Would you share it with everyone that you pass on the way to work in the morning or with everyone who’s eating lunch with you at the same place where you’re choosing to dine?

Yes, it sounds gross, but those potential germs that you’re no doubt currently horrified of are the same as the very real allergens that will most certainly throw me into instant death.

If that didn’t do it for you, imagine I put a giant dried dog turd on the sandwich board, cut it in half, wrapped it, wiped off the knife [with a re-used dishrag type cloth], and then cut your sandwich.  By Subway’s current logic, that knife is clean and contamination free.  This is most certainly not a pretty picture to you, my friend.  Is it?

Does any of this ring a bell?

Also, I have received conflicting reports on how such issues are currently handled or have been handled in the past.  One reply states…

The Company policy directs our independent restaurant owners / operators to take all necessary precautions to prevent the possibility of cross contamination. This includes the policy of washing all utensils and containers after each use. Each restaurant is independently owned and operated and is the responsibility of the franchise owner to implement and enforce the policy.

Which seems to conflict with yet another reply…

I have gone ahead and copied our Training Department so that further lessons can be addressed with owners and their employees on proper handling.

And, the latest information according to the QSRWeb.com article is that “Sandwich Artists in those two markets will be trained on how to cut the roll with a pre-wrapped knife for one use only.”  So, have they been trained in allergies in cross-contamination already, or not?  Color me confused, my friends.

I’d feel safer if the seafood concoction wasn’t anywhere near the meat & cheese where it currently sits.  I’d also feel safer if the same knife wasn’t used to cut all of the sandwiches, and the same dishrag-type towel wasn’t used to wipe off the knife in random intervals between sandwich slicing.  I’d feel safer if all the sandwich artists, managers, and owners were trained on allergens, cross-contamination, and the seriousness of anaphylactic shock.  I’d feel safer if all stores contained a first aid kit complete with an epi pen and clear instructions for its use.

Why should the Celiac-afflicted feel safer, but the rest of us with deadly food allergies should not?  I look forward to your response, your insights, and how you plan to move forward regarding all potentially deadly allergens and how they are to be handled in your stores.  Thank you once again for your time, I hope to hear from you soon.

Inquisitively,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

P.S. – I was wondering, when you work in an office for Subway, do you have an in-office Subway in which the employees receive (or make) their own lunch?  Or, is there a Subway nearby where you get free or discounted food?  Or, are you all too sick of Subway to eat there?

And I got this back…

From: Searfus, Rob <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM
Subject: RE: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric,

My apologies for not replying earlier, I was traveling and in meetings most of the week, (as well as attending to some family business).  But enough of the excuses.

Forgive me for not having more product answers, but I’m simply a field marketing representative out here on the west coast.  I have inquired with our R&D department to try and get the answers to your questions.  No replies yet, but this week has been tough for me to get a hold of anyone on the east coast due to the severe winter storms that they have been having (offices closed for at least a couple of days.)

I’ll follow up by e-mail when I get any answers for you.

Thanks, and BTW, what part of the US to you hail from?

Rob Searfus
Field Marketing Manager
Subway® Franchise World Headquarters
16337 SW Leeding Ln
Tigard, OR 97223
Cell: 503-954-5479
Toll Free: 1-800-888-4848 x 4089
Fax 503-579-6715
e-mail: searfus_r@subway.com

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION CHANGE:  PLEASE NOTE MY EMAIL ADDRESS HAS CHANGED TO searfus_r@subway.com.  Please update your address book to reflect this change.  We are undergoing a technology transition.  During this transition, you may still receive emails from the “sfaft.org” address.  This is not an error, but please enter my new subway.com email address when sending emails.

So I wrote this…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: Gluten-Free Menu Options in Texas?
To: “Searfus, Rob” <R.Searfus@sfaft.org>

Thank you Rob,

I had actually wondered if anyone would reply.  I had an email chain going before with a Ms. Paula Gomez & Ms. Ana Seely… but they have been short replies and my main questions have gone unsanswered.

I’m in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Thanks for your time, I hope to hear from your colleagues soon!

-Eric

But in the mean time, I made some pretty pictures.  I can’t decide which one I like the most.

Which one do you like best?

Subway bows to cheese tessellation pressure!


Looks like the infamous Left-Handed Toons comic about cheese placement on Subway sandwiches has finally paid off.  No longer will you have to suffer soul-crushing disappointment at the hands of so-called “sandwich artists”!  Well, at least in Australia.

I saw a tweet from Digg that captured my attention this morning, which lead to a link that I couldn’t follow… so I had to Google “Subway Finally Agrees to Tessellate Cheese” and it paid off.

This came from Gawker:

Gawker | Subway Finally Agrees to Tessellate Cheese

This came from The Consumerist:

The Consumerist | Subway to Start Tessellating Cheese

This is the word from Left Handed Toons:

Left-Handed Toons Blog | Cheesy Victory

(Click each photo to check out the source articles…)

Hopefully this wave of geometrical correctness makes its way to the shores of the states soon, and maybe they’ll figure out a way to not use one knife for every sandwich and even a way to stop flinging little creamy bits of death all over the place!  I may have to start bugging my old contacts there once again.

Pandora’s Lunchbox


Heh.  Twitter is fun.  So, you may know that I have my W(aL)D Twitter account, and I use it to be goofy.  I think I re-opened the Subway door here.  Mayhaps this time I’ll get some sort of resolution?

Today, Subway Freshbuzz tweeted the following…

Does anybody else out there try to save half of their $5 Footlong for a 2nd meal, only to be called back by its delicious siren song?

So, I posted this in response…

@subwayfreshbuzz Nope. Not when 1 bite is a potential trip to the E.R. thanks to cross-contamination in the food-prep area.

Tonight, I have this in my Direct Message box…

subwayfreshbuzz Thanks for the feedback. It would be great if you could let us know more about this incident on our cust. service page  http://bit.ly/bhSAn

Well, at least I have someone paying attention!  I sent them a link to my original complaint to Subway, but I’d like to list the whole saga here… in case I need them to refer back to the message trail at some point…

Five. Five dollar. Five dollar… foot up your ass.

• October 28, 2009 • 8 Comments (Edit)

Subway Customer ID: 1918316

• October 29, 2009 • 7 Comments (Edit)

Quiznos writes back before Subway!

• November 12, 2009 • 8 Comments (Edit)

So, we have a response from Subway! – Not really a response, if you ask me…

• November 13, 2009 • 2 Comments (Edit)

The Quiznos Toasty Torpedo™ and the diminutive hand model…

• November 17, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

“You never told me you spoke my language, Doctor Jones.”

• November 18, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

If we’re keeping score, that’s Subway 1 and Quiznos 3½. – No doubt.

• November 20, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

Subway®: “First, allow me to apologize.” – Again, this really wasn’t a nice response, or a response at all…

• November 24, 2009 • 4 Comments (Edit)

Allergies, Alliteration, and Annoyance.
– I had to take it somewhere else.

• November 25, 2009 • 6 Comments (Edit)

Allergies, Annoyance, Alliteration, & Acceptance

• December 21, 2009 • 1 Comment (Edit)

Subway®: “First, allow me to apologize.”


So, I fired off two more emails…  One to Subway, and one to my new friend Mr. Jones at Quiznos.  No response from Mr. Jones yet, but we do have one from Subway.  I’ll share it all below!

OK, so email one, to Subway:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
To: “Bridenbaker, Mack” m.bridenbaker@sfaft.org
Cc: Paula Gomez gomez_p@subway.com; Kevin Kane kane_k@subway.com; Anna Marie Seeley seeley_a@subway.com
Sent: Mon, November 23, 2009 10:24:20 AM
Subject: Re: Subway [
Customer ID: 1918316]

Hello Mr. Bridenbaker,

It’s been over a week since your email to me saying that Ms. Gomez would address my concerns and I’ve yet to see any sort of response.  I still haven’t had a reply to my initial message to Ms. Seely, or  from anyone on your team.  I’m disappointed in the lack of comment overall, my first message which was sent on Oct. 28th has still gone unanswered.

I now understand why the employees in your stores have an “I don’t care” attitude.  It trickles down from the top, and certainly must be passed on in franchise owners, hiring, & training.

I’m amazed at your total lack of concern for the decline of your once championing establishment.  I should perhaps pass on my shellfish allergen and cross-contamination concerns to some allergy awareness groups.  Perhaps allergy awareness lobbyists will warrant some attention.  Everyone I know already hates Jared and the $5 footlong commercials, so I don’t need to push the issue on that one.  The concept of cheese tessellation will obviously elude the average sandwich artist from now until the end of time, so we have no hope there.

Perhaps in copying Quiznos’ idea of toasting subs, you should also adopt their business model in using better quality ingredients and customer service policies.  I have had a continued dialog with them regarding your lack of customer service and their seemingly misleading Toasty Torpedo ads with the very tiny hands.  They proudly stand behind their ads (however creepy), their innovation, and their customer service.

Not signed.  On purpose.  Notice all the Cc’s, everyone hates that… I don’t care who you are.   I tried to poke at every issue and make empty useless claims about allergy awareness groups, and I brought up that Quiznos is the trend-setter while noting that they’re also not perfect.

And, on a friendlier note to Quiznos, I decided to reveal my intentions to an amicable Mr. Jones:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 9:22 AM
Subject: Re: The Quiznos Toasty TorpedoT ads?
To: “Jones, Tony” TJones2@quiznos.com

Thanks Tony,

I must confess, I do have a blog and I have been chronicling my email escapades there.  I like to play them as part consumer advocacy, part humor and all goofy.  I used to write snail mail letters, but email has made it so much easier & faster.  Some friends have encouraged me to keep writing, so I have.  I really enjoy the open & honest dialogue that we have going on, and appreciate that you stand behind the product & integrity of your company… and take the time to respond to emails such as mine.  Also, you obviously have a sense of humor, which has to be a “must” for any kind of customer interaction.  I’m sure you get goofier emails and phone calls from actual crazy people.

I’m intrigued at your suggestion that I get into consulting or franchise journalism.  Do you know how I would even go about this?  Would I need to obtain a degree in something?  I hope to grab followers to my blog just for amusement, but am unaware as to how to make it a profitable venture, ha ha ha.

Thank you once again for your time, I’m actually waiting to hear from some of your Quiznos colleagues, and Subway has still not given me a response beyond “someone will respond”… not that I’m at all surprised by that at this point.

Rock on!
-Eric

Hopefully he writes back in a positive light, and still finds all of this amusing.  Still waiting for further comment from his other colleagues, none of which have really delivered so far.

And, now, the fun part… Subway’s response (or lack thereof):

From: asksubway@subway.com
Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:03 PM
Subject: Subway
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dear Mr Aixelsyd:

First, allow me to apologize. Secondly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your comments.

At each SUBWAY® restaurant, it is the goal of every owner; manager and employee to produce each sandwich and salad properly made to order.

Our customers provide us with valuable input, which we use to improve our operations. Your comments were shared with the regional office in your area as well as the owner of the SUBWAY® restaurant that you have visited.  Since all restaurants are individually owned and operated it is the owner who would be the person to contact you in response to your concern.

I have gone ahead and copied our Training Department so that further lessons can be addressed with owners and their employees on proper handling.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to contact us. SUBWAY® looks forward to your continued visits.

Sincerely,

Paula Gomez

Heh.  “First, allow me to apologize” not followed by an apology is extremely profound, and hopefully intentional.  Then, she thanks me for writing, probably through gritted teeth.

This line reeks of copy & paste:  “At each SUBWAY® restaurant, it is the goal of every owner; manager and employee to produce each sandwich and salad properly made to order.”

And, I love the long winded “it wasn’t me”/”it’s not my fault”/”it’s not my problem”:  “Your comments were shared with the regional office in your area as well as the owner of the SUBWAY® restaurant that you have visited.  Since all restaurants are individually owned and operated it is the owner who would be the person to contact you in response to your concern.”  Basically, she’s telling me that I’m being ignored by a lower level.

“I have gone ahead and copied our Training Department so that further lessons can be addressed with owners and their employees on proper handling.”  With what?  Cross-contamination?  Cleanliness?  Cheese tessellation? How to reply to customer emails?

SUBWAY® looks forward to your continued visits” …so we can spit in your food?  Did she read my emails?  Perhaps this whole thing is just a reading comprehension issue.  I find it amusing that the e Subway spokesperson declined to comment.  Perhaps now is the time to move into old-school W(aL)D mode, and reply that Subway will not be allowed on the moon when I’m emperor.

Are there any psychologists or psychiatrists out there reading this?  I’d love to get your take (…if you can tell me without telling me what my own problems are, ha ha ha).

If you haven’t been following,you may want to check out the back-story rundown here:  If we’re keeping score, that’s Subway 1 and Quiznos 3½. That should explain the last email, and at the bottom there’s a rundown of all the ones that came before it (with links) if you’re interested.

Also… lots of people have been telling me they’re following… by word of mouth, or Facebook, or Twitter, and even via text message… but I beg you, if you’re reading… post a comment here, and others may have a comment about your comment.  I see by the stats that people are reading.  Don’t be shy.  We’re all friends here.  Except for you, people at Subway… Except for you.

Customer ID: 1918316

If we’re keeping score, that’s Subway 1 and Quiznos 3½.


Wow, amazingly… Quiznos is still on the job, and Subway is still not.

The W(aL)D inbox was empty today, save for this…

From: HelpDesk <HelpDesk@quiznos.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 2:36 PM
Subject: FW: The Quiznos Toasty TorpedoT ads?
To: FO Marketing <FOmarketing@quiznos.com>
Cc: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Thank you for your response back. Greg is currently out of the office so I will forward your comments on to our marketing team for you.

Rebecca Chamberlain

Help Desk Associate

QUIZNOS®

Subs • Soups • Salads

Our friends at Subway have still not written back… even though I was told by Mack Bridenbaker that Paula Gomez from Customer Care would address my concerns.

We also have another Quiznos email address to add to the collection.

If you need to catch up, here’s a time-line on this one:

  • I write to Subway about allergens, cross-contamination, hygiene, the $5 footlong campaign and Jared:  $5 Foot Up Your Ass. [Oct. 28, 2009]
  • Subway (Anna Seely, Customer Care) sends back a form letter that I in turn reply to: Customer ID: 1918316 [Oct. 29, 2009]
  • I send it to Quiznos to get a comment, and they (Tony Jones, Vice President for Quiznos representing the Ohio/Indiana/Pennsylvania/Illinois region & Gregory Boudreaux, Help Desk Lead) do:  Quiznos writes back before Subway – To put this in perspective I also tried to get comments from Sheetz, Jimmy John’s, & Jersey Mike’s – w/o so much as even a form letter generic response (wtf? seriously.) …and re-sent the concerns to Subway noting that it had been a while since they’d received my mail with no reply. [Nov. 1o & 11, 2009]
  • Response from Subway (Mack Bridenbaker, Subway Spokesperson) saying someone (Paula Gomez, Customer Care) will address my concerns:  Sort of a response from Subway [Nov. 13, 2009]
  • Since I have a good already open dialogue, I write to Quiznos about the little hands in the Toasty Torpedo Ads:  Are those midget hands? [Nov. 17, 2009]
  • Quiznos (Tony Jones, Vice President for Quiznos representing the Ohio/Indiana/Pennsylvania/Illinois region) writes back, amused:  Have you ever thought of getting into an independent consulting capacity… or maybe franchise news journaling? [Nov. 17, 2009]
  • Today, Quiznos (Rebecca Chamberlain, Help Desk Associate) writes back, to tell me that she’s passing on my email, and that someone else from the marketing team will get back to me.  Awesome.

If we’re keeping score, that’s Subway 1 and Quiznos 3½(The responses saying you’ll get a response are only worth ½ in my point system, OK?)

So there you have it.  Quiznos is awesome.  Subway is not.

What is “FO Marketing” though?

At any rate, please let me know what you think of the insanity… and where I should go from here.

 

 

 

“You never told me you spoke my language, Doctor Jones.”


So, Mr. Jones writes back!  Apparently, he’s a fan.  Ha ha ha.

Writes back to what, you ask?  Well, a response to an email about the Toasty Torpedo ads… which stemmed from earlier emails about Subway’s lack of customer respect.

from Jones, Tony <tjones2@quiznos.com>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 9:53 PM
subject RE: The Quiznos Toasty TorpedoT ads?

 

Eric,

I enjoy your observations and yes, the Torpedo ads vs. the reality can seem diverse. Of course, with the type of bread that is used in this offering, heavier than most, I have found to be very filling and I speak from experience… I love the tuna torpedo, if properly made, and have a difficult time trying to eat more than one in one sitting. I have tried to order two and ended up about 1 ½ till being way-too-full; The heaviness of the bread, even though it looks like a breadstick, serves to be quite filling; Also, yes, the various forms of our past ads have been quite innovative and sometimes just plain ‘rebellious’. Our image has historically kind of gone down that road… with ‘baby bob’, etc. In fact, we have even had past campaigns of ‘being pioneers’…which is somewhat accurate…. First to toast, first with select breads, and first with gourmet sauces…etc… the Subways, and others competitors of the world, have graciously copied some of these endeavors. Etc…

On a side note though…. You are gifted and creative with the pen… with an edgy insight into ‘areas in need of improvement’ for various businesses; Have you ever thought of getting into an independent consulting capacity… or maybe franchise news journaling? Your giftedness at using humor along with wit, and poking fun at the various misuses, and abuses by brands could end up with a great following; Franchising and branding is such a HUGE industry, I’m sure there would be an equally HUGE following for this kind of venue. Just a thought man,

Have a great week,

Tony

Ah ha! Flattery will get you everywhere, I guess. Consulting? Me? So, people will pay me to do this stuff?  I wonder that the hell franchise news journaling is?  I may have to get to Googling that, or at least asking Mr. Jones where to start.  I still don’t think I can call him “Indiana”, though.

At any rate, I look forward to any comments.  I know you’re out there reading, and I’m getting feedback via Facebook & Twitter… but you can comment here too.  It’s all good, and it helps out my WordPress stats.  Ha ha ha.  You can even get your avatar to show up here if you use Gravatar or (I think) OpenID, or if you’re already logged into your own WordPress account.

 

The Quiznos Toasty Torpedo™ and the diminutive hand model…


So, I recently wrote back to Quiznos at the suggestion of Jon on Twitter, and with the editing help of Dave once again. Jon has apparently been following the Subway saga along with a handful of other people… and thought that it may be an appropriate next step. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve had this thought myself, and if I remember correctly Jon had posted about it previously on Facebook or MySpace or Twitter or some social media site. Memory and my Googling skills fail me in finding that now, though.

I have high hopes on getting a well thought out response or two. I sent the message below to Mr. Jones, the same message to Mr. Bordeaux, and a slightly modified one to a few other email addresses that I managed to dig up. I enjoyed the candid reply from Mr. Jones before, although I was unable to get any further comment from Mr. Bordeaux or his team with whom he was going to share my email.

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 10:07 AM
Subject: The Quiznos Toasty Torpedo™ ads?
To: “Jones, Tony” <TJones2@quiznos.com>

Hello Mr. Jones,

I would like to thank you again for the response to my email last week regarding Subway’s lack of allergy awareness, cheese tessellation, appropriate responses to customer feedback, and poor decisions in general. I understand and have learned first hand that good communication is a key component to the Quiznos way of doing business. I also appreciate your expedited replies, and hope that you can gain something knowing how cavalier your competitor’s attitude is toward genuine customer concerns. I am glad to be a gauge of what you do at Quiznos, and I would like to hope that my feedback is valuable.

In sharing my recent adventures in email with some friends, I have noticed a theme that has come up in suggested queries for your fine establishment… and I must say that I have indeed wondered the same thing myself.

Are you using “little people” models for the toasty torpedoes ads, perhaps children or pygmies? I did get a turkey torpedo a while ago, and I did make a mental note that it seemed to be nothing more than a bread stick made into a sandwich. I thought that the toasty torpedo looked bigger in the ads… but I didn’t quite connect why until recently.

A quick Google image search led me to this photo, perfect for a reference for our purposes…

File?id=dfj6n44r_6fcvsjhd8_b

I’m sure you can also see it now that I’ve pointed it out. I, my friend, cannot un-see it. There is no way that the hand in the above graphic is correctly proportioned to the Toasty TORPEDO™. I’m actually tempted to go get another one in an attempt to re-create this photo to see how accurate it may be. I can guarantee though, that if I did in fact hold a toasty torpedo like that, that it would most certainly fall apart. Mine lasted for about a bite and a half before it fell apart.

In Googling, I found multiple odd references to this ad campaign. Does Quiznos make any official statements to counter these goofy bloggers? I found one guy that thinks it looks like a cigarette ad. One guy seems to have a Freudian problem and these people seem to think that one commercial purposely compares your torpedos to a cup of human excrement. Okay, I have to give them that one. I mean… you did hear of 2 Girls, 1 Cup right? I’d find it and link to it, but some may find that offensive/distasteful and I’m sure you know how to use search engines. These people even seem to come to the same conclusion as I have toward the end of their blog… as well as a commenter on this blog.

I understand that all advertising is not one hundred percent factual, and that things tend to be exaggerated, but I really find this image rather misleading. While I understand that I’m not going to walk into a Quiznos any time soon and find a HAL 9000’s creepy sexually suggestive oven cousin, two gorgeous scantily clad women eating a sub rather suggestively, two naked rednecks in a tub of water over a campfire, a baby with the voice of a grown man, anyone suckling on any wolf teats, or even genetic mutations with Latino accents and tiny guitars floating in the air singing praise of your sandwiches… I feel that you owe some level of honesty to the customer.

While the other ads are easily discernible as attention grabbing goofiness, this one seems rather straight forward at first — yet dishonest upon further inspection.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well as the thoughts of any other marketing people or regional managers in the Quiznos family.

If I didn’t feel that I was already taking up too much of your time, I wouldn’t mind getting into a discussion on the violent phallic imagery that the shape and name of these subs not-so-subliminally suggest. I mean, really? Torpedo? Bullet? How many feminists have already written to discuss this? I feel that this topic is a less pressing issue though, to be saved for another day.

Torpedoes away!
-Eric

If you feel the need for a background to any of this, this is where it all started, and how it played out:

That’s my initial message, Subway’s official non-response response, me sending it to Quiznos for comment and getting one, and finally a response from Subway telling me that someone else will respond… which as of yet, has not happened.

…All of which leads us to this posting.

So, we have a response from Subway!


And the plot thickens…

On Nov 13, 2009, at 4:31 PM, “ERiC AiXeLsyD” <world.and.lunar.domination> wrote:

Hello Mr. Bridenbaker,

I had recently submitted some concerns via webform to your team at Subway, and it’s been over two weeks since I’ve has a response to my last message that asked for details regarding my experiences with Subway.

Since I hadn’t heard from you (or anyone at Subway) this past week, I decided to re-send my original message, and to ask if it’s been passed on to the appropriate parties?

Please find my original message at the bottom, the initial response from Subway, and my unanswered reply below.

I hope this can be directed to the correct person (or persons) for comment. Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

Sincerely,
-Eric

…and attached my previous message.  Heh.

So, I (finally) got a response…

Forwarded message
From: Bridenbaker, Mack <m.bridenbaker@sfaft.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 6:27 PM
Subject: Re: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Cc: Paula Gomez <gomez_p@subway.com>, Kevin Kane <kane_k@subway.com>

Eric,
Paula Gomez from Subway Customer Care will be able to help you with your concerns.

Thanks.

Sent from my iPhone

Mack Bridenbaker

Mr. Bridenbaker is the Subway Spokesperson mentioned in the recent artticle about the $5 footlong.  Google FTW.

I guess there’s more to come!

I also submitted the comments from my new friends at Quiznos to Ms. Seely for her review, to see if that will solicit a response.

Quiznos writes back before Subway!


So, for this to make any sense, you may have to read my past two blog posts, or at least just the last one(I think that recaps everything, or at least links to the beginning.) It started when I began an email exchange with Subway that I thought was going somewhere… but, it’s been over a week since they’ve written back to me.

My short attention span got to wondering on Facebook the other day, and a friend suggested that I call Quiznos.  Well, I’m not one for phone calls, but why not write to them, right?  I decided to forward my comments to Sheetz, Quiznos, and Jersey Mike’s since I mentioned them all.  So far, I’ve gotten two responses from Quiznos, and nothing from anyone else.  Score one for them, even if the torpedoes are just bread sticks trying to be sandwiches.

I’ll even post ’em in “how you should read it” order so you don’t have to go from the bottom up like last time.

I started with…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD [mailto:world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 11:52 AM
To: CreativeRequests@quiznos.com
Subject: Fwd: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]

Hello friends at Quiznos!

I hope this message finds you well.  I recently wrote to someone who is a competitor of yours and mentioned your name.

You my friends, are true contenders in the sub business, and I thought you deserved to know how some of the other sub places in the area are faring against you… specifically Subway.

Never forget that you, my friends, were the first to toast the sub!

Please review my original message to Subway (at the bottom of the chain) at your convenience.

As you can see, my latest message to them as gone unanswered.  Perhaps they’re too ashamed to reply.

Warmest Regards,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

And, I got this…

From: HelpDesk <HelpDesk@quiznos.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 3:23 PM
Subject: RE: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Mr. Aixelsyd,

Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.  I found it to be a great read and with your permission I would like to share it with our marketing folks.

Thank you,
Gregory Boudreaux

Help Desk Lead

QUIZNOS®
Subs • Soups • Salads

I wrote back, but I’ll hold that until I get a response.  (If I get one.)

As you know, I hate webforms, so I submitted through the Quiznos webform asking for the email address of a real live person.  Well, it worked:

From: “Jones, Tony” <TJones2@Quiznos.com>
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Sent: Wed, November 11, 2009 8:16:52 AM
Subject: Quiznos Brand

Greetings Eric,
I am Tony Jones, the Vice President for Quiznos representing the Ohio/Indiana/Pennsylvania/Illinois region; Your Customer Comment was forwarded to my office, and I wanted to get back with you.
My Contact Info:
Tony Jones
Quiznos Corp
6429 Crofton Court
Burlington, KY 41005
cell: 859-806-1730
e-mail: tjones@quiznos.com

So, of course, I wrote back…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 12:43 PM
Subject: Fwd: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]
To: TJones2@quiznos.com

Hello Mr. Jones,

May I call you Indiana?  My original message is below.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


-Eric

Well, he ignored the goofy part…

From: Jones, Tony <TJones2@quiznos.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM
Subject: RE: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hi Eric,

Very interesting how other folks in the Sandwich segment of the restaurant business respond to customer input.  As you probably already know, our niche in this business field is usually a more ‘personal’ one.  That factor alone, is one of the distinguishing marks of the SUB businesses vs. other QSR’s burger, pizza, Mexican … Our customer base is one that is accustomed to being serviced with a much more personal touch.  The interaction is more detailed as sandwiches are personalized, and often, we get to know our repeat customers by first name, and even their favorite sandwich as they will come in the door to order…  With e-mail, and technology today, for multiple areas of customer feed-back, it really is a mistake for any business to not utilize all of these methods to get to know their clientele and service their needs.  Obviously, you’re discovering some poor choices that other competitors have made with respect to customer accountability issues.   In a world, that continues to become more and more demanding of peoples time, we should never lose sight of the importance of ‘good communication’.  I think it’s very interesting on what your finding out about how effective communication is being ‘lost’ from the customer/service provider relationship;  I find it extremely poor taste to use a ‘generic’ letter to address these areas of concern.  Before I hurl the ‘judgmental javelin’ at Subway or other competitors, I do know that much of this customer response decision making is left up to area developers, DA’s, and local manager’s choice.  Before Quiznos, I was a VP for the Kentucky region of Subway, and I always tried to personally respond to customer feedback.  So, some of this is probably a time-management issue for a local representative of the larger entity.

With respect to my territory (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky), I wouldn’t ever want to lose touch with my customer base.  They are a crucial ‘gage’ to what we do at Quiznos;

Thanks for sharing this,

Tony

I’m still amazed that I can push a little, and still get articulate and thoughtful answers to these kinds of emails.  I decided to write one final good note…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 4:43 PM
Subject: Re: Subway [Customer ID: 1918316]
To: “Jones, Tony” <TJones2@quiznos.com>

Thank you for the quick reply, Mr. Jones!

I appreciate that you take a more personal approach from the ground up!  Technology can make things more personal if a company allows.  Thank you for the opportunity to provide some feedback.

I can assure you that Quiznos restaurants are far superior to their direct competitors in the area surrounding Pittsburgh, PA.  I have noticed that they have been scaled back in the recent years, but they’re still available where needed.

Keep up the good work!
-Eric

P.S. – The “We like the subs!” thing was a million times more awesome than the Jared or $5 Footlong campaigns.

I found it amusing that Yahoo! news linked to this article today calling it “Subway’s $5 recession buster“:  The Accidental Hero

Perhaps Yahoo! and Subway are in a world domination plot of their own?

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