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

“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.