Despite the myriad of choices we were given, our “sandwich artist” denied us the one that mattered. I found myself in that increasingly rare state called incredulity.
In the middle of a seven-hour drive back from a festive Thanksgiving weekend, the three of us were hungry, so we stopped at a convenience store featuring an embedded Subway sandwich shop. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect because Benjamin never had eaten at that particular chain.
For the kid’s meal Benjamin was asked the following: What type of animal print bag would you like? Would you like a cookie, chips, or yogurt as your side (they were out of apples)? What would you like to drink? As the line of patrons behind us grew longer Benjamin explained that he would like the cheetah print bag, the yogurt, and the milk.
Before that, however, was the most important question: What meat would you like on your sandwich?
“Do you want turkey, or ham?” we asked him. It seemed simple enough to let him decide, considering that is one of Subway’s selling points.
I think even my spleen cringed at the word.
“He would like turkey and ham,” I told the sandwich artist.
“Sorry, sir, but you have to choose one or the other.”
I stared, agape, for about two seconds, and then had a Jack Nicholson-ordering-toast moment (from Five Easy Pieces).
“How many slices of meat go on the sandwich?” I asked.
“So, you can’t use one slice of turkey and one slice of ham?”
“That’s what we’re told. Hold on.” She leaned over and consulted someone else. Then, back to me. “Yes, that’s right.”
I turned to the boy. “Ben, you have to choose one: turkey or ham?”
Benjamin mumbled something, his mind having wandered to something else. I knelt down and held his face in my hands, and looked him in the eyes. “Turkey or ham, son? You can have only one type.”
“Turkey,” he blurted, and then easily decided on his remaining toppings, including black olives, just like his daddy.
Back in the van he ate every bite, without gripe or whine. The fact that he happily scarfed it down took the edge off my rant, but I felt the need to share, if not to write a letter asking Subway to explain exactly why that policy is in place, and whether it is chain-wide.
I understand that when ringing up the sandwich, the staffer probably has to punch in “turkey” or “ham,” and that this probably helps them track their use of each. Is it too much to add a way to combine meats on a sandwich?
Next time I go to Subway, I am going to ask for turkey and ham. If you eat meat, please do the same and report back.