Monday, May 09, 2005

Fun in the public dumb-main

There's a reason some people are hermits

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to make not one, but TWO embarrassing political statements.

The first occurred at my neighborhood Subway. Between the quality food and friendly service, I eat there upwards of five days a week during the months when I have money. But when I walked in Monday, I saw an unpleasant sign that signaled the end of the Sub Club, effective that day.

For the uninitiated, the Sub Club is a promotion at Subway where you get a stamp for ordering a six-inch sub (or two for a footlong). When you fill a card with eight stamps, you get a free six-inch (or a footlong with two filled cards) with a medium-drink purchase. I've been filling and redeeming these cards on a continuous basis since the age of 15. In fact, I've redeemed so many cards that I'd sometimes get five stamps a pop just to "save you another trip" (okay, that only happened a few times, but still...such is my love for Subway).

When I sauntered up to the counter to pay, I mentioned the sign and asked the girl if they were still giving out stamps. She said no. That sucked, as I needed only two more stamps to finish my last card. Assuming my card was useless, and having a tendency to make tactless statements anyway, I smirked sardonically and tore my card in half.

"Well, I guess this is no more good, isn't it?"

The clerk cringed. "Actually, if you'd read the sign, you'd have seen that we can give you credit for those six stamps until August," she said.

"Oops!" I said. "I guess my political statement was a bit premature."

"Yep. But we're not happy about [ending Sub Club], you know."

"I figured. I know it isn't your fault. It's a corporate corner-cutting thing, no doubt. I like this place, so I'll keep coming here with or without Sub Club."

"Thank you!" they told me.

Still irritated by the Sub Club snub seven hours later, I did a little research and decided to fire off a letter to the Subway brass. Here's the text:

I am a regular customer at the Subway franchise listed above. It is a very clean and well-run outlet staffed by very friendly and competent people, and thus I eat there as often as five times a week.

It was there on May 9 when I learned that the Sub Club promotion had been discontinued. I was upset about this, because I had been an active participant in the program since 1995. In the last 10 years, I've redeemed countless cards and always thought the program was a great (and cost-effective) incentive to eat at Subway on a regular basis--not that the food itself wasn't also a major factor!

My decade of quality service from Subway helps me to understand why the chain has more than 22,000 locations in 77 countries, and why it has been ranked the number-one franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine 13 times in 17 years (including 2005). Any franchise that superior is obviously doing something right, and I think that it has something to do with its quality of customer service. With that in mind, I ask you to please reconsider the termination of the Sub Club.

Ian McGibboney

The second of yesterday's embarrassing political statements occurred when I went to the public library to check out some new books. I often borrow books with opposing viewpoints, just to see what a train wreck they truly are. I also use the self-checkout machine, which sometimes fails to properly clear the books; on more than one occasion, this has led me to the mortifying prospect of having to step back from the alarm and have the librarian swipe the Rush Limbaugh book that set it off. So you can imagine my excitement when, after paying my overdue fees ($4.05), my receipt led off with this fine tome:

That should satisfy Homeland Security Posted by Hello

Yes, kids, whether it's missing the fine print on corporate stupidity or giving off the wrong impression at the public library, few peers can touch me.


Flamingo Jones said...

40 cents seems like an outrageously high price to pay for the "pleasure" of "reading" such a "book."

You should just do what the rest of us do and skim through those books at Borders (or B&N in your case, as you are painfully Borders-deprived). That's free, plus you get the added bonus of being able to laugh loudly and point to the cover of the book whenever anybody looks to see what's so damn funny. Economical AND reputation-saving!

Ian McGibboney said...

Flamingo, did I ever tell you my story about being harassed at Barnes & Noble? I probably did, but I'll commit it to print anyway:

Just before the election in 2000, I was sitting at B&N reading a satirical anti-Bush book (I think it was My First Prezidentyal (sp?) Scrapbook, if that was out yet). It attracted the attention of three kids who were flanking me in the other chairs.

"Whatcha reading?" one asked, and I held up the book.

"You don't like Bush?" another cried out startlingly loud.

"Nope." I replied.

"Do you drive? Because Al Gore wants to ban all cars. My mom told me that."

"Um, no he doesn't. He just wants more fuel-efficient vehicles--"

One kid pulled the shirt of an older and muscular man, browsing a book called "Tanks of World War II" and said, "Look! This guy likes Gore!"

At this point two of the kids were practically sitting in my lap. "GORE WANTS EVERYONE TO HAVE ABORTIONS!!" the girl screamed. Screamed! They flagged down someone walking by. "This guy wants everyone to have abortions!"

At this point, I'm ready to complain. Seriously. I wanted to ask them who and where their parents were, but I figured I didn't need to talk to anyone that toxic. After about half an hour of this, I was worn down. I could feel the hate in the store. Finally I snapped, "You know, kid, sometimes people have good reasons to have abortions. [glare] You know what I mean?" Then I walked off and went home, shaken that I had actually said that to a kid. Sometimes, I really worry about the future. I didn't go back to B&N for a long time after that. Fortunately, it hasn't happened since.

M said...

The last story makes me feel better about hating this place

Flamingo Jones said...

In that situation, I would've played dumb.

"Of course I like Bush! That's why I'm reading this here book he wrote!"

And if any of them were smart enough to point out my "mistake" I would throw it down in disgust, and say "I KNEW something was fishy about that book! Too many big words!"

Bookstores are fun.

Michael said...

They've killed the Sub Club? News to me. I was just in one of the three local franchises I patronize the other day, and they gave me my stamps without a quiver or any indication that the promotion was ending. Just as I'm wanting only two more stamps to complete my second current card and get my next Subway lunch for free.

Could it please just be a Louisiana thing? Pretty please?