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The Column

Subway Going Under
7/31/05

There are only a few days left until Armageddon. By this time next week, Subway restaurants will stop accepting Sub Club cards. I never imagined one of the four horsemen would be named Jared.

Subway has never made exceptionally good sandwiches. But I enjoyed eating there for three reasons. One, the sub card. Who wouldn't want to get a free mediocre tasting sub every eight meals? Two, they're ubiquitous. It's become easier to find a Subway restaurant in any city than an actual subway in New York. Three, no talking baby. Quiznos has some good tasting subs, but that baby gives me nightmares. They should run those commercials on Telemundo since that little possessed baby can probably speak in tongues.

But my main reason was the sub card. Every time I ordered eight mediocre tasting subs, I got a free one. I loved the sub card. I carried the sub card in my wallet, unlike any other rewards program I was in.

I fly a few times each month, and I have never earned a free ticket (I'm close on 7 different airlines). I stay at hotels 100 nights a year, and I've never come close to earning a free stay. And almost all my clothes are from stores I have affinity credit cards from, and yet I rarely use them. But every 9th tuna wrap was always on the house.

Maybe my desire for free food dates back to when I was in college. A free piece of pizza made me show up to an hour long hall meeting, even though I refused a job shelving books for $10 an hour. Now as a comedian, I'm extra impressed when a gig offers free dinner, even if the pay is $50 less than normal.

Subway has lost me. I'm not boycotting, but they're no longer my first choice. There are many other places to get a sub, right? Well, D'Angelo's, Sargo's, Big Town, and Lenny's are all confined to a few states a piece. I'm a traveler - I need a sub shop that I can consistently find anywhere. Jimmy Johns and Charley's make some tasty subs, but there are less than 300 of each in the world. What about Blimpie? Mmmm…all the taste of eating food straight out of the garbage with none of the dirty looks.

Blimpie is so budget, the franchise fee to open a Blimpie is less than half of the cost of most of the other stores I mentioned. I looked into doing it, but I decided to spend the money on a combo meal instead.

So that pretty much leaves Subway and Quiznos, each with over 3,000 stores. But Quiznos has 3,000 stores that will accept a sub card. In fact, you get stamped for any $5 purchase at Quiznos. So if you eat 15 bags of chips, that counts, too.

Unless they bring back the card, Subway has lost my allegiance, and probably the allegiance of many others. This was a business decision worse than those commercials with Clay Henry. I hope I'm not the only one who remembers that week when they tried to build a second Jared out of some firefighter named Clay. Sign it with me now - "He's Henry, Clay Henry…" I don't understand why a company whose spokesman looks that much like an account would be this bad at business.

So now I turn to Quiznos. And frankly, I like it. They've got Q shaped dishes. How can you not like that? Actually, they've got any dishes. Subway gives everything to you in a bag. I don't know why Subway bothers to ask if your order is to stay or to go.

"You're eating here? Well, here's a tray for your bag."

Quiznos, talking baby excepted, has great commercials. They had those cool cartoon ratty things from the internet, and the commercial where the guy discovers pants. Which is ironic, since many Blimpie customers haven't been let in on that discovery yet.

Subway is still honoring the cards for the next few days, so make sure to use yours. Even if you haven't finished the card, they'll give you 40 cents off for each stamp you do have. While you're there, make sure to tell them how upset you are that they got rid of their best feature. And make sure to say hi to Clay Henry.

He's probably working behind the counter.

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