Friday, January 18, 2013

Give 'em an Inch...

McDonald's has been covering its, ahem, bases for years.

The fast food chain's second most famous signature sandwich (after the Big Mac), the Quarter Pounder, has been tightly covered with a disclaimer ever since it hit the market.

The beef patty, McDonald's has long put into tiny print, weighs the requisite four ounces "before cooking." After it hits the grill, it's anyone's guess. But a Quarter Pounder can be called a quarter pound, using the "before cooking" caveat.

I wonder how Subway is going to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

The sandwich chain has been called out, big time. Already they're calling it a "scamwich."

A photo hit the Internet the other day, visual evidence that a Subway Foot Long sub comes up a tad short. A full inch, in fact.

The poster of the pic, a customer from Australia of all places, captioned the photo of the Foot Long with a tape measure on top of it, with "Subway pls respond." The sandwich extended to the 11-inch mark on the measuring tape.

Just call it a Tall Tale of the Tape.


Uh-oh.


It's hard to see how Subway can wiggle its way out of this, although the chain has already offered up explanations that include hot and cold subs measuring differently at times due to shrinkage of the bread by the hot ingredients. For what it's worth.

But just as a Quarter Pounder is a quarter pounder, so should a Foot Long be a foot long...right?

McDonald's played it right. They understood that for a Quarter Pounder beef patty to weigh four ounces AFTER cooking, it would have to weigh considerably more before it was tossed onto the grill. And that would mean higher overhead and lower profit.

At first blush, the Subway thing might appear to be a little silly and much ado about nothing. I mean, who wants to quibble about an inch? (get your mind out of the gutter!)

But it's not about the inch, per se. I would imagine a lot of consumers would throw that last inch into the trash anyway---either because they're full, or because the last inch is usually just bread.

It's the principle. It's the American consumer tired of corporations erring on the side of the corporations instead of the customer. Notice how the Subway sandwiches didn't measure out to be 13 inches, right?

Maybe that's how long they should be, going forward. Thirteen inches.*

A baker's dozen worth of inches, to make up for years of sticking it to us, an inch at a time.

“I won't be going back to Subway until you either drop the words ‘foot long’ in your advertising or add the inch to the sandwich,” wrote Facebook user David Moran on the company’s profile. “False advertising.”

Mr. Moran is right, and he's right to make such a demand. It's not frivolous.

The Subway flap isn't about an inch. It's about that inch being given, and corporations taking a foot.

A WHOLE foot.

*before shrinkage




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