There is nothing more unsettling than being in a strange city—or a strip mall, or a bus terminal—and getting a big whiff of the distinctly disgusting smell of a Subway sandwich shop. It is a gross and bad and terrible place. I would be thrilled if the company went under tomorrow. I hate it. I hate it so much! Its sandwiches don’t even taste good, and it makes bad jingles that get stuck in your head forever. Everything about this place is bad.
To be honest, most of my Deadspin colleagues disagree with me on this matter, but it’s okay, we’re all still friends. Not everyone can be right all of the time.
I feel very strongly about this. You see, part of the problem is that Subway masquerades as health food. It’s just not. A key part of its advertising campaign is falsely telling fat people that if they just walk to Subway for all of their meals, they will never be fat again. That doesn’t work if you’re chomping on meatball subs three times a day! I know about Jared. Everyone in America knows Jared. If I say “George,” you think “Bush.” If I say “Barbara,” you think “Walters.” And if I say “Jared,” you think “Formerly Fat Subway Jared.” He lost a fuckload of weight and gained a career shilling bad sandwiches, and he’s a big enough deal to have been lampooned on South Park. Jared is as American as baseball or the Weinermobile or the death penalty. He sucks, too.
Consider the following facts:
- The meat is salty.
- The meat is slimy.
- The lettuce is sweaty.
- The lettuce is wilted.
- The type of lettuce is iceberg and terrible.
- The tomatoes are mealy.
- Pre-sliced tomatoes are cause for concern.
- Pre-shredded lettuce are cause for concern.
- Banana peppers?????????
- Jalapeños sitting in their own juice for extended periods of time.
- The cheese is terrible.
- There aren’t even many cheese options.
The bread, too, is a problem: the biggest problem, in fact. First of all, it’s too puffy and weirdly hard on the bottom. Second, the types of bread with weird, hard Asiago cheese glued to the top are especially bad. Third, if you want a toasted sandwich, they pop the bread in a little Easy Bake Oven-type thing, and you can watch it spring into its predetermined quasi-baguette shape with extreme reliability. That’s not how bread is supposed to work. That’s how “way too many preservatives” work. The thought of all this is making my stomach upset, and I’m not even smelling the smell, which is probably caused by the bread, and in any event immediately puts me in a bad place.
Also, don’t eat their tuna sandwiches. I love meat-based sandwich salads very much, but the concept of a mass-produced tuna concoction is disturbing. Seriously, if you’re ordering a fish-centric sandwich from a fast-food establishment, you need to think deeply about your life’s trajectory.
Let’s talk about the names for these sandwiches for a second, too. Veggie Delite ®? What does the Delite® entail, and what exactly is delite-ful about it? Ooohhh, cucumbers on a springy piece of Styrofoam bread! Which forest was the Turkey Breast & Black Forest Ham sandwich harvested from? Italian B.M.T.®? Mama mia! Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt? Connotes images of a sweaty man wearing a tank top! Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki? Fuck you! Steak & Cheese? I’m already shitting my pants.
According to their website, there are 43,837 Subways in 110 different countries. You can get dat BMT in Bahrain, home to 20 Subway restaurants. You can cop some meatballs in Malaysia, which has 190 Subways. Or you can find a spicy Italian in Suriname, where there are only three, albeit three more than Suriname should have. Luxembourg has 13, and Luxembourg is tiny. Something is wrong here. These things don’t add up. The last thing I would want if I were in Estonia (Subway count: seven), is a cold cuts sandwich that I can order an exact replica of in Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Guam, and Honduras. Sandwich meat does not transcend borders. Sandwich meat that claims to is not trustworthy. At least with McDonald’s or KFC, they’re not pretending to be healthy, and there is at least some distinct variation in the menu from country to country. Also, they don’t smell the same everywhere. That’s truly the worst part of the whole thing. Get a turkey sandwich from somewhere else. Fuck Subway.
Art by Sam Woolley