You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Subway (the sandwich place, not the mode of public transportation)
In just about every town in America, small mom and pop businesses have been replaced by corporate stores and eateries. And while we’ve collectively contributed to the downfall of these establishments, we’ve also developed a selective dislike for some of the multinational retailers that’ve taken their place.
Without a doubt, one of the most loathed of these franchises is Starbucks. But why is that exactly? Is it because of the overpriced espresso drinks? The pretentious jazz music? The mood lighting? The most common gripe I’ve heard about the coffee-grinding juggernaut is its ubiquitous nature. Their stores are seemingly everywhere and, in many cities (Seattle being one of them), you can often find more than one on the same block. Which is convenient if you really want a latte but are too lazy to cross the street.
But if Starbucks’ overabundance of locations is indeed what leads people to curse the coffee giant, why don’t these same people direct a similar level of disgust toward an even more ubiquitous chain: Subway.
I’d be willing to bet a kidney there are actually far more Subway locations than Starbucks stores. In fact, I challenge you to find a strip mall that doesn’t have a Subway.
Go ahead, my kidney and I will wait.
(Waiting… Waiting… Waiting… That’s what I thought.)
This past year, Subway became the #1 franchise in America surpassing the thirty-thousand restaurant mark. They’ve even managed to bump the mighty McDonalds down to second place despite their lack of deep fryers and playgrounds.
In some regards this development makes perfect sense. Subway is one of the simpler and more inexpensive franchises to get off the ground. The restaurants don’t require a great deal of space or a great deal of culinary skill. Their employees don’t even need to know how to cook. With the bar set so low, I’m convinced even Levi Johnston could open a Subway.
In addition to the plentiful amount of locations, Subway also boasts a marketing presence that is as powerful as any major brand. Their recent commercials have been consistently drilling the five-dollar footlong jingle into our skulls and, before that, Subway spent the better part of the decade making sure every man, woman and child alive was familiar with their formerly super-sized spokesperson Jared Fogle. Most American sixth-graders are probably unable to name a single U.S. Senator, but my guess is they’d have no problem picking Jared and his giant pants out of a police lineup.
And while Subway may seem like a simple, non-threatening alternative to fast food, I’m convinced the company has but one goal: world domination. It might seem like a strange premise, but something more sinister has to be afoot. No one likes submarine sandwiches enough to require thirty-thousand locations.
I’m not sure what they’re up to exactly, but something tells me they won’t stop expanding until the entire planet subsists on a steady diet of Subway sandwiches and Baked Lays. By the time we realize their fiendish plot, it’ll be too late. We’ll be purchasing our footlong Italian BMTs with currency that has Jared’s face on it – Fogle bucks – and saluting a flag that looks like a giant pair of trousers.
Call me crazy now. But when all of this comes to fruition, I’ll be here to say, “I told you so.”
So the next time you turn your nose up at a dimly lit Starbucks that’s playing Miles Davis, just remember they won’t be your dark overlords in the not too distant future. That honor will belong to another food chain.
All hail Subway!