Consumers in the US and Australia have sued Subway for cheating them out of 1 inch from their foot long subs. I know what you think – you hate these suits and the lawyers who bring them. It’s one damn inch and these people should get a real job. I know you think this, because I’ve seen your complaints on Facebook and the web. And, you are just wrong. If we had more people willing to pick fights with companies cheating their customers, we would have a better, more competitive marketplace.
Subway may be cheating its customers. There are now dozens of claims and pictures of subs shorter than promised. Some franchise owners have admitted that Subway is directing them to cut back on the amounts of ingredients. For God’s sake, someone from Subway Australia simply admitted that “12 Inch Footlongs” isn’t a promise, just a marketing gimmick. Maybe shorting you an inch isn’t a big deal, but what if they do it everywhere, with every sandwich? It may be cheating you out of $.40-$.60 per sandwich. But, that means tens of millions of dollars profit to Subway. So, what is a small con to each customer is a massive con across the whole customer base.
Look, a popular way to cheat consumers is to nickel and dime them knowing that the amounts are too small for most people to fight about. But, those nickel and dimes add up to a hefty profit. It may mean the difference between bonuses and enormous bonuses for company brass. It may mean a competitive advantage that helps bigger companies squash little companies. If you are one of those little companies getting squashed by a bigger company, then this is absolutely your fight.
The only way for consumers to fight back against the nickel and dime con is to sue the cheaters. Then what happens is big business organizations (the Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and their ilk) launch a coordinated media attack, blaming the character and motives of people that sued. The lawyers are greedy and scheming; the plaintiffs are lazy, corrupt and haven’t got anything better to do. At that moment, you have a real choice. Either you can support the big business schtick that ducks accountability and demonizes fighters. Or, you can understand that, though certainly not perfect, these suits keep big business more honest than they may be without them. And, then bring a ruler to the sandwich shop.