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Screeching to a stop at the local Subway shop

by Ginger Costen

I guess it was inevitable, but who would have thought that the owner of a store established on the very premise of offering a “healthier, less fattening food” would be the first person to rain on my weight loss parade?

It’s been three months now since the Bariatric surgery and I’ve lost 103 pounds. At the end of December the nutritionist moved me up to level five, which meant I could start eating two ounces of fish such as tuna. This was a major step for me as I was getting beyond bored with cheese sticks, egg whites, yogurt and protein drinks. But even more importantly, this allowed me the freedom to find something to eat when I was out shopping or traveling.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, one of the aspects of the surgery is to remove all gastric feelings of hunger so I don’t realize that I need to eat until I start feeling faint, nauseous or having dry-heaves. So to be able to grab a two-ounce scoop of prepared tuna at the nearest SUBWAY® is a godsend for me. And since this surgery is so well known, I haven’t had a single problem with this request until I stopped at the Route 16 SUBWAY in Webster.  

The response from all the other SUBWAY staff has consistently been positive, encouraging and most reasonable (from $1.05 to twenty-five cents). So you can imagine how shocked I was last week to have the owner of the Honey Farms SUBWAY tell me that he wouldn’t sell me a two-ounce scoop for anything less than the full price of a sandwich. I tried to explain that I’d had weight-loss surgery and two-ounces is all I can eat. He didn’t care and was rude to the point of embarrassment. I offered to buy two scoops and pay the price of adding extra meat to a 12” sandwich ($2.00). But again he refused and told me the only way I was going to get a scoop of tuna was on a sandwich with bread, veggies, meat, cheese etc. “I only sell sandwiches,” he yelled walking into the back room.

Let me explain that I didn’t make this request during the busiest time of the day. There were just three people in line and I was the last one. Also, since this location opened we’ve been regular customers for both individual sandwiches and catering so you can imagine my disappointment. Later that evening as I was watching the SUBWAY commercials during The Biggest Loser television program, I got to thinking about Jared Fogle, “The SUBWAY Guy” who lost 245 lbs. in 1997-98 with his own SUBWAY diet and now serves as a company spokesperson.  

This led me to their website to see how I could contact the corporate headquarters. It seems making healthy choices has been a part of the corporate mission statement since the beginning. After borrowing $1,000 from family friend Dr. Peter Buck in 1965, seventeen-year-old Fred DeLuca opened the first SUBWAY (known as Pete’s Submarines) to help make money for medical school. Today, the SUBWAY® brand is the world’s largest submarine sandwich chain with more than 41,158 locations in 105 countries. 

“We’ve become the leading choice for people seeking quick, fresh, nutritious meals that the whole family can enjoy, and we’re glad to have you as a customer,” said the manager at the Lincoln Street Plaza SUBWAY location in Worcester the next day as I explained what had happened at the Webster Honey Farms store.

Thinking back on it now, I guess it’s all about the bread… both the kind you eat and the kind you take to the bank for the Webster (Route 16) and Dudley (Route 197) franchise owner. Sure glad Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck didn’t feel that way when they started. 


Ginger Costen writes a monthly column for the Yankee Shopper. She is a resident of Webster. Email Ginger at [email protected].