Do You Really Need a Foot of Sandwich Anyway?

Subway's footlong misses its mark by one inch.

Is your sub really twelve inches? Do you care if it's only 11? (Photo: Lambert/Getty Images)

Jason Best is a regular contributor to TakePart who has worked for Gourmet and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

You know how social media is often credited with bringing people together to fight for justice and the fundamental rights associated with a healthy, fully functioning democracy (think last year’s uprisings in the Arab world, or the whole Occupy movement)? This is not one of those stories.

Instead, it’s about something smaller...much, much smaller. An inch, to be precise. Because that’s how much one Australian man is alleging the fast-food giant Subway is falling short in its promise of a foot-long sandwich.

(Impressive anyone would even notice Down Under, since they’re all on the metric system.)

As Gawker reports, Matt Corby posted a photo on Subway’s Facebook page of a “footlong” that, according to the tape measure atop of it, comes in just shy of 11 inches (though you have to admit the sandwich looks like it had a rough trip from restaurant to table).

Corby’s only comment? “subway pls respond”

The chain, clearly taking a cue from the Totalitarian Leader’s Handbook, hasn’t taken the bait. But the photo and its various incarnations (it appears to have been reposted again and again) has garnered upwards of 400,000 likes in all, apparently tapping into a vein of seething discontent among the eagle-eyed masses who feel they’re getting screwed out of an extra inch of Tuscan Chicken Melt and prompting dozens of other folks to haul their rulers out and measure their own sandwiches. 

Four hundred thousand likes and counting? In contrast, the Facebook page for the Humane Society of America, which advocates for better treatment of all those animals who are eventually sliced and diced to make Subway sandwiches, has but a mere 286,000 likes.

We get it. We really do: Here you’ve got a big corporation that promises one thing in its slick ads, bandying about “footlong” all over the place (and even trying to trademark the word to keep anyone else from using it), and that company may not even be selling bona fide footlong sandwiches. How could the Super Size Me and Have it Your Way fast-food culture lie to consumers (except to pretend that the food it serves is healthy)?

Not that Jared himself would go hungry without that extra inch. Even Subway’s own health claims are all based on the nutritional content of six-inch sandwiches. 

On the other hand, the gusto with which these kinds of “protests” are seized upon can’t help but leave us feeling a little…empty. And it’s not like an extra inch of Big Philly Cheesesteak is really going to fill that.

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