Have you ever second-guessed what vegetables you’d like on a
sandwich? Have you ever awaited an important text message? Have you ever had
such a complex sandwich order, that you thought to give it in pieces so as to
be considerate of the sandwich artists? If you answered yes to any of the above
questions, you are what Subway employees would call rude, unacceptable, Mr.
Texter, or an asshole. At least you would have been, up until the recent change
at everyone’s favorite neighborhood national food chain. Subway is under new
And they want to make sure that everyone knows it. The
little restaurant across from the bookstore in Mallinckrodt has seen many
changes in the last couple of years. First it was Hilltop, home to the original
warm chocolate chip cookies, and the delicious heated roast beef and cheddar
cheese sandwiches. For those of you who don’t know, the food at Hilltop was
incredible, rivaling Holmes’ carvery and “Old Bear’s Den” (you don’t know what
Bear’s Den I’m talking about unless you are an alum, a senior, or one of the
lucky juniors who visited campus during your senior year of high school). But
in a foreshadowing of things to come, Hilltop traded their best offerings for passable
salads and a cordial staff.
Meanwhile, the trolls of Subway grew tired of being locked
in the basement of Umrath and finally got the go ahead to “Occupy Hilltop.”
Thus, the dungeon was gutted (to be replaced by”¦ still nothing) and Subway
moved to its current location. The University cited the accessibility provided
by the new spot’s two-line feature as a key benefit of this move; however, those
two lines have yet to be utilized.
So to compensate for what shockingly seems like even slower
service than before the move, the employees of Subway focused their attention
on the customer experience. They uniquely positioned themselves as the only
campus staff that truly incited hatred from the students. Except, of course,
for that miserable, crotchety, pirate-of-a-B&D-guard who lurks down at the
Village late on the weekends (you know who he is, he’s probably yelled at you
for grazing the surface of a tater tot while in line). The Subway grumps
reveled in staring down the most confident of students, struggling with the
simplest of orders, and making international students feel so uncomfortable
that they fled, empty stomached.
This directed negativity was easy for the grumps to master,
seeing as the only task distracting them was vegetable identification. If for
some strange reason, they ever got caught up and felt their rudeness was being
rushed, they could always rely on the painfully slow pace of the cashier. But
as I previously mentioned, things have changed. Like a new interface from
Facebook, Subway’s new management is catching WashU students off guard. Their
grimaces have been replaced with smiles. Their yelled frustrations swapped for
soft inquiries. The student previously named “Next!” has now taken on the title
of Sir or Miss.
It’s hard to tell for sure if these changes will last. The sincerity of the grumps’ grins is debatable and the line can still be found spilling out of the doors. But for now, the change is nice. Subway still pales in comparison to a Cafe Bergson visit, but it certainly is an improvement from the Subway grumps of old.