Down on a Raleigh Subway

220 East Martin Street, Raleigh, North Carolina

By Patricia B. Mitchell, 2006.

Subway on Moore Square

The Subway on Moore Square.

I wonder if there is a machine for sucking the flavor out of food? If so, they must have used that device at the Subway restaurant on Moore Square (see map) in Raleigh, North Carolina.

My husband, daughter, and I had a 1:15 p.m. appointment nearby, so we decided to grab a quick “snack lunch” beforehand. The first Subway we went to, at 126 South Salisbury, was closed, I suppose because it was the day after Thanksgiving, so we found this particular Subway not far away. We ordered a 12-inch Veggie Delite, split three ways. The vegetables looked okay, but somehow the veggies, the bread, and the cheese were almost flavorless. (We had wanted Cheddar cheese, but they didn't have that so we chose Provolone, which was unusually bland, too.)

The blah sandwich, however, turned out to definitely not be the oddest thing about this Subway eatery. The place had pay toilets, and the gizmos on the doors did not work right. Customers could leave the dining area and go up a slope into the ordering area to request a token chip for the toilet, or they could put in real money. However, sometimes, as we heard from other customers, a coin was not required, while other times nothing would make the doors open. (The restrooms were the talk of everybody in the dining area because the lines of people waiting to use them stretched out among the tables.)

Veggie Delite

A 12-inch Veggie Delite.

After getting a token, I used the tiny ladies' room, but had a difficult time getting out because the door mechanism jammed. Once I escaped, I was able to commiserate with a guy who had inserted a coin but was unable to get the men's room door open. After much jiggling of the door by him and his buddies, he went up to the counter to get a worker to do something. The manager, who was the only person actually making sandwiches, came (leaving a long line of waiting customers) and fooled with the “slot machine” to no avail. He finally went and got a screwdriver and worked on the box until the door opened. — Should we all applaud?

This “floor show,” the blah food, and the fact that none of the employees spoke much English certainly made for a meal which we will talk about for a long time. In addition, our bill for a measly veggie sandwich and two smallest-size dispenser drinks (I had brought along my own caffeine-free drink, which Subways don't normally sell) was quite high: $12.27. This Subway, like all too many of 'em, does not bother to itemize the receipt, so we don't know why it cost so much. Were we overcharged? We don't know, and we didn't have time to discuss it at great length with the “manager,” who, as I mentioned, was not at all easy to communicate with because of the language barrier. He did assure us that the bill was correct.

Well, at least I got an interesting article out of the experience….