I was so pleased to receive a $2 gift card, above, from Subway in the mail yesterday. I had signed up for it as part of a lawsuit settlement that said the sandwich chain had to give out 142,000 $2 gift cards to California residents in February.
I’m always skeptical when I sign up for freebies online and the company says they’ll mail me a coupon in a bazillion weeks. By that time, I’ve completely forgotten about it. But Subway proved me wrong.
Then I tried to use the card.
I needed a quick bite on the road later that day so I decided to get a $5 footlong sandwich so I could use my $2 card. But at the register the card rang up empty.
“It says the card is inactive or invalid,” the cashier told me. Since when does a gift card need to be activated? Sigh. Be friendly, I told myself. It’s not her fault that the company she works for is @#&$%!
“Well I just received the card today,” I said, pulling out my letter from Subway that came with the card. Lord knows why I had brought the letter with me, but it certainly helped convince her I was telling the truth. “I’ve only had this card for four hours.”
She inspected the letter and swiped the card a few more times. Nothing. I called the number on the back of the card to see if I could miraculously “activate” it. No luck. We tried calling an alternative customer service number. Closed for the day.
The cashier swiped the card again. Still nada. Her co-worker, who was sweeping the floor this entire time, came over to study the error message. It hadn’t changed.
By this time, we had wasted at least 15 minutes (Hubby says more like 30) discussing $2. I didn’t want to walk out after they had made me a sandwich. But I wasn’t about to pay the full price. The only reason I went to Subway was to use the card. Grrrr!
Should I give in and pay full price? Or stick to my guns and walk out the door? I was stuck between my hardened bargain instincts and compassion for two workers who probably earned minimum wage.
Eventually the sweeper pushed a button on the cash register that somehow showed the card had $2 on it. At the same time he murmured to the cashier, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the $2.”
I handed over the bills and walked out with my sandwich.
I hope my savings does not come out of this man’s paycheck. Perhaps the employees did figure it out. Perhaps my problematic card was a fluke and the other 141,999 will work perfectly. On the other hand, maybe this is how Subway squeezes profits out of its franchises, which makes me never want to eat there again.
Has anybody else tried to use their $2 Subway gift cards? What happened?