Sandwich scandal: Subway’s ‘footlong’ is missing an inch

Updated 20 January 2013
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Sandwich scandal: Subway’s ‘footlong’ is missing an inch

NEW YORK: Subway, the world’s largest fast food chain, is facing criticism after a man who appears to be from Australia posted a picture on the company’s Facebook page of one of its famous sandwiches next to a tape measure that seems to shows it’s not as long as promised.
The footlong sandwiches are meant to be 12 inches, but the photo indicates the Australian’s sandwich is just 11 inches.
More than 100,000 people have “liked” or commented on the photo, which has the caption “Subway pls respond.”
By Thursday afternoon, the picture was no longer visible on Subway’s Facebook page, which has 19.8 million fans. A spokesman for Subway said that the company did not remove the posting. Subway also said that the length of its sandwiches may vary slightly when its bread, which is baked at each Subway location, is not made to the chain’s exact specifications.
“We are reinforcing our policies and procedures in an effort to ensure our offerings are always consistent no matter which Subway restaurant you visit,” Subway said in an e-mailed statement.
The photograph — and the backlash — illustrates a challenge companies face with the growth of social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Before, someone in far flung local in Australia would not be able to cause such a stir. But the power of social media means that negative posts about a company can spread from small towns to locations around the world in seconds.
“People look for the gap between what companies say and what they give, and when they find the gap — be it a mile or an inch — they can now raise a flag and say, ‘Hey look at this,’ I caught you,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York.
Subway has always offered footlong sandwiches since it opened in 1965. A customer can order any sandwich as a footlong. The chain started offering 6-inch versions of the sub in 1977.


It introduced a $ 5 footlong promotion in 2008 as the US fell into the recession, which became a popular seller and continues to be offered today.
An attempt to contact someone with the same name and country as the person who posted the photo of the footlong sandwich on Subway’s Facebook page was not returned on Thursday.
But comments by other Facebook users about the photo ran the gamut from outrage to indifference to amusement. One commenter urged people to “chill out.” Another one said she was switching to Quiznos. And one man posted a photo of his foot in a sock next to a Subway sandwich to show it was shorter than a “foot.”
The Subway footlong scandal is just the latest in a string of such social media public relations headaches for big companies.
Last year, a Burger King employee posted a Twitter message or “tweet” with a picture of someone standing in sneakers on two tubs of uncovered lettuce. Domino’s Pizza employees posted a video on YouTube of workers defacing a pizza in 2009. And a KitchenAid employee in 2012 made a disparaging remark about President Obama using the official KitchenAid Twitter account.
The key to mitigating damage when a social media furor arises is speed and directness, said Adamson, the branding expert.
“In today’s market you have to be able to roll with the punches and be much more fluid, responsive and responsible than before,” he said.


Morocco’s women surfers ride out waves and harassment

Updated 23 May 2018
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Morocco’s women surfers ride out waves and harassment

RABAT: Moroccan women surfers have become a common sight as they skim the waves off the coast of the capital, Rabat, but they still can face prejudice and harassment back on land.
“It’s easier in the winter because the beaches are empty,” said surfer Meriem, 29, who, like most of the women surfers, wears a wetsuit.
“In the summer we suffer a lot of harassment, that’s why we pay attention to what we wear.”
The engineer, who took up the sport four years ago, said she’s lucky to have grown up in a “tolerant” family.
For many Moroccan women from conservative backgrounds, such activities are off limits.
“Some families are ashamed that their daughters practice water sports,” said Jalal Medkouri, who runs the Rabat Surf Club on the capital’s popular Udayas beach.
The gentle waves nearby are ideal for beginners, but nestled at the foot of the 12th century Kasbah and easily visible from the capital’s bustling touristic heart, the beach is far from discreet.
Yet some club members say attitudes are changing.
Rim Bechar, 28, said that when she began surfing four years ago, “it was a bit more difficult.”
“At first, my father accompanied me whenever I wanted to surf,” she said. But now, “people are used to seeing young women in the water, it’s no longer a problem.”
Today, she surfs alone, stays all day and goes home without problems, she said.
Surfers first took to the waves off Morocco’s Atlantic Coast in the 1960s, at the popular seaside resort of Mehdia, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the capital.
Residents say soldiers at a nearby French-American military base were the first to practice the sport there.
A handful of enthusiasts, French and Moroccan, quickly nurtured the scene, traveling further south to the lesser-known beaches of Safi and Taghazout, which later gained popularity with surfers from around the world.
The sport gradually gained Moroccan enthusiasts, including women. In September 2016, the country held its first international women’s surfing contest.
But mentalities differ from beach to beach.
Despite efforts to improve the status of women in the North African country, attitudes have been slow to change.
A United Nations study in 2017 found that nearly 72 percent of men and 78 percent of women think “women who dress provocatively deserve to be harassed.”
The harassment women surfers can face in Morocco ranges from looks and comments to unwanted attempts at flirtation and attention from men.
In Mehdia, however, surf instructor Mounir said it’s “no problem” for girls to surf.
Last summer “we even saw girls in bikinis on the beach and the authorities didn’t say anything,” he said.
Back at Udayas beach, popular with young men playing football, attitudes are more conservative.
“Girls are often harassed by the boys,” Bechar said.
“At first it wasn’t easy, so I decided to join a club.”
The Rabat Surf Club now has more than 40 surfers, half of whom are girls, Medkouri said.
“Parents encourage their children when they feel they are in good hands,” he said.
Club surfing is particularly popular among girls because the group setting cuts harassment and eases the concerns of some families.
Ikram, who also surfs there, said she hopes “all girls who were prevented by their father or brother from doing what they want will follow this path.”
“Surfing makes you dynamic,” she said.