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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Subway Personality Profile

You can tell a lot about person by what and how they order at Subway. I'll use my experience today as an example.

I ordered my usual: a single toasted 12" black forest ham on Italian bread, with cheese, lettuce, and mayo with a combo (sun chips and a drink). I'll admit, I did switch it up a bit... I usually get white bread, non-toasted, and cheddar cheese (instead of the white American I did today). I ordered with "please and thank you" and with clear and decisive instructions, anticipating what they were going to ask. I payed with a check card.

Here's what my order tells about me:

The fact that I got my usual, but switched it up just bit shows that while I value consistency, tradition, and precedence, I also don't mind a little variety within the proper boundaries.

My choice of common sandwich with simple and traditional toppings points not only to the above values, but also to my need for simplicity and non-extravagance. It also shows that I'm slightly picky.

The fact that I got only a single 12" shows that I most likely eat/live alone, but that either I eat a lot, or that I save for later meals. It also shows that I can be frugal in that I made sure to get the cheap 12" and I'm eating for two meals. However, the fact that I got a combo shows that while I can be frugal, I don't mind spending a little more for the finer points in life. The sun chips and Gatorade also show that, at some level, I value eating healthy (I could have gotten a cookie and mountain dew after all!)

They way in which I ordered shows that 1) I have been to subway before, showing that I probably eat out relatively frequently, 2) I value politeness and can empathize with what it's like working behind a counter, and 3) I know what I want, I plan ahead, and know how to communicate that need. The way in which I payed shows that I value efficiency, am more "modern", and I don't feel carry cash (meaning I'm not involved in anything "shady" ;) ).

The lady ahead of me was probably in her 80's, ordered two "$5 foot longs" with all the toppings, was slow in making her decision, and didn't use please or thank you. She talked about what they "advertised" and didn't really know what she was doing. This tells me that she is frugal, is ordering for someone else (probably a younger person because she doesn't eat out much and doesn't go to "newer places" like subway), she may value politeness, but perhaps sees a distinction between those in front of the counter and those behind (and is kind of bossy), and she is not picky at all and believes that eating her vegetables is probably what got her to her ripe old age.

The most awkward part of this however, was post-order--she went to pay and was surprised that the total for two "$5 foot-longs" was $10.69 because, "They are advertise at exactly $5!". The cashier tried to explain tax... but the woman couldn't understand. After paying in cash... for which the woman scrounged around her purse for a couple minutes, she took her meal and a glass. I thought she was going to get water... but instead she took a full glass of Coke (which she hadn't paid for). The cashier purposely looked away and didn't say anything, so neither did I.

There's a lot of stuff you could infer from this, but this post is getting long and I'm sure you get the idea. I realize that judgements made in this method are just that--judgements--and are often unfounded and sometimes incorrect. However, in my experience (I eat subway frequently) there are general behaviors that people exhibit that I feel comfortable inferring certain personality traits from.

Feel free to leave an opinion!

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