I don’t do fast food often, you guys. I mean, I enjoy an order of McDonald’s fries as much as the next guy, but I just don’t partake that often because:
- I’m cheap. I realize fast food is generally cheap, too, but it’s one of those things that I really don’t need. I mean, I have food at home that can be made into a meal, so why?
- I’m a really good cook. Seriously. Even my toddler thinks so and I think that’s a pretty verifiable stamp of approval.
Still, sometimes, the drive-thru is the best option. In a time crunch or on the road, or both, and the nearest fast food chain can be your best friend.
Only, the fast food chains (or fast casual — I’m looking at you, Chipotle) to which I’m willing to give my money are getting fewer and farther between.
Obviously, my first concern is the announcement itself, and here’s why:
- Consumers don’t have to worry about antibiotics in their meat because there aren’t any. That’s right. None. Now, it is true that Subway announced they wouldn’t source meat that had ever been treated with antibiotics and that’s an important distinction, which I’ll address in a minute. I just think it’s important to note that they’re addressing a problem that isn’t really a problem.
- Now, about the “meats that have never received antibiotics.” For me, there’s a big problem in that statement. By saying they’re only going source meat from animals who have never received antibiotics, Subway is effectively saying farmers aren’t allowed to treat sick animals. Think about that for a minute. They’re telling farmers that a cow, pig, turkey or chicken who is sick and in distress shouldn’t be treated and cared for because, if it is, that animal’s meat is no longer worth buying, despite the fact that the FDA strictly controls and tests for antibiotics, ensuring antibiotics are never present anyway. They’re saying that animal isn’t worth the time or effort. And, I’m sorry, but that just breaks my heart because I see a company that is unwilling to balance misinformation against what’s best for these guys:
Now, for the second part of this mess: Subway was deleting comments on Facebook from farmers expressing their disappointment. I would understand if Subway’s marketing folks were deleting inappropriate or inflammatory comments. I realize it’s social media and people tend to think they can say whatever they want, but I will never be in favor of being rude, disrespectful or mean-spirited, regardless of whether you’re speaking face-to-face or from behind a computer screen.
But these comments, well, they certainly weren’t that. For now, it seems like Subway has decided that’s not the way to go (probably because so many farmers took to their own, personal accounts to advertise the fact that Subway was deleting their comments), but their early actions to answer opposition simply by removing it doesn’t bode well for their claim that they listen to customers’ concerns.
Here’s a sampling of what Subway has since decided to allow on their Facebook page. As far as I can see, these look pretty reasonable to me. Firm, but reasonable. For a taste of what was deleted, check out Ryan Goodman’s blog at Agriculture Proud.
And here’s the real kicker: now that they’ve decided to allow comments from those with opposing views, they’re ignoring them, choosing only to respond to those in favor of their changes. Perhaps their marketing team should have come up with some responses for both views, because the silent treatment isn’t doing them any good, either.
Bummer. I like Subway. Affordable and not deep-fried. I don’t agree with their decision, but I certainly don’t appreciate their choice to try to silence respectful dissention. So, I guess that means it’s time to break up:
Oh well. There’s a Jimmy John’s in town, too.