Worker Kept Quiznos Running Store After Owners Abandoned It

Ben writes:

With all this guff about Quizno’s, I thought I’d point you to an old episode of the public radio program This American Life, called “Backed Into A Corner.” One of the segments describes the tale of a Seattle Quizno’s line worker who gamely tried to run the place herself when the owners (franchisees of course) mysteriously abandoned the place. Needless to say, her appeals to Quizno’s corporate fell on deaf ears and things trended from the merely difficult to the surreal. It’s a strange, evocative true story, like just about everything else on the show.

Interesting piece from 2005. Note how the Regional Quiznos managers say there’s nothing they can do (the stores are individually owned and operated) but after it hit the media, corporate swooped down all Azarel style, at least until the publicity died down. Then again, you would have to be crazier than those singing Quiznos monkeys to keep working there for a dollar a day. You can stream it from their archives. The bit starts at 8:05. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. Pelagius says:

    It was a bit of a media event in Seattle at the time. I love the sign in the accompanying picture: “Due to bad owners we are out of a lot of things. Please do not get mad…”

  2. Mogbert says:

    Wait! Those were MONKEYS?
    My wife and I always thought they looked like dead rats, you know after they lie on there side for a few days and got stiff. I’m not trying to be gross, that is seriously what we thought they were, and we couldn’t even watch the commercials, we had to change the channel when they cam on.
    I’ve been giving these stories a miss mostly because we could never even TRY to eat at a Quiznos after those commercials…

    Maybe the reason the franchises are failing is because the marketeers that corporate hired need to be taken out back and shot…

  3. Kishi says:

    I think you mean “all Azrael style”, rather than Azarel. Angel of Death and whatnot.

  4. sp3nc3 says:

    They were actually called Spongmonkeys (pronounced spong, not sponge). I’d explain them in greater detail, but Wikipedia has already done a fine job of that.

  5. Those “things” were a creation of Joel at

  6. swalve says:

    I thought Azreal was Skelator’s cat?

  7. sp3nc3 says:

    Skeletor didn’t have a cat. Gargamel did, though.

  8. rocketslide says:

    @swalve: Gargamel’s cat, from the Smurf’s. And I keep that bit of knowledge in the part of my brain where trigonometry should be.

  9. sp3nc3 says:

    Foot in mouth: Skeletor’s “cat” was a big-ass purple panther named Panthor.

  10. sleepydumbdude says:

    That low wage Quiznos worker must’ve really liked her job.

  11. hop says:

    i miss skelator…………………

  12. voidref says:

    No, Panthor was from the Thundercats.

    Cheetara was hot!

  13. Maulleigh says:

    I can’t decide whether she’s great or an idiot. Just let it go: it’s just another quiznos. It’s not like it’s the last capitalistic food stand in the Soviet Bloc!

  14. Roswell75 says:

    They need to fire that marketing company….Fast.

  15. Anonymously says:

    @voidref: No, that was Panthro. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull was the real babe.

  16. Ikki says:

    How the hell did we get from a discussion about Quizno’s to a discussion about He-Man and its underlying characters?

  17. spanky says:

    He-Man’s cat was named Cringer, and it would transform into Battlecat when He-Man did that sword thing or whatever.

    I remember this because my cat’s name is also Battlecat.

    Plus, um, Quizno’s and stuff.

  18. buck09 says:

    You know, I wonder about the quality of the Quizno’s franchise operations.

    I live in a small town – approx 4,000 people, right off a major highway. There’s a Quizno’s built into the gas station, been there for a few years now. Good location, good food for travelers, etc.

    this summer, another Quizno’s opened up in a strip mall not more than 5 minutes away, and in a very sub-prime spot (i.e. you couldn’t see it from the road). I stopped in once and chatted with a worker who said that the two shops had different owners.

    Needless to say, the one in the crappy location didn’t make it – went out of business in less than 6 months.

    I thought that franchises were supposed to do all kinds of research to help the franchisee make sure they would have a decent shot at making it… Putting two identical shops so nearby seems like something their people should have put the breaks on…

  19. MaliBoo Radley says:

    What is the deal with Quizno’s? If it isn’t this, it’s something about a guy shooting himself or some other madness. Quizno’s seems like some sort of horrible sub shop vortex naught but evil dwells. Creepy!

  20. EBW says:

    @buck09: Quizno’s and Subway are famous for screwing franchisees. Specifically, they’re among the least expensive francises to buy, but very expensive to operate. That’s actually one of the most interesting bits in Fast Food Nation. Essentially, Subway and Quizno’s corporate aren’t selling food, they’re selling franchises, and a lot of times they’re selling them to people who don’t have a chance of making it work.

  21. skinny2 says:

    Fortune reported awhile back that 75% of all franchisees fail. It’s not reported that way by the franchisor’s because they assume the franchise and sell it to someone else. There are very few good franchises worth investing.

  22. kevjohn says:

    I remember hearing this story on NPR. T’was quite humorous/disappointing.

    But seriously folks, Battle Cat is 2 words. 2.