44 Years of Sandwiches

February 13th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

subwayToday’s newspaper ads tease with the chance to WIN FREE FOOTLONGS™ FOR LIFE. The literalist in me careered from whose life to sub per week or day to what’s it worth to is there a golden ticket you carry with you?

Well, Subway® had its actuaries on it. It’s a bit like the old joke about someone asking for seconds at the all-you-can-eat restaurant. The burly chef tells him, “I say that’s all you can eat!”

Click on the company site to get the truth and wisdom.

It turns out they are giving away a lot of food and drink, mostly in small batches. However, there’s another annuity-style one — assorted Frito-Lay chips for a year. That can prepare you for the more complex numbering of the Footlong prize. They are awarding 20 such chip chits. “Every two (2) months for a year, Frito will send a case of chips (64 bags) for a total of 6 cases.”

They figure that’s worth $384 per recipient. That would be roughly a small bag of chips per day per winner.

The assumptions and math are harder for the big one. There is an ominous tone to the SUBS FOR LIFE, for two winners. In a melodrama, the company might be foundering under the financial commitments of many cycles of such prizes and then turn to offing the winners to stay in business.

There’s nothing so nefarious possible here. In fact behind the many lines explaining the prize is the notice that you’d get a check for $27,780. With that, you could buy a car or go to high-end restaurants instead for quite awhile. That is, after you pay the taxes, for which you’d be liable.

Let’s assume though that you really like subs, Subways subs, and want to spend all the bounty on those. To get a feel for the possibilities, let’s disregard taxes for the rough calculations.

Subway figures your lifetime sandwiches for your being 36 years old and living another 44 years. To make it to 80, you’d likely have to work out and order with an eye to their nutritional information and low-fat versions. As you’d already have their cash, there’s no suggestion they’ll extend your winnings if you outlive the actuarial basis or ask your estate for the remainder if you win when you’re 54 and die 11 years later. They figure you got 44 years of stuffed bread.

So what does a company that makes its living off subs think is a year/month/week of sandwiches? Well, using their retail value of $27,780 and dividing by 44, the pre-tax sum would be $631.36 a year. They do sell the $5 Footlong from time to time, but the more typical price is about $6. So that is about 100 units or roughly two a week.

I am not a sub lover. However, were I, one every three to four days seems an insult to their menu. There are a lot of choices and other than the inherent sameness of lots of bland bread, you needn’t get jaded…assuming the company will be in business four more decades. There is no real downside here, unless you’re squeamish about some sandwich company projecting how long you’ll live.

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