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This item originally appeared in the April 21, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

have become a method writer.

I am The Tech Talk's version of Dustin Hoffman -- minus the money and industry-wide acclaim.

My quest to fill this space with something relevant led me to the four corners of Ruston its Subways -- to see which is best.

In the interest of fairness, I ordered the same meal at all four (six-inch Italian BMT combo on Italian Herbs & Cheese, with a chocolate chip cookie), and the results were interesting.

On California, this meal is $6.60.

On Tech Drive it's $6.27.

And in Wal-Mart and the Citgo station, it is $5.95.

The only differences I noticed that could have, in some way, contributed to this were Wal-Mart and Citgo didn't provide receipts, and California and Tech Drive asked if I would like it toasted.

So does it cost extra to get a receipt? Surely not.

Does it cost more to have toasting offered? It shouldn't, because all four menus said "served hot or cold."

Also, Wal-Mart and Citgo did not offer the herbs and cheese bread but offered everything else (except that Wal-Mart was sold out of everything but white or wheat).

Both California and Tech Drive offered sweet tea.

Wal-Mart offered only unsweetened tea, which is a cop-out for any restaurant below the Ohio Valley, and Citgo offered neither, but had both Coke and Pepsi products.

Wal-Mart also made it a special point to say that refills are available to dine-in customers only.

And Wal-Mart had the best cookie of the four but was also the only one with a less-than-clean environment (sticky floor).

Also, California gave two Sub Club tickets, but Wal-Mart made up for the extra when they failed to provide one.

Damelis Padilla, the assistant manager at Tech Drive, said the Wal-Mart and Citgo Subways are owned by the same company, which explains the price similarity.

California and Tech Drive are owned by a different company, but she said they should have the same price.

She also said they were trying to find out the pricing problem and get it corrected.

Padilla also said the unavailable bread was because of the different ownership.

But despite the obvious, each had its own individual identity -- the emptiness of the Wal-Mart chain, the outdoor seating at Citgo, the small booths on Tech Drive and the better music on California -- that added to the ambience of each location.

The sandwiches were prepared the same way at all four locations, and I detected no major differences in the tastes.

So, even though they were virtually identical in terms of the edible product, not all franchises are created equal.

Brian Tynes is a senior journalism major from Brandon, Miss., and serves as a news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to

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