Joe Kukura

The sandwich chain Subway seems to have started on the wrong foot with their response to an online mini-scandal that points out their footlong sandwiches are only 11 inches in length instead of 12. When an Australian customer found his footlong sandwich measured only 11 inches, he snapped the picture above and posted his grievance to the Subway Facebook page. Now his complaint has gone completely viral, and Subway's response has been anything but sure-footed.

Subway's Facebook page has turned into a hotbed of criticism, countless users are posting their own inch-short footlongs, and the kerfuffle set off a media investigation that proved how Subway's footlongs do indeed usually measure only 11 inches, if that.

The big debate over the small Subway sandwich began Tuesday, when Perth, Australia teen Matt Corby bought that Subway footlong above, found it to measure only 11 inches, and posted the photo the Subway Facebook page with the simple unpunctuated message "subway pls respond". (Don't bother looking for the post -- Subway deleted it.)

Subway did not respond -- but thousands of their users did. The photo received more than 100,000 Likes and comments, and set off a barrage of similar sub-par Subway criticism. A quick trip to the Subway Facebook photo page shows that people are madly uploading pictures of inch-short footlong sandwiches.

Sure, several of those photos are just re-postings of Mr. Corby's original photo. But dozens of them are other ("fresher"?) sandwich photos showing other customers' sandwiches held up against a ruler -- and measuring well under 12 inches.

It would appear that customers are now taking rulers and tape measures when they go eat at Subway. In other words, people are buying Subway footlongs just to prove that the sandwiches are actually a rip-off. Well played, Subway.

Today the New York Post ran an investigative piece to check whether the inch-short footlong was just a one-off. They found short footlongs to be quite common -- four out of seven types of Subway footlong sandwiches measured only 11 or 11.5 inches.

When asked for comment Subway told the Wall Street Journal that the individual franchise likely baked the bread improperly. Others note that toasted bread tends to shrink, but the New York Post analysis found no difference in the length of toasted bread and cold bread.

The instant customer uproar shows the role of Facebook in maintaining -- or destroying -- customer satisfaction. It also shows that Subway footlongs are often not 12 inches long. Maybe that's why Jared was able to lose weight while eating those sandwiches.