Coupons and Gift Certificates

A few weeks ago, I was out of town with my wife, staying at a friend’s house.  I thought it was very nice of this friend to allow us to stay there–I have a reputation for being a difficult house guest–and wanted to take her out to dinner as a thank you for her hospitality.

Sometime before this trip, my wife and I had signed up for some American Express deal, that included discounted airfare, and discounted dinners at selected restaurants.  In the past, I had shied away from using these things, because for so many of my waiter years I hated it when customers would use their entertainment coupon book to help pay for their dinner, and then, of course, not tip on the full price of the meal.   But this deal included a free airplane ticket!  That’s a piece of gold, right?

I know better

This time, however, I was determined to go ahead and use the darn thing, knowing that I would tip on the full menu price, and then some.  We had a fabulous meal at this place that was just down the street from my friend’s house.  She didn’t even know it was there, and was now excited to share this place with friends in the future.

I really do know better

We were finished, and I was about to ask for the check, but first suggested to my friend that she get ready to go because things were about to go south.  She didn’t understand what the hell I was talking about, but I knew what was about to unfold.

I asked our server for the check, and told him that I had this coupon through American Express and would like to use it.  The manager spent the next fifteen minutes until we left, standing ten feet away, with his arms folded, glaring at us.  It was actually quite hilarious.

My dear friend, who is not in the restaurant business, just could not wrap her head around what had just transpired.  We just had a truly wonderful dinner and now it all came crumbling down.  I explained to her that although restaurants offer these deals, they HATE it when people actually take advantage and use them.

If you are going to offer these things…

I purposely did not mention the coupon up front, because I kind of wanted to have a good time, and did not want some jerk manager to be staring at me the whole time, or perhaps spitting in my food back in the kitchen.

The lesson here is obvious.  If you are going to offer discounted deals at your establishment, train your staff to accept them graciously.  My friend had a wonderful time, and was prepared to come back again and again with many others, but let’s face it:  She will never go back there again!  I guess that promotion kind of backfired on them.

I’m sorry I only spent $125

So, if you put something on Groupon, or in the Chinook Book, or offer any other deal, honor the deal!  I mean all the way.  This discount saved me about $25, so I ended up spending a mere $125, instead of the $150 that I would have paid had I not used the discount.  

So, let me get this straight.  This manager assured us of never returning, and  telling anyone who would listen not to eat there,  because we had the audacity to use a coupon that cost him 30% of $25.  (His actual food cost–that is $7.50 for you math challenged types).  It was actually worth it for me, though, because I had the pleasure of watching this insane manager.  What joy it has given me when I think back on it all.  I usually get upset about this kind of stuff, but this was so absolutely over-the-top ridiculous, it made it all worth while.  It’s all good with me, I got a great story out of the deal.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Truer words were never spoken, the same exact thing happened to me once. Goodbye, delicious Indian restaurant in Sherman Oaks on the north side of Ventura Blvd near Van Nuys Blvd. You could have had me and many of my friends as loyal customers, but alas, when we brought out our coupon, you brought the stink eye and ruined our experience of your fine dining establishment. Your chicken tikka masala could make a grown man cry for more, but I’ll never recommend it to anyone I know. Love this blog!

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