Thursday, May 2, 2013

Coupon Delirium

Alternate Title:  "Why I Hate Coupons"

1. A temporary state of mental confusion and fluctuating consciousness resulting from high fever, intoxication, shock, or other causes. It is characterized by anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherent speech.  [emphasis - mine]
2. A state of uncontrolled excitement or emotion: e.g.  this lady walks into a restaurant with three coupons.

Over the past few years, some people have become really cheap. 

Here's what happened yesterday at lunch:

A woman calls in a large order.  "I have a coupon." she says rather simply.  The Owner/Manager and I are both on the phone.  He's letting me take the order and explain the limitations on this particular coupon.

"Of course ma'am." I say.  "There are a few conditions regarding this coupon.  You must spend $37.50 on food.  It does not include our lunch specials.  The coupon does not cover beverages.  It does not cover Sales Taxes.  It does not cover gratuity.  It can be used for Take Out orders.  If all this is done, $25 will be deducted from your bill."

(By the way, this list of "conditions" is one reason I hate coupons; especially internet coupons.)

"That's fine," says the mystery woman.  "We'll be ordering a lot of food." 

"We need," she continues ...
1) Grilled Chicken Breast dinner
2) Grilled Shrimp Dinner
3) Two stuffed Baked Potatoes.
4) Three-meat combination dinner
5) Two-meat combination dinner.
6) Grilled Salmon dinner
7) Rib Dinner, and
8) Sliced brisket dinner.

"Yes ma'am."  I say.  "and your total before taxes is ... $75.86"

"Fantastic." says the woman.  "I have three coupons."  That's right!  She expects us to deduct $75 from the check so that her friends only have to pay a combined $0.86 plus tax on their food!

Now, there are two things a waiter never wants to say: "No" and "Sorry."

"I'm sorry ma'am."  I say.  "I can only take one coupon per order."

"But I spent more than $37.50.  And using one coupon per visit isn't part of the conditions you listed before."

At this point, the Owner takes over the phone call.  Thank you Big D.  I really owe you one.

"Yes ma'am."  Says the Owner.  "If you'll look in the left column in the second to last paragraph, you'll see the line about one coupon per visit."

"Well, can I divide up the bill into two parts and then use two coupons?"

"Not likely ma'am.  Since the current food cost is $75.86, it's more probable that one order will be over $37.50 and the other order will be below $37.50.  And you'd only be able to use one coupon."

"OK.  Hold on a moment."  She puts us on hold while I continue to get seated.  Yep, there's at least six people I haven't helped yet just because of this order.  The Owner let's me off the phone call so I can wait on the new customers.  Thanks Big D.  I now owe you two.

While I'm filling the new guests drink orders, I can hear the owner, "Yes ma'am.  You'd like to delete the Grilled Shrimp dinner, one of the stuffed baked potatoes, the grilled chicken dinner (yada yada yada).  Your new food total is $40.55.  Your total after the sales taxes and the $25 discount is $19.10.  Your meals should be ready in about 7 minutes."

She comes in to pick up the Take Out orders and hands me a twenty.  While I'm getting the change (all ninety cents), she says to the owner, "We really were expecting a free meal today."  And by that, she expressed self-righteous  indignation that we (i.e. the Restaurant) ruined her lunch and her friend's lunches.  Well, who were we that we weren't willing to pick up the cost of someone's meal.

Hello ... McFly!  When customers use a coupon, the restaurant is foregoing its profit to give that person an opportunity to try something new.  The restaurant does not have the money to PAY FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S MEALS!!!  Hell !!  If this woman thought she could steal a meal by using three coupons, why shouldn't the two bit granny go all the way and use 200 coupons?  That way, the restaurant could pay for her food AND HER MORTGAGE!!!

Please, please, please ... if you use a coupon, do not even ask if you can use two coupons at one time.  And for the sake of all that is good and right, tip your waiter on the total bill before the check is discounted.

You may now commence with comments ... both constructive and unconstructive.


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