On Monday Sam and I decided to head out for a quick lunch together. Because it's close to home we decided to head over to The Pizza Factory in Lindon, Utah.
We had purchased three City Deals gift certificates worth $10 each and planned to use them. The small print said, “May not be combined with other offers, discounts or promotions.” This was made clear when we made the purchase and we considered it a fair deal.
Upon arrival, we saw a notice taped to the door. The top portion said, “This G.C. cannot be used with Lunch/Family Specials or with any other coupon or Discount. Thanks!” Below that were two different types of gift certificates, including the one we had purchased.
OK. So in addition to their “offers, discounts, and promotions” they also have specials they have decided not to include. We figured we could just order off the menu.
After looking over the menu, we mentioned the gift certificate. At that point the waitress told us that the “lunch specials” that were part of the regular, printed every day menu were not included.
I suggested that an item that appears on the menu given to customers during all hours of business is only “special” in the sense that they had chosen to print the word “special” above them. I also noted that the gift certificate itself didn't exclude regular menu items. This idea was rejected and the exclusion reaffirmed.
As our available options got smaller and smaller, we moved below the specifically outlined and shaded “Lunch Specials” section. We chose the “All-You-Can-Eat Soup, Salad, and Hot Breadtwists” selection for $7.95.
After rushing off to confer with the “general manager,” the waitress came back to let us know that that particular selection was not available with the gift certificate.
I asked her why this was, given that the coupon didn't exclude regular menu items lunch specials or non-lunch specials or anything of the sort.
She said, “Because it's a special.”
When I asked how it could be considered a special, she responded, “Because if you buy the soup and salad and bread sticks separately they will cost more.”
In other words, any meal that is bundled in some way becomes a “special” that is excluded? So if a cheese pizza and a side of pepperoni costs more than a pepperoni pizza, it's a “special”?
Finally we settled on another regular menu item, the all-you-can-eat salad bar for $6.95. Which incidentally is bundled with breadtwists, but is mystically not a “special.”
After all that we paid one dollar less per person for not getting soup. Given how filling soup is, I would guess that we actually consumed more food dollars just eating veggies (I do not pay for lettuce at salad bars). But, you know, the customer general manager is always right.