Last summer, I bought a Groupon to a restaurant near my office. $10 for $20 worth of food to South of Chicago Pizza and Beef. And then I promptly forgot about it. Lucky for me, I remembered the deal last week. I printed out the certificate and made note to use it before the January 24, 2012 expiration date.
Life being what it is, the morning of January 24th arrived and I still had not used my offer. So I planned to go to South of Chicago for lunch with some co-workers. When we arrived, the smell was heavenly. Fresh bread and melty cheese. Little did I know something was going to stink real soon.
Before I could even look at the menu, the cashier saw the Groupon voucher in my hand and said, "You can't use your Groupon. It's expired."
"No, the expiration date is January 24. That's today, so I have until the end of today to use it."
"No. It's Groupon's rules. It's expired and you can't use it." Then I looked beyond her shoulder to see a white board with the same SOL message.
"Well," I said, "Then we're leaving." And my two co-workers and I went down the street to Tortas Mexican sandwich shop, where we had a delicious lunch (I recommend the #4 - Luis Miguel), although the service was a little inconsistent.
When I got back to the office, I lodged a complaint with Groupon, took a poll of my Facebook friends regarding expiration dates (all 19 people who commented agreed with me), and left a message on the South of Chicago Facebook page:
"Really disappointed that you did not honor my Groupon Indianapolis today. The expiration says January 24, 2012. I should have had until close of business today to use it. And I was not the only customer turned away. The ill will and bad experience that I will be sure to share with others will cost more than the $10 you would have eaten had you honored my Groupon."
I was going to blog about the experience, but opted to go to bed early. Plus, by then I had simmered down a little bit.
It wasn't until the middle of the night last night when I was awake (as usual) that I read South of Chicago's replies to my FB message. The first reply said,
"You can use your coupon for face value up until July 22."
Funny, that gal at the counter didn't mention that. Just nope. Sorry. If she had offered that, I might have been willing to accept it and place an order using my so-called-expired certificate for $10 off. That might have taken the edge off some of my frustration.
Then I read the second reply and got angry all over again. I'll let you see it for yourself:
Seriously? One of the benefits of being engaged in social media as a business is so you can communicate with your customers, resolve difficulties and let others see how you take care of those who try to support your business. I think South of Chicago Pizza and Beef missed that in Social Media 101.
There was no "I'm sorry for your experience" or "There was some confusion" or even "Please call us at xxx-xxxx so we can work on making this better." Just a childish mocking of me -- who you can be assured will never be a customer.
On a positive note, I also received feedback from Groupon, which said: