serendipitous reflections

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thank you Zaxby's, but your gift certificate is useless

When Jeni and I were heading to the beach last month we stopped in Bishopville to get something to eat. Bishopville is 51 miles from our house, so let's just say an hour away. We were hungry, needed a little lunch after loading up the car, and decided to stop at the Zaxby's there. Now I understand that Zaxby's is not fast food, and I appreciate Zaxby's for that. But there's also an expectation as to how long you should have to wait. That day, we hit Zaxby's around 1:00, so we were after what should have been the lunch rush. After we placed our order we were standing around and I heard them call someone's number to pick up their order and Jeni looked at me and said, "Was that 30 numbers before us?" I figured maybe there was another register with a different number. No such luck -- 35 frustrating minutes later we were on our way, eating our food in the car. I could have been in and out of Applebee's or Ruby Tuesdays in less than 35 minutes.

So fast forward to this week. I had been sitting on a comment card from the Zaxby's experience, trying to decide if it was even worth calling and commenting about how long it took to get our food. I called late last week, spoke to someone, who was very apologetic. They asked a few questions: how often to I go to Zaxby's (2x/month), how much do I usually spend (about $22), will I return to Zaxby's (most likely, but not to the one in Bishopville). So she says she's going to send out a gift certificate for our trouble ("thanks!"). A little while later the manager from the Bishopville Zaxby's calls and speaks to Jeni, very apologetic, explains how they were short-staffed, and that he's sending out some gift certificates for his store.

[Now, I would say long-story-short, but I'm way beyond that ...]

Yesterday the gift certificates came in the mail. The two from the Bishopville store included a little handwritten note from the manager and were for two free meals at that location, expiring in six months. The one from corporate also came, offering me five, count them, five free chicken fingerz, also at the Bishopville location. I guess the customer service lady missed when I said that we were out of town, on our way to the beach, and that I seriously doubted I'd ever stop at that location again (especially when there is a store about two miles from our house). Oh, and I have one month to use the corporate gift certificate, starting a week ago.

Just to break down the absolute lack of value of these gift certificates ... I'll approximate the two meals and five chicken fingerz at, say, $25. At $4/gallon of gas, getting around 25 miles/gallon, and driving 100 miles, I come out ahead by a whopping $9 (not factoring in the value of my time, and assuming I can use all three gift certificates at once, which I'm sure I can't).

So now I'm debating whether it's worth calling corporate again and asking them if I could redeem my gift certificate locally instead, or if I need to just give these gift certificates away to someone who could use them.



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