Monday, February 4, 2008

It's the principle

To Whom It May Concern:

Three friends and I recently visited your restaurant for the first time, and I’m writing to express our disappointment with the experience. While we enjoyed the live music, the atmosphere and the wine, that’s likely the last visit we’ll make.

We decided to go to Coach Light Cafe after one of our party saw advertised on your Web site “half-price wine by the glass all day Fridays.” We each ordered a glass of wine. When the bill came, we had been charged full price, and since it was a Friday – half-price-wine day – I pointed it out to our waitress.

She told me that that special had been over for a month. I told her it was still on the cafe’s Web site and in fact that was the reason we had decided to go there that night. She replied that the Web site “hasn’t even been working lately.” Which I knew was not true; I had visited it myself that day.

It came down to her word against mine. She told me she would re-ring our bill and bring it back to our table.

When she returned, she told us, “The owner would only agree to take $2 off each glass.” My glass cost $7. Half-price would have been $3.50. Instead I was charged $5. I cannot believe that the people in charge at Coach Light Cafe think that making an extra $1.50 on each of us was more important than a) having satisfied customers and b) honoring a claim on your own Web site.

Incidentally, more than a week later, this special is still advertised on the site. Let’s hope no one else takes it at face value.

I’m a small-business owner myself, and I know that no amount of advertising dollars can make up for negative word-of-mouth. This is particularly true in a small town such as ours. “The customer is always right” is usually taken to mean “... even when she’s wrong,” but in this case, I believe your customers really were in the right.


Gail said...

Are you going to send this to THE PILOT?

Amanda said...

Wow, I felt like clapping after I read this!! What a GREAT zinger letter, nicely written! I sincerely hope you really are sending this. Like the manager at Sprint said, sometimes this is the only way managers/owners find out about this sort of thing

jennifer said...

I am NOT sending it to The Pilot, but I did send it to the restaurant. It went out in today's mail. I wonder whether I'll get a response.

Lauren Greaves said...

I am NEVER EVER going there! This is b.s.

the Girls' Moma said...

I hope you get a response -- and I hope you post it here!!!

Great job, Jen!