Truth in Advertising


I stopped at a local gas station the other day.  It is one of those that print coupons on the back side of the gasoline receipt.  I’m not going to tell you who it was, but I will say that it is a major chain that has been pushing hard in the Orlando area for the past year or more.  Anyway, after filling up my tank with gasoline, I finished the transaction and asked for a receipt.  On the back of the receipt they have pre-printed coupons usually for food items in the store.  Sometimes, I will immediately go into the store to use one or more of the coupons so of course I turned over the receipt to look at what I could get.  On the back were three items that I would consider getting since it was early evening and I was looking for a snack anyway.  But when I looked at the coupons, I saw that the expiration date had already passed.

Huh?

I just got the gasoline and printed the receipt.  How could the coupons have already expired?  Sure enough, the expiration date was December 31, 2013 and the current date was January 17, 2014, both clearly printed on either side of the receipt.  Of course this had to be a mistake so I went into the store anyway to see if they would still honor the coupons since they had clearly just be printed.  However, when I finally got the clerks attention away from the phone game she was playing, ‘Candy Crush’ I believe is the name, she said that she was not allowed to take expired coupons and had indeed been reprimanded previously for taking a coupon that had expired.

I tried in vain to explain that I had just purchased gasoline and this receipt was just spit out from the pump.  She said that it does not matter.  Rules are rules.  Ok, I get that, but why was the paper in the pump filled with expired coupons?  What does that say about how they really feel about their customers.  Afterall, this was more than two weeks after the expiration date.  I do kind of get that they did not want to throw out perfectly good receipt paper (except for the fact that the coupons had all expired).  But would they ever catch up to the point where the coupons were not only still valid, but had a few days before they would no long be good?

Sometimes it is the little things like this that cause people to like or dislike stores or vendors.  It is not just the big mistakes, but the lack of attention to details that make customers feel unwelcome and unappreciated.  After all, if it wasn’t these coupons, it would have been other coupons.  Isn’t the purpose of the coupons to get customers to first buy their gasoline at their store and then hopefully come into the store to buy other things besides the items on the coupons?  Good marketing and good customer service might say that it would be best to just honor the coupons regardless of the date and either replace the paper used by the pumps with new paper or just continue to honor the old coupons until the paper was used.

This weekend I celebrated a birthday.  Maybe I should not say celebrated as much as I observed the passing of another year.  I realize that I have not posted as often as usual because this past year has been quite a roller coaster ride and will try to get back on track with regular blog entries over the next couple of weeks, especially now that I have an external keypad for my iPad.

However, I would like to remind all of my local readers that the Tampa SQL Saturday is coming up later this month, February 22nd to be exact.  I hope to see at least some of you there.  The tracks should cover most areas of SQL Server.  However, it should be no surprise that I will be involved in the Business Intelligence tracks again.  For more information, go to: http://www.sqlsaturday.com and check for the Tampa event in the upcoming events list on the home page.  Hope to see you there.

C’ya next time.

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