Chubby Cherub, Hungry Customer

If there’s one thing I can’t stick, it’s bad customer service. Case in point: I recently bought one of those Groupon vouchers for a takeaway pizza at the ‘Chubby Cherub’ pizzeria in the city centre.

However, after having battled through the snow yesterday to get down there to swap my voucher for a pizza, they informed me that they weren’t taking them in December.

If it had have been clear at the outset that this was going to be the case, that would have been fair enough- after all, Christmas is usually a busy period for restaurants. But there was nothing on the Groupon site and nothing on the voucher stating such a limit to its redemption. The hilarious thing was that the place was empty save for a couple of people at a table, so it would have actually given the kitchen staff something to do!

Now I know it’s not the staff’s fault- such diktats ultimately come down from on-high. But if a restaurant is going to use a site like Groupon to build up its custom, it’s clearly bizarre to turn people away who have already paid for a pizza and simply want to pick it up. What are they thinking?

There are lots of people coming into Belfast for Christmas to do shopping and the like. Is this type of myopic pedantry really part of the image the city wants to portray? Perhaps we ought to name and shame other establishments around town which aren’t up-to-scratch when it comes to looking after customers…

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  • Comrade Stalin

    What the hell’s going on here, is Slugger turning into Watchdog ?

  • You could try Anne Robinson with your Groupon woes, but I think she has bigger fish to fry.

  • granni trixie

    As a Groupon fan Gary, thanks for the tip off.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I hadn’t been made aware that Slugger was serializing the diary of Karl Pilkington over the Christms period but now we know.

    More soon, we hope.

  • alan56

    In the absence of any other site to create a ‘consumer watch’ thread this is probably great use of Slugger!!

  • andnowwhat

    We need to regroup the Northern Bank robery team nto rectify this injustice.

    It could be like a NI version of Oceans 11/12.

    Belfast Lough 13 perhaps?

  • joeCanuck

    alan56,

    In the absence of any other site….
    You could use Wikileaks.

  • andnowwhat

    Fattening food and a default on a voucher offer?

    It has the Nolan Show stamped all over it.

  • chewnicked

    You think that’s bad? I went into the Post Office in Bedford St today and asked for a stamp and the guy came from behind the counter and stood on my foot. Can I have a thread too, please?

  • andnowwhat

    I slept with a whore last night but afterwards she told me that she was a lesbian.

    She cost a fortune and I feel robbed.

  • Rory Carr

    Well done, Gary.This is as subtle an homage to Charles Pooter as ever to grace the world of blogging.

    I do hope it was a concious effort.

  • circles

    Down with this kind of thing.

  • Sure tonight’s two-for-one in Domino’s. Hopefully that’ll ease the pain.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Gary, you might want to check up on your law regarding the unfair or deceptive act or practice in trade. A not dissimilar practice is to advertise a sale price for a product to induce the customer to purchase the same, without having enough of the product on hand to meet the demand. The hope is that you’ll buy something else, of higher price, since you’re now there in the store. So what they might gain here is an extra pizza bought by everyone who comes down to their establishment in December, i.e., once you go through all the trouble in going to their establishment, you’ll probably by a pizza anyway. Then you’ll come back in January and use your groupon. Works better with parents and kids, since once the kids are amped for pizza, they can put pressure on mom and/or dad to buy a pizza anyway. The following site fails to list the “no December” as well [note the section on Fine Print, next to Highlights]:

    http://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/belfast/cherubpizza/153359

    If you have the right law, well, your damages may be minimal, but if you have the same law that we do, if you win, you get 3x your damages plus a reasonable attorney’s fee as well. After paying two thousand dollars or so for your attorney’s services, they’ll think twice about having any similar offer with unstated condition(s). Heck, if everyone who went down in December thinking groupon = pizza filed the appropriate lawsuit, it might well put them out of business. 155×2,000 dollars = $310,000 and this type of thing will likely not be covered by any insurance, seeing as how it would constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in trade that is most likely excluded from coverage. The 155 comes from the page noting the close of the groupon sales, with the total sales at 155.

    By the way, you might have recently enacted such a law:

    http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/media-centre/news-departments/news-deti/news-deti-may-2008/news-deti-270508-consumer-protection-gets.htm

  • leftofcentre

    Well unfortunately the attitude of the rest of the commentators is all too familiar in NI. Why bother trying to do things well, let’s settle for mediocre.

    Sure it’s only a pizza, but it’s a symptom of an all too common attitude in NI. Why bother trying to grit our roads and pavements? Why bother trying to sort out our health service and education system? Why bother doing anything?

    Sure isn’t it better to hang round websites and whinge instead of doing anything constructive?

    Dozens of restaurants and other businesses are going bust every month, and the main reason is lack of customer care. People in NI don’t complain, they just do not come back. If I owned a restaurant I would want to hear constructive feedback instead of silence and empty tables.

    My own bugbear is restaurants that do those meal and bottle of wine deals. I don’t drink wine; can I get a pint instead? Maybe a dessert? Sorry no, wine only.

    There is a big difference between general whinging which we are addicted too in NI and constructive criticism we can be useful even crucial to helping organisations do better.

  • Slappy, interestingly they offered to sell me a pizza for cash after informing me that they wouldn’t redeem the voucher…

  • JeanMeslier

    Circles
    “..Down with this kind of thing…”
    Ha ha
    You forgot the next bit – “Careful now”

    So Karl Pilkington is Gary Mckeown.

    Try the lunchtime specials in Friar Tucks the next time you’re in W’point

  • Cynic2

    Look on the positive side of this;

    1

  • Cynic2

    Look on the positive side of this;

    1 you learned not to trust what businesses tell you

    2 a large pizza may be 900 calories so you have lost weight and possibly taken that first tiny step to avoiding a heart attack from the cheese content – just think of your arteries as the crust in ‘stuffed crust’

    I suggest you discuss these points with your carer