Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How much is too much?

I am one of "those" people. I like Groupons and the like - what Winnipegger isn't out for a good deal? It does get me to try new places (helllllo Modern Taco! Yummy!) and saves me some dough at the same time. But how much promotion is too much?

One of my favourite restaurants here in the city (which shall remain nameless) first got me in the door years ago because of the amazing things I heard about their food. In fact I dare say, it became my favourite restaurant. Sadly though, it was out of my budget save but special splurges. Then a great thing happened! They had a promotion - one of those "sell us your soul (ok, provide email address) and we will send you special invites and deals sorts of things. Great! Now I can perhaps afford to go there a little more often I thought.

The problem has become that now, after years of "free" appetizer emails, countless BOGHO (seriously, HALF off, c'mon now) and signing up for their THIRD v.i.p. program (what ever happened to my "points" from the first two anyway? Why can't they ever find me in the computer?) it no longer seems all that special. Add to that that I swear their prices have crept up more than inflation to help cover all these "free" things.

I just got yet another email today encouraging me to buy their extra special v.i.p card for $49 - it would allow me all sorts of bonuses up to $1400 value it proclaimed! The problem is, to me, they have already devalued their product long ago and the idea of paying full price there seems about as ridiculous as buying a full price mattress at The Brick or Leon's - just wait a minute and they will be on "sale". Of course almost all of these deals come with some sort of fine print that at least in part limits how you can use them. This same restaurant also did various Groupon-y type things offering two appetizers for $15 - up to $32 value! (or something like that) of course, if you didn't pick the most expensive one and get two of them the value was much less; this isn't wrong of course, this sort of promotion happens a lot, it's just a little misleading.

With all these constant basically fake promotions I am now actually incredibly hesitant to even make plans to go there - they seem to me like an establishment on the verge of closing down and doing whatever they can to get people in the door, or in the case of buying this $49 card - trying to raise some $$.  I think perhaps what adds to my disappointment is that the promotional emails are often poorly formatted/designed and that I get cheezy "in case you missed out on the first email we sent" follow up emails. It's just turned into noise.

Am I wrong here? Is there no such thing as too much promotion? Are they really rewarding loyalty or just begging for people to come in?

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