Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Free Gift, But so Reluctant to Give

20071012596.jpgTwo nights ago, I visited Yoshinoya at Great World City. As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations promotion, I was given two of those peel-n-win lucky draw stickers with the meals I purchased. I sat down at my table, peeled the sticker and found myself the lucky winner of a… free cold tofu dish. Okay, I don’t know what the top prizes are, but nevermind, I like cold tofu, and why not have it now.

The girl at the counter asked for my receipt. I didn’t expect to need a receipt, so I asked why, and if it was so important to have the receipt, I’d go back to my table to get it. Oh, did I just get the lucky draw ticket? She said I could only claim it in the next visit. Hmm, ok, maybe I missed the fine print. So not wanting to argue, I went back to my meal. As I was munching away, I noted there was no fine print on the sticker, nor were there any stated on promotional posters in the outlet.

The cold tofu is no big deal eh, but hey, I wasn’t satisfied with the nonsense about the redemption. So after I was done eating, I went back to the counter to ask, why can’t I redeem my cold tofu now? Well the girl repeated that it must be my next visit. Fine, so I looked at her, and said this is my next visit. Com’on, afterall how do you define the next visit eh. She was silenced for a few moments, then said, the next visit means I have to buy something. What thing, any minimum price? Again a few moments of silence, then she said “anything”. I was annoyed. I asked her where are these “rules” stated? Were these written down somewhere, anywhere, or is she just making them up? She asked if I would like to speak to her manager? Of course I would.

Pity, apparently the manager was too shy to talk to me. She returned to inform that the manager said it was ok to give me my cold tofu now. I had really wanted to talk some sense with the manager. So I waited for the cold tofu. And waited. And waited so long, the girl served maybe 3 other customers. I just stood one side to not obstruct their queue. Meanwhile, I observed in the kitchen behind that no one seemed to be preparing my tofu. Finally the girl noted I was still hanging around and asked if I would take a seat first.

Now I had become both annoyed and angry. I told her no, and asked what is the problem with the tofu. It is cold eh, it doesn’t need cooking. It is all pre-prepared. She went back into the kitchen, and magically, returned in 10 seconds with the cold tofu dish. After perhaps 10 minutes of waiting and 5 minutes of argument.

Like I mentioned earlier, the cold tofu is no big deal. What annoyed me was the principle of offering the free gift, and their reluctance to actually make good on the offer. I’m a little puzzled, since the girl was just an employee, it didn’t matter to her how many cold tofus were given away. I mean, afterall it is not like it affects her financially.

You know, there are many other marketing gimmicks out there with many hidden agenda. Oh you won a top prize (how many times have I won that from the same survey company while walking down Orchard Road), but you have to listen to a silly presentation. Wow you’ve won a free make-over studio shot, but the waiting line is 3 hr long and you’ve got to listen to 1 hr of hard sell. But to get this from a (I wanted to say reputable, but am having second thoughts) company like Yoshinoya?

1 thought on “Free Gift, But so Reluctant to Give

  1. I forwarded my rant to Wing Tai Asia, the operator for Yoshinoya here in Singapore. A nice lady replied early this morning to offer their apologies and explain the lucky draw mechanics. Yes… you can redeem it in the same visit or next visit, it doesn’t matter, and no purchase required. It makes sense.

    I’m quite happy to hear from them. This is a fine example of how companies can “win back” a complaining customer. Of course it is not a bare “sorry”… that wouldn’t do, but to explain what happened and how they are going to correct/improve/etc. Giving due attention to their feedback is most important. How many other companies out there just simply turn a deaf ear to their customers?

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