Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baskin Robbers

I'm abysmally behind on all things blogging and we have so many fun things to post. It pains me that I'm seriously venting about this instead of sharing fun pictures. [Vent On]

Thing 2 has been curious about Pistachio Ice Cream ever since hearing about it on an episode of his favorite cartoon du jour "Sushi Pack." So, with Mark's Free Birthday Ice Cream Cone Coupon in hand, we head over to our local Baskin-Robbins (slash) Dunkin-Donuts.

We look over the wide variety of flavors. This is Baskin Robbins after all. Home of the 31 (really more than 1,000) flavors! We called ahead of time to see if they had pistachio ice cream and they did, so we happily point out the flavor to Thing 2 as we look through the fingerprint-smudged glass. He excitedly smiles and we ask for a sample. Thing 2 tries it. Curiosity satisfied. He chooses another flavor for his ice cream cone.

I'm undecided between 2 flavors--Jamoca Oreo (feature flavor of the month) and World Class Chocolate (a tempting blend of milk and white chocolate ice creams). I don't even like white chocolate but I have to admit, that flavor looks good. I ask for a sample of the featured Oreo flavor and, after much pointing and enunciating (the clerk is from India and was apparently having difficulty understanding us), the clerk sighs and grabs a tiny pink plastic spoon and gets me a sample. Mmmmm, it's good. But I'm not entirely convinced. That World Class Chocolate flavor looks so delicious tonight. Maybe I'll try that one and then choose between the two.

Meanwhile, Thing 1 looks over the many new-to-her flavors trying to decide which one to choose. I'm reminded of my own childhood visits to the ice cream shop of 31+ flavors and the minuscule, pink, plastic sample spoons. Thing 1 isn't particularly loud and the clerk doesn't hear her (or even see her) over the high counter covered with cones and toppings, so Mark repeats her request to the clerk. He quickly puts the kibosh on our request.

"No, no. Twooosamples. No More."

We stare at him, confused, Thing 1 slightly panicked.

"Onleee two samples. No more."

I explained that our son had one sample and I had one sample and that--oh it pains me to state the obvious--we are a party of 4. I held up my fingers (4 of them) to be clear.

"Onleee two samples. No more. Or peeeeple come in and try sample, sample, sample. Sori. Only two."

I looked around at our family. We didn't look like a bunch of pranksters. And we were the only people in the store. I stared and blinked at nothing in particular. He was seriously thinking that we, a nice family of four, were going to bilk him of his ice cream inventory by asking for tiny, little samples of frozen goodness. What did he think we were going to do? Ask for 2 samples each and leave? "Mmmmm, yeah, I'm full from those tiny pink spoonfuls! No more for me, thanks. I'm good!"

Two samples per group? That's absurd. There are 4 of us. If we'd come in as 2 groups of 2, we'd each get a sample, but nooooooooo, we're stuck now!

I, a normally friendly person, don't even attempt to hide my annoyance over this policy, mumbling only slightly under my breath, "That's the stupidest policy I've ever heard. Like we're going to bleed them dry with those teency, tiny samples." The Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of the register and also run by the same people gives away free munchkins but ice cream samples? Nooooo. Too risky a business practice apparently.

Mark and Thing 1 order their cones. I continue to be and look confused and annoyed at their stupid policy.

I keep looking at the flavors, now especially perturbed about my decision between the Feature Oreo Flavor and the World Class Chocolate. Now how could I decide? I knew what one tasted like. I'd have to guess on the other and hope I'd like my choice. I begrudgingly choose the one I hadn't yet sampled, since, you know, I hadn't tasted it yet.

Mark orders it for me since 1. I'm annoyed with the clerk and 2. I can't see over the counter either.

So we hand him the coupon Mark printed from his email and the guy raises his eyebrow like he just handed him a counterfeit bill. He tells us, "No Gooood. It's a Xerox."

Mark explains to him that we got it via email as part of the birthday club program and that we printed it.

The clerk shakes his finger. "No gooood. It's a copee. It's a copee." He holds up the coupon and points to it.

Mark explains again that it's printed and I, insulted at having our integrity questioned, start in on the clerk. "We printed it up. We wouldn't lie!"

It then occurs to me that the clerk figures it's a copy because it's in black and white. As I make this realization, Mark is on his 3rd or 4th explanation of how we've printed the coupon from an email. I interject, "It's black and white because we don't have color ink."

Yes, it was a black and white printout from an email, but it was legit. No amount of explaining was going to convince this guy. Like $1.11 is so much money that we went to the effort of faking a coupon. But this guy kept insisting we had a "bad coupon."

At one point he calls over his coworker like Mark's going to jump over the counter and forcibly take the scoop of World Class Chocolate. I can tell you one thing. If Mark did jump over, he'd get some jimmies, too!

So the two workers hold a conference, avoiding using any English so we can't pounce on them. Eventually Miss Congeniality uses her head to point at us and says what I can only assume was, "Just let them use the coupon. That guy weighs more than you and me put together."

So we get the cone and get to use the coupon. To be accused of forgery and lying and deceit is despicable; to be accused of forgery and lying and deceit over a $1.11 ice cream cone is insulting.

I try my ice cream. It's good, but my sample was better. If I'd been allowed another sample, I would've chosen the first flavor.

On the way home, while still discussing the incident, we figured out that if you were going to forge a coupon with a "Xerox," make a color copy, because apparently *that* would fool them.

Later this evening, I went on the Baskin Robbins website and filled out a customer feedback form. My favorite questions were:

1. Thinking of this visit, how satisfied were you with your overall experience at this location?

4. Overall, how satisfied were you with the level of service received from the crew?

and my very favorite:

7. Did the crew member help to influence your menu selection?

I ticked the "Extremely Dissatisfied" box but was disappointed that there wasn't a comment area specifically for that question so that I could write, "Yes. His refusal to give me another sample influenced my decision to get a lesser flavor."

8. How likely is your decision influenced by a suggestive sell?

"Um, I wouldn't know. He wouldn't suggest because we'd hit our limit on the tiny pink spoons."

Don't even get me started on this one: 11. Based on your most recent visit, how likely are you to return to this location?

Yeah right we're going to return. No way. Not us. They lost our business, bucko. Morons.

I got to the comment box, told them exactly what I thought of our experience, triumphantly submitted the form, and up pops a freakin' coupon for a dollar off our next visit!

Yeah right. Like we're going to use it. Like hell we're going to use it!

We'll probably use it. Mark will probably print it in black and white again . . . just to see what happens.

[Vent Off]


emily said...

I'm sorry, but there is NO lesser flavor than world class chocolate. There is nothing better in the world--ESPECIALLY coffee flavor. yuck. :)

terahreu said...

Sounds like everything I experience here. But, America should definitely do better.

Good writing. I felt your frustration completely! Glad to see your back.

Kurt and Stacy Oaks said...

Great story, not what happened to you of course, but you are such a great writer! I can't believe how your family was treated. Maybe you should open up another Baskin Robins store and steal away all of the customers!

Dad said...

You go girl.

Dad Foley

J Fo said...

Grrr....I don't know about you, but that vent felt good just reading it! I think that Baskin Robbins in overrated anyway! What you need is a Cold Stone!. yum....

bythelbs said...

I can't be sorry for your bad experience because it resulted in a very entertaining blog post.

They give you like an eighth of a teaspoon in those samples--they probably waste more in the ice cream drippings left on the scoop, for crying out loud!

I think you should make multiple color copies of your coupon and go back every day for a month. And ask for two samples every time you do. That'll learn 'em!

D'Arcy said...


That's quite the story.

But I do want ice cream now.

Chelle said...

Okay Stacy, that is totally comical. Before I even read your response to his two-sample policy I had a visual image of your expression--paralyzing surprise, chin dropped, eyes open wide.

It made me think of Leah's birthday party this year. We decided to get Little Ceasar's pizza. I looked them up in the phone book so I could call ahead and let them know we'd be swinging by to purchase several Hot-'n-Ready's, but the ad in the phone book said "No Limit. No need to call ahead." So I took them at their word. Jared entered the store to purchase our Hot-'n-Ready, no-limit pizzas.

Jared: Can I have two cheese and four pepperoni hot-'n-ready pizzas?

Guy (rather sharply): I'd rather you didn't SIR!

Jared: Laughed. Ha ha ha (I can't believe he's serious!).

Guy: If you take that many, then I won't have any pizzas for any other customers!

Jared: Silence (pulled out his wallet).

Guy: Angry silence (nodding head in frustration as Jared leaves).

Perhaps I shouldn't have taken the ad at its word. Maybe I should have been a bit more sensitive to their situation. But their customer service stunk.

I thought about boycotting the place, but then I figured I'd just be giving the guy what he wanted...more pizzas for people other than me.

In your situation you weren't even being insensitive. The guy was just being a dork. Let me know if you go back. If you do, you might want to enter separately and act like you don't know each other until AFTER you've ordered. Or you might at least want to let "guy" know that you're going to be requesting lots of samples so he can do his arm warm-ups or whatever he needs to do to gear up. We don't even have a Baskin Robbins here. I'd sure like a Peanut Butter 'n Chocolate.

Boquinha said...

First off, THANK YOU for the comments--you guys are so good to comment especially in light of how much I'm slacking on commenting on your blogs! I'm ridiculously behind on stuff and this is a busy time of year for our homeschool group so I'm in the middle of A LOT of coordinating efforts and stuff.

And thank you so much for the nice compliments on the writing! I've noticed that when I feel fired up about something (taxes, stupid Baskin Robbins owners), I tend to write like this. :P So, thanks!

Jess, funny you mention that. We don't have Cold Stone here (that I know of), but we do have a quaint, old-fashioned ice cream store downtown (down the street on Main Street) in the historic part of town and we LOVE it!! The owner knows us by name and gives us extra treats. It costs a bit more but obviously it's worth it.

Bythelbs, I *love* your idea.

D'Arcy, or a cupcake? ;)

Rachelle, that's insane! I don't think Jared asked for an unreasonable number of pizzas. What did you guys do instead? And hello? Jared IS a customer so the guy's comment makes no sense! ARGH. What is wrong with people?!

(And chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite flavor there. But go figure, they were out of it that night.)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

OH MY GOSH!!! I am laughing so HARD at this post I am about to wet my pants....

I think what you experienced is, at least in part, a cultural thing because I have run into this same mentality too. But still that "no freebie" mentality flies in the face of what we Americans consider GOOD customer service.

You know, really, you should print up this particular post and send a copy to the regional manager for Basking Robbins, and then his/her manager as well.

I feel QUITE confident you'd get a response, and some "full color" coupons to use. :-)

Thanks for the laughs! (and Happy Belated BD to your hubby!) :-)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I have put a link to this posting on my blog.... it's simply TOO funny not to share! (Hope you don't mind!) :-)

(I even printed it out and showed my husband.... he thought it was hysterical!) :-)

Suzanne said...

Oh my gosh....stuff like this just makes me shake my head and wonder what the heck they are thinking....
So rude.
But funny to read. ;)

Boquinha said...

Thanks so much, HWHL!! I'm so flattered!! And thanks, too, Suzanne! :) Are you the one who used to work at BR?

Swawaeve said...

That's a hilarious and crazy story. I deffinitly think the people who work there are weird also. :P