I was having dinner on my way home at an Applebees, and got their fajitas. They gave me 5 tortillas, and tons of fillings. I got done with the tortillas, and needed maybe 2-3 more to complete my dinner. I flagged down a waitress, and asked if I could get a few more tortillas.

Yea, but that'll be $0.90.

You're kidding, right? I can buy a pack of 16 in the store for $0.80.

Not at all.

Well, fuck that. I'll eat this stuff plain then.

What is it with customer service these days? When people say that companies are pennywise and pound foolish, this is exactly what they mean. I felt upset about a meal I ate at Applebees. Now, I'm more likely to associate that with their name, and I'm more likely to mention it to my friends. I feel they think that I should have put more stuffing in my tortillas. That, or they don't give enough, and it was a common enough issue they thought they should charge extra for it. If so, why not give an appropriate amount to begin with? Is it really worth my business to try and gouge me for tortillas? I mean, they're not even very good tortillas! And I paid $10 for the damn meal, just for one plate, not to mention drinks, appetizers, and becky. I brought someone there to pay even more money. But you're gonna split hairs over a few tortillas? Get bent.

Someone needs to send the people running businesses these days back to business school. Don't they realize that customer loyalty is worth more than a buck in the till these days? I mean, they spend a dollar figure to attain every customer that walks in the door. If they're gonna gouge someone, it should be for an amount greater than the cost of customer acquisition, because they risk losing the investment if they anger the customer. Am I right here, or was everything I learned about business wrong?

PS: The waitress wasn't amused when I asked if it would cost extra to split the bill.

21 thoughts on “”

  1. I agree with you 110%. My first job I worked at a place that required us to charge for a cup of water–not for the water itself–but what the owner had determined the expense of the paper cups were. Businesses do more harm than good by being ridiculous like that.

    1. yea, I was half asleep and thought I corrected all references of shells to tortillas, but I guess I was wrong πŸ™‚

        1. Sometimes. But considering I have problems sometimes coming up with the right name for things (Ask becky about "Lunch Paper"), she usually cuts me a little slack about it. πŸ™‚

          I can make up for it by reciting the ingredients and cooking method, even though I can't remember the name for something (even if it's something I do all the time, like the clear stuff, made with two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen? shit… that one stuff… ("Water?") Yea! Water!).

  2. good business

    you may think it's crazy, but it _is_ good business sense..

    here's the logic:

    They make good margins on the extra tortillas.. and..

    the people who think paying 90 cents for more tortillas are either a) cheap or b) poor. As a business, these are people that you can stand to lose as customers.. especially when your business has some sort of space limitation.. like with restraunts.. So yeah.. it may be crazy, but don't delude yourself by thinking it's bad business and the managers need to go back to business school. Customer loyalty is important, but you don't want to retain the cheap/poor customers.. you want to retain the one with lots of money that are willing to spend.. it's really quite logical if you take a step back and think about it…

    1. Re: good business

      That's short term thinking though. Eventually even the wealthy people who don't care will be irritated by it. Many of the most wealthy people I know would be quietly annoyed by it, even though it's no big deal, and may consider going elsewhere.

        1. Re: good business

          More along the lines of the same people who made this tortilla decision to begin with. They know that if they go somewhere else every day, they have $365 to spend elsewhere. Given that their mexican food isn't great to begin with, it would tip the scales toward something like Don Pablo's.

          Sure, there's a middle group of rich people who don't care, but there's a very smart group of rich people who do, that didn't get that way by not paying attention to where their money is going.

          1. Re: good business

            You should be expecting that you are not gouged for such things. People get rubbed the wrong way about this sort of thing despite their ability or not to pay. Even wealthy people notice when someone's nickel and diming them to death.

          2. Re: good business

            calculate however much you paid for your meal..

            now figure out how much it would cost to get the groceries yourself..

            there is a big cost difference.. why would you expect there not to be a similar difference with an additional item?

            look back on this entry in like.. a few years..

            this is a dumb rant.. like complaining about how expensive gasoline is.. no kidding.. that's just the way it is..

            IMHO.. πŸ˜€

          3. Re: good business

            Look at how big of a deal even the most wealthiest people make about saving 3 cents a gallon on gasoline.

            Even if they fill their entire tank, they only saved $0.60.

            Even if it were a $0.05/gal savings and they had dual tanks, it's only $2 in savings.

            It doesn't stop people from driving across town because they hear the gas station at the other side is $0.05 cheaper.

            Even wealthy people notice when they're getting charged more.

          4. Re: good business

            haha.. you're missing the point..

            charging 90 cents for EXTRA tortillas (which actually cost like 8 cents) for a meal that costs umm.. $10? (for ingredients that actually cost like.. $2-$3?).. isn't going to break your business. If the people who get upset about the cost of EXTRA tortillas when they are already paying a similar mark-up (for eating in a restraunt, etc.. ) decide to boycott your restraunt.. there will be plenty of other people who will take thier place.. and will probably tip better and order more food.

            You can't go out to eat in a restraunt.. and expect to pay the same price you would in a grocery store.. And getting upset and ranting about it is .. um.. dumb.. for lack of a better word.. stop and think about it.. and then stop and think about it again.. the big picture.. not the small one..

            no offense or anything.. I'm just callin 'em like I see 'em.. and while reading this entry.. it grated me enough that I just had to post..

            you are entitled to get upset about whatever your little heart desires.. but.. you are wrong about it being bad business sense.

          5. Re: good business

            A short term profit is not good business sense. Business sense is more than just the economics. That's what people don't get these days – you can't just milk everyone for everything continuously and expect them to put up with it over the long term, especially when you have competition that doesn't milk. Sure, you made an extra $50k this year overcharging for something like tortillas, but every time a person who tips well gets rubbed the wrong way about the idea of being nickeled and dimed (and hey, it definitely happens all the time, people switch long distance companies, gas stations, grocery stores, and any other commidity all the time for fractions of a cent, regardless of how much it saves them in the long term, because they don't like being made a sucker. And chain food is a commodity, no matter how upscale it pretends to be).

            So while it's good for short term profits, it's bad for long term business. Regular, loyal customers are worth way more than someone who tips well, especially since they always recommend the restaraunt to their friends, and come back often. I had a small restaraunt near my old apartment where I asked for mountain dew. They said "we don't carry it, but I'll get some for you." I wasn't so sure on the restaraunt, but when the waiter returned from across the street with a cold 12 pack from the party store across the street, I was sold. They took a loss that day, but I ate there every friday , all year round, except for holidays, for 2 years after that. I brought every person that visited, and told everyone nearby I knew about that. They all started going, and everyone tipped 15% or so. I'm an awesome tipper, and I go to restaraunts looking to spend a ton of money. But I don't expect to be nickeled and dimed, and good customer service and straight dealings are worth more to me than pretty much anything else in a restaraunt experience.

  3. Paul Timmins, as I live and breathe!

    Got your comment… didn't quite believe it was you… πŸ˜‰ I'm in Florida with the Navy now, attached to the USS Maine (submarine)… Are you still Detroit side? (I seem to remember you doing tech-work when last we talked… Personal tech assistant to Isaiah Thomas, wasn't it?)

    Oy, the years fly by. Hope you're doing well, Paul… πŸ™‚


    1. Yea, I was with isiah until Nov of 2000, when he bankrupted his (admittedly nearly incomeless) companies and moved to Indiana to coach the Pacers. I got a job at a company called Supplysolution, which was bought out last year by a company called Tradebeam. I'm doing a lot of sysadmin/phone guy/datacenter management/technical stuff. Got in a bit of a mixup with the government last year over some things a few friends did, but that worked out mostly in the end. (I think I was probably voted most likely to get their door kicked in by a government agency in high school, but I think the general assumption was that I would get it for something I actually did πŸ˜‰ )

      Otherwise, I've spent lots of time in my spare time monkeying around with reverse engineering the ricochet network to bring it online where it was abandoned in place by the previous owners Glad to hear you are doing well. We should remain in touch on livejournal.

      1. Wow… I'm suddenly very glad I didn't cite you on my security clearance request form… πŸ˜‰

        I'll refrain from commenting on the "mixup" except to say that it looks like everything came out alright in the end. (But honestly, ADAM BOTBYL? What were you thinking…?!) Sorry, uncontrollable outburst… You understand.

        Wow… So you're keeping busy, that's good. Good luck with Ricochet–looks like a pretty good idea, and I have no doubt you've got the brains and wherewithal to get it off the ground. (I've given up trying to figure out exactly what this newfangled stuff is, much less how it works–rather feel like I'm turning into my grandfather, in that regard… Oh well.)

        And as you say–we'll be in touch on LiveJournal. (Except for those long periods when I'm not here… I'm told the Internet doesn't work too well on a submarine… πŸ˜‰

        'Til later, Paul.


        1. lol, You know Adam?

          Yea, Ricochet is a mesh wireless network built in the license free part 15 ISM bands. It has a maximum channel capacity of 10 megabits, though the customer modems can only use about 512k/sec in good conditions. (this means multiple customer modems can max out and still have upstream capacity).
          It was abandoned in place in approximately 24 cities around the US when the company went bankrupt and was bought out of bankrupcy by another company. The idea the companies that keep buying it have that it's good for internet access isn't a sustainable business model, because at that bandwidth, it is being stomped on by things like GPRS (which I admit, even though I am working on getting this working, I'd still use GPRS for internet, because it has better coverage). Its real power is in things like telemetry, remote terminal applications like MDTs and dispatch things, GPS tracking devices for anti-theift, fleet tracking, or even pallet tracking, corporate wan backup failover, point to point links to replace expensive frame relay circuits, funky things like decnet, swap out things like DDS and ISDN links.

          Internet aboard the sub. I've gotta figure out a way to do IP over VLF. Granted, semaphore would be faster (as would morse code, I think), but hey, it'd be interesting. There's always RFC-2549, IP over Avian Carrier with Quality of Service (Oh, I do so miss the april fools day jokes the RFC editor used to pull every year before he passed away.)

          1. I knew of Adam in high school, but nothing since (until now, of course…) But I remember his brother Jeremy rather better than I'd like… Oh well, I'll let that rest where I found it.

            I'll stew over the rest of your post, in the meantime, and I'll make sense out of it sooner or later… πŸ˜‰ (Never thought I'd get lost reading English…! Russian, sure, but… :P)

            Oh well. Many thanks, Paul…

            (And good luck… πŸ™‚

          2. Lol πŸ™‚ Adam was an only child. Maybe a cousin or something?

            Yea, adam could be abrasive, but he was a pretty decent person when he wasn't trying to impress people with his audacity.

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