tintedviolet (tintedviolet) wrote in bad_service,

Gotta Have It? Too bad!

Our local Cold Stone has been open for about five years. My family and I, being ice cream fans, have been frequent customers. Such frequent customers, in fact, that we got to know the owner, Tim, very well and, when my husband and I got married last October, he made us a three tier ice cream wedding cake!

Sadly, Tim had to sell the store, and it's been slowly going downhill since. Portion size decreased. Employees were sometimes surly. Ice cream quality varied. But tonight was the last straw.

The store started offering punch cards to the customers. After nine punches, you get a free ice cream. We filled in seven punches, then went on vacation, where we stopped by a Cold Stone in Southern CA and got the last two punches. Hubby and I went in to our usual Cold Stone tonight to redeem the card for me and purchase another ice cream for him.

First of all, when I requested peanut butter cups mixed in, the girl helping us only put one in my ice cream. When I asked about it, because the store down south gave me three, she said, "Peanut butter cups are more expensive than our other ingredients, so we only put in one." That annoyed me, but it wasn't the main issue.

When I gave her the punch card, she looked at it, cocked her head and said, "Huh."

Me: The last two were from another store.
Her: Oh... I don't know if I can take this.

She asked another employee, who told her she needed to ask the owner, who was in the back. Moments later, the girl returned with our punch card.

Her: No, we can't accept these, but the good news is that he said I can punch over them, so your next one will be free!!!
Me: Um...
Her: You know, the purpose of a customer loyalty card is to have you, you know, come here.
Me: The other seven were from here.
Her: Yeah. *punches over the two punches* $9.04, please!

My husband saw where this was going, so he stepped in and paid, and I just walked out. I get that neither this employee nor the owner likely know our history with the store, but still, to have my "loyalty" question was ridiculous! And anyway, I honestly feel like it was poor customer service, whether I'd been a customer since the beginning or if those seven punches were my first seven visits. Making (or keeping) a loyal customer goes beyond giving them a free tenth ice cream. And, in my case, losing a loyal customer amounted to about $4.50.
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