Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: Free Isn't Always Better
By Betty Castleberry
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I don’t mean to seem ungrateful and complain about a free offer, but my recent experiences with your company have left me no choice.
Intrigued by your internet ad, I printed out a coupon for a free cup of coffee at any of your Grounds and Sounds franchises. “Wilma”, I told myself. “You’re a frugal coffee lover. You’ve hit the jackpot.”
Coupon in hand, I visited my local Grounds and Sounds. The music is not my style, but because the coffee is so good, I decided to suffer through the pounding bass.
The rich aroma of quality coffee lured me to the counter where a kid young enough to be my grandson stood. I’ve got nothing against kids, but this young man was more interested in the cute little server in the mini skirt than he was in helping customers. His name tag identified him as Barry. While he flirted, I drummed my fingers on the counter. Finally, I half-shouted, “Excuse me, Barry. You have a customer.” He managed to tear himself away from Miss Legs long enough to acknowledge me.
That’s when the fun began. He glanced at my coupon. “This is for light roast. We’re out. We only have dark roast left.”
I stared. “This is a coffee house. What do you mean you’re out?”
“Sorry. The truck won’t be in until tomorrow morning.” Naturally, my coupon expired that day.
Biting my tongue, I remembered I was a Christian. “All right, thank you.” I left.
Not long after, while browsing the internet, I found another coupon for a free cup of coffee at Grounds and Sounds. Not one to hold a grudge, I printed it.
My second visit to the coffee shop was trying, to say the least. Barry was behind the
counter again. I approached him with a smile. “I have a coupon for light roast.”
He looked smug. “You can only redeem dark roast coupons today. Sorry.”
I mustered up my courage. “Can’t you substitute the dark roast for light?”
“It’s against company policy.”
“Fine.” I threw my hands up, leaving my about-to-expire coupon with Barry.
The next day while I was web surfing, a pop-up offered me another coupon for a free cup of coffee. I tried to ignore it, but it kept taunting me until I gave in. I hit ‘print.’ Nothing happened. Hitting ‘print’ again, another box popped up telling me I had already printed my number of allowable coupons for the day. Excuse me? I hadn’t printed any. I tried to click the box off my screen, but it wouldn’t go away. Instead, a dialogue box appeared stating, “Wait! You haven’t printed your coupon yet.” That box decided to hang around, too.
I could do nothing but laugh and reboot my computer. When I accessed the internet again, there was that coupon offer. There’s only so much ignoring a coffee fiend like me could do with the temptation of free coffee staring me in the face. The printed coupon’s colors looked peculiar and washed out. My color cartridge was running out of ink.
Being a brave soul, I took the coupon to Grounds and Sounds. I asked Barry, “Is it dark roast coupon day?”
He smiled. “Yes, Ma’am.”
I did a little victory dance and gave him my dark roast coupon. He studied it for a minute. “Is this legit, because it looks funny. We don’t take copies of coupons.”
“Yes, it’s legit. I need a new print cartridge.” I clenched my teeth waiting for his response.
Shaking his head, he handed the coupon back. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to get in trouble. I can’t accept this.”
My calmness surprised even me. “I appreciate your help.” My faded coupon and I left.
After I returned home, I sat down at my keyboard to compose this letter. From now on, I will purchase my coffee - from the grocery store. I’ll get my choice of light or dark roast, decaf or regular, any day of the week, and any time of day I choose, no coupon necessary.
Wilma Jones, former Grounds and Sounds customer.
p.s. Enclosed is a statement for reimbursement of the following:
1. Gasoline used to drive to Grounds and Sounds on three separate occasions.
2. A cup of Grounds and Sounds coffee, my choice of light or dark roast.
3. A color ink cartridge for my printer. This one’s debatable, but I think you owe me on principle.
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