Saturday, February 28, 2009

Restaurant.com

Do you ever wonder how some of these places can afford to offer such great deals?  With the groceries, it's a loss leader principle.  The store offers a couple of products at a loss to get people in the store, and once they're in, they'll buy other stuff too.  People who do the couponing mess with them on that because we're only buying their loss leaders, and lots of it!

But I recently got a good deal on some gift certificates at restaurant.com.  They always have their gift certificates at half price.  $10 for a $25 certificate.  This past week there was a coupon code to take them down by 80%.  So each certificate was $2.  And of course, if you go through Mr. Rebates, you'll get 12% cash back on the purchase, so all in all, a $25 gift certificate ends up being $1.76.  

So how do they do it?  I found out the hard way today.  Which is usually how I learn things.  First off, they aren't straight up gift certificates.  More like super coupons.  They have rules.  The one I used today was a $25 certificate at Champs.  I paid $2 for it, and I'll get my 24 cents in my Mr. Rebates account too.  The caveat is that you have to spend at least $35 to use it.  Ok, still, $35 worth of a meal for $10.  Still a great deal.  

Problem is, the frame of mind.  I got a meal a little less than $15, hubby got a meal a little less than $15.  We got a kid's meal for Dawson.  I never imagined my little guy could pack away the food like he did.  OMG.  9 months old, he had 3/4 of a grilled cheese sandwich, probably several tablespoons of broccoli (yay! he likes broccoli!) and we had a complaint issue so we ended up getting our desserts for free too, and that kid packed away bite after bite of ice cream.  Plus three crackers while we were waiting at the beginning.

But anyway.  AFTER the coupon, our bill was $60 friggin' dollars.  WTF?!!!  Drinks.  Yep.  That's the way restaurants do it all the time anyway, plus, we were adding on soup and salads to our meals to make sure we hit that $35 mark, and ended up WAAAAAAY higher than we expected or wanted to be.  But we learned our lesson.  And come on, I just had to try the cute little blue martini that was rimmed with pop rocks.  And let me just say, the drink itself, no different than any other cute little blue martini.  But the pop rocks really did give it a whole lot of pizzazz.  I only had one (come to find out it was $7, eek) but I am definitely marking down the "pop rocks as a drink rimmer" idea on my party idea list.  I think I'll do a separate post so I don't forget about it.

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