How to Lose a Customer in Two Minutes Flat

Not long ago a new liquor store opened up in my area.  It’s right off a main road that I drive all the time so the location is pretty convenient.  And since they sent out a promotional flier with a coupon on it, I figured it would be a good idea to stop in and check things out.

The store wasn’t huge but it had a decent selection and the prices were comparable to those at the store where I usually shop, so I figured I’d be making a lot of trips to this new store.

I grabbed a 12-pack of Guinness out of the fridge and made my way to the register.  I handed the cashier my coupon and when she scanned it the register made a funny beeping sound.

The cashier shrugged her shoulders and said, “It says price below cost, let me ask the manager to override.”

Now the manager was sitting about 10 feet behind her so I could hear every word of the conversation.  To make a long story short, the price with the coupon would drop the price below their cost level so the manager was refusing to honor the coupon.   Here’s out it played out.

Manager – “See if it will ring up for 5% off.”

Cashier – “Nope.  Same message about price below cost.”

Manager – “Sorry.  Nothing I can do.”

Me – “You’re the store manager right?  I’m sure you can do an override.”

Manager – “Look, I can’t sell it to you below cost. ”

Me – “But it’s YOUR coupon.  Why did you send it out if you had no intention of honoring it?”

Manager – “I’m trying to run a business here.”

Me – “I don’t have time for this.  Just ring it up at the regular price so I can go.”

Cashier – “I’m really sorry.  Here, keep your coupon for next time.”

Me – “Don’t worry, I won’t be back.”

As I made my way out of the store, beer in hand, I could see the miserable jerk of a manager seething.  But you know what…screw him.

Seriously, all I was trying to buy this time was a 12-pack of beer which cost $16.  So even if he gave me the 10% discount it would have cost him a measly $1.60.   He would have had a happy customer who would have come back often to spend more money and pad his profits.

Instead he pissed off a customer and lost a whole lot of business.  I’ll never set foot in that store again.

What do you think?  Am I crazy or should the manager have handled the situation better?

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Mike is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in finance and parenting topics. He is a dedicated husband and father of three who is obsessed with creating multiple streams of income and building wealth so he can achieve true financial freedom for his family. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our free RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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  1. says

    It seems silly that they would offer a coupon which they then won’t honour – especially considering the small value of the transaction. It would be more understandable if you were trying to get 10% off of a rare bottle of wine worth thousands, but 10% off of a 12 pack of beer surely wouldn’t break their bank.

  2. says

    Wow, talk about terrible service. I think they totally could’ve handled it better. I understand not wanting to eat the cost, but come on – what is a few bucks lost in comparison to possibly getting a new customer that’ll provide business? Thus, why a short term view can be bad to have many times in business – not to mention that it was their coupon…

  3. says

    First thought was that I wouldn’t have bought the beer – just walked out
    But on second thoughts, with a 12 pack of Guinness in my hands – I’d take the beer and just never come back

  4. Ray Clarke says

    So you have a promotion to attract customers, decide not to honour it, and because your customers do not return, therefore promotions do not work. In my business I see a customer as worth $1,000,000 from their business, government grants we attract and positive referrals. I’m not going to give someone a hard time over a few dollars.

  5. says

    Also, we’re only talking about $1.60 here – it’s not going to break the bank for them to honor their own coupon. This is probably even false advertising in your state. I would look it up if you have the time an energy. Sounds like a classic bait and switch which is illegal in many states.

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