Swiss Chalet, Coupons And Small Print

We did the Sunday thing today. We went to Swiss Chalet after Church.

We arrived and were seated promptly as we just made it before the rush and proceeded to figure out what we wanted to eat. (Yes I know they have chicken smartass). My wife pulled some coupons out of her purse, (if there is a coupon for something, she has it), and we made up our minds based on those. Chicken Quesadilla for Ashtynne and 3 festive meals for Kathy, Matthew and Me. We would use the ‘Get 2 Festive Meals Get $5 Off’ coupon and the ‘Free Perogies With Purchase Of 2 Festive Meals’ coupon.

Not so fast Flash. We hadn’t read the dreaded fine print.

Waitress: Sorry. One coupon per table per visit.
Us: Where does it say that?
Waitress: On the coupon.
Us: Where?
Waitress: At the bottom.

Ahhhh. There in print so small that it was hard to imagine a printer capable of completing such a feat was the offending line. ‘Not for use in combination with any other offer’. So after 5 minutes of explanation that another coupon was another offer we regrouped. My wife said, “Fine we’ll use this one and get one for Meaghan”. The coupon said, ‘Buy 3 Festive Meals Get One Free’.  This was perfect. “We’ll use this one then”, says I handing her the tiny piece of cardboard with the perforated edges. “I’m sorry but that one is only for take-out or delivery”, says she.

I was getting a little frustrated at this point, if I must be honest, and refrained from stating the obvious fact that she would have to ‘deliver’ it to our table. I guess I knew at some level that this was not going to be a winning argument and having been rebuffed again in our quest for discount food we surrendered and handed her the original coupon and timidly asked if we could still use this one.

Now I still contend that coupons are not offers per se but are, in truth, a discount. I fully understand that stores, restaurants and other vending establishments do not allow the use of a coupon with an item that is already reduced; this makes sense. However, there was nothing on the coupons we had that said they were not to be used with any other offer or only one was allowed per table per visit. This was either an oversight on the part of Swiss Chalet or the policy adopted at that particular establishment owing to the fact that they could not get more than one coupon to work on their computer system.

If you’ve ever used coupons you have had the, “This coupon is expired”, experience which, though not fatal, is painfully embarrassing and as a rule I do not use coupons unless they are presented to me by my wife with the words, “Don’t forget to use this”. But is it too much to ask that the proper use of the coupon be clearly defined on the document and in print that can be seen without using some form of magnification or having to ask the young person in the booth behind if they can tell you what the hell it says?

I can take or leave coupons. If I had to make a pronouncement one way or the other I think I would, in our age of the Internet and methods of electronic communication, prefer to let the forests of the world be than have coupons, but I remember my wife’s coupon hey-day. She would clip coupons for our Saturday shopping with the same satisfaction as drinking her morning coffee or watching her daily soap. It was like, with every coupon she won a prize.

Who am I to deny her the small joys in life? I am going to need a pair of bifocals though.

I used to wonder why my mom would lift her glasses to read. Now I know.

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