Apple Tree Quilts in Flushing, Michigan has the right idea. It’s a blast to go in there because they have great stuff and great staff. How many other folks would pose for a photograph knowing it would wind up in one of my lectures? (Email them at ATQuilts@sbcglobal.net)
They also have punch cards. I lose about one punch card for every one they start for me, which is probably par for the course when it comes to punch cards. That might even be why merchants offer them; what do I know. But, if and when the lost punch cards show up, they’ll combine them for me.
The punch card for Apple Tree Quilts is themed. I like that too. It’s an apple tree and it’s called an Apple Pickin’ Card. I got another one today. I put it in my wallet this time. Or my coat pocket. Wait, it might be in the bag…
We’ve been going to the same Chinese buffet for about 12 years, way more times a week than I’d like to admit. They have punch cards too but I’m not as impressed. Not nearly.
Every time Steve and eat there we each get one punch. One for each meal. But they insist on punching TWO separate punch cards. We come in together, we sit at the same table, we go to the buffet tables together, our meals are on the same bill, and yet we each get the equivalent of a punch, but on TWO cards. This makes me crazy!
They won’t put both punches on the SAME card. Everybody else does that. And they won’t combine the cards. Argh! We can’t keep track of the dumb punch cards any better than the ones for Apple Tree Quilts and so we keep getting new punch cards, and losing those. Over a decade of dining and we’ve gotten maybe three free meals!
I have explained that we are good customers. We don’t hog the crab legs. We don’t eat for three hours solid to “get our money’s worth.” We are polite to the staff and other diners. We respect the sneeze shield, unlike some patrons who reach under there like they plan on crawling in with the Pepper Shrimp. We tip. We keep coming back. We feel like idiots.
Administering a “loyalty program” that makes your customers angry and/or feeling stupid is a fairly bad marketing plan. We should just eat elsewhere. But it’s so convenient. And, if given enough time I’m sure I could make them see the light.
I have a plan. The next time we go there I’m going to make Steve go in first and get seated. Then I’ll come in and pretend I don’t know him. I’ll snag the table right next to his. Instead of talking face to face, we’ll pass notes back and forth. We’ll linger over the fried rice and exchange news of the day, as if we just happened to bump into each other. When it’s time for the bills, we’ll get two! First he’ll pay and (get punched) and stuff the punch card behind the little Budda statue on the counter. Then I’ll come up to pay, just another diner, totally unrelated to the cute guy that just left. I’ll create a small diversion, perhaps by “accindentally” knocking over the pencil holder filled with rice. While the owner is cleaning that up, I’ll retrieve Steve’s punch card and present it for my dinner! HA! I will not be denied.
I just KNOW it will work. Look at what my fortune says:
I’m going to do that the very next time we eat there. Make that the very next time we eat there after that! Look what I just found!
Now, can someone translate the “punches?”