Sometimes sticking to your guns sucks!

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Proud Texan's picture
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Without getting into a discussion of Gift Certificate expiration dates,  I will state that our Gift Certificate has an expiration of 6 months.   We have our reasons.  Please no lectures.

This only means that the recipient has to make a reservation within the 6 month period.  It can be for two years out,  if that's what they want,  but they have to make a reservation.   For certain charity donations,  we will extend the expiration date for 12 months.

I got a call today from a young lady who had purchased a Gift Certificate for her sister's birthday in June of 2011.   The expiration was in November.   O.K.,  she is calling 14 months after the purchase of the Gift Certificate.

The story was that during the year her sister lost a baby.  That is very sad and very tragic.   The point is,  the sister received the gift certificate in June.  The purchaser could have called me if the tragedy happened within the 6 month period (I can't  be for sure it did) and I probably would have been compassionate and extended the deadline. But, seriously,  14 months after the fact?  That's a stretch.

Last year we lost my mother-in-law to Altzheimer's and I lost two beloved aunts within the space of two months.   My sister and my sister-in-law are both battling breast cancer. My step-mother is in the hospital, probably on her deathbed.   Tragedy befalls us all.   But, you know what?  I still have to pay my bills on time and meet my financial obligations AND MEET DEADLINES.  The banks don't give a flip about personal tragedy.  It's not that they're cold-hearted.  It's just business.

I feel like a first class heel,  but if you bend your policies enough,  they'll break.

 

Arks's picture
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Just ran across a note I jotted down a couple of years ago. I can't remember which of you said it, but it's good info if you want to have a no-expiration gift certificate that doesn't mention a dollar amount:

 

"To avoid the problem of no expiration we note that our gift certificates are "protected against any rate increase for the period of one year" This way, if something shows up ten years down the road, we can charge the difference."

Also, be sure to put "no cash value" on the certificate so they can't call later and ask to just get the cash.

 

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Joey Camb's picture
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its like people who throw a fit when they want to cancel and you charge and they are horrified. A neighbour of mine got (and this  is a ruddy cheek) the husband did a review and the wife did one of the same incident. They had come for a show which was then cancelled - her response was there was nothing to stop them staying and using the reservation or they should have had insurance especially considering how bad the weather was and how many similar outdoor events had been cancelled.

They were all oh we are running a business we couldn't stay - I would have said I also am running a business, I have upheld my side of the bargain where I provide a room as described for the time you requested. It is not up to me to know what you are comming for and plan accordingly. If we were a permier inn or travel lodge you would have to pay when you booked and no refunds no matter what - so why should we be any different?

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There is always an excuse isn't there, has been since grade school when they told the teacher the dog ate their homework.  They find what works and keep pounding away.... 

I like the suggestions Maddie had and see you are already looking at #1 but I have to ask you a question about your post.  You stated: "This only means that the recipient has to make a reservation within the 6 month period.  It can be for two years out,  if that's what they want,  but they have to make a reservation.   For certain charity donations,  we will extend the expiration date for 12 months."

I was just wondering why you will extend the expiriation date for a DONATED GC - one you did not receive a penny for, but one that was PAID for and given as a gift, you want to stick to your guns???  

Proud Texan's picture
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copperhead wrote:

There is always an excuse isn't there, has been since grade school when they told the teacher the dog ate their homework.  They find what works and keep pounding away.... 

I like the suggestions Maddie had and see you are already looking at #1 but I have to ask you a question about your post.  You stated: "This only means that the recipient has to make a reservation within the 6 month period.  It can be for two years out,  if that's what they want,  but they have to make a reservation.   For certain charity donations,  we will extend the expiration date for 12 months."

I was just wondering why you will extend the expiriation date for a DONATED GC - one you did not receive a penny for, but one that was PAID for and given as a gift, you want to stick to your guns???  

The donated GCs are seldom if ever redeemed.  Besides,  it's moot point now, isn't it?

Silverspoon's picture
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That's exactly why we no longer offer GC.   We just do not want to deal with the excuses or keep it on the books for 10 years.  Too much anxiety with the whiners who haven't used the GC or want to change the terms etc.  

Madeline makes some excellent points.  Do what ever is going to make it OK for you and get on with it.  Life is tooooo  short!

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birdwatcher's picture
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NOOO wait a minute how bout "broken foot" we've had four of those within the last 10 months-or hubbie made reservation for their wedding anniversary IN THE WRONG TOWN! that was a totally new one, called and said oh sorry wife just made dinner reservations in a town that has the same name but different state-imagine that fight...he he he reading confirmation e-mails-well thats a totally different thread.

good luck with the certificate...empathy sometimes wins in the end...

Breakfast Diva's picture
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05/26/2009

So, what sucks more...sticking to your guns with the policy you have now and sticking to it

or

flexing your policy a bit, work with them a little such as they can use it, but now it has to be mid week during non-peak, etc. and feel a bit put out, but can live with it.

Only you can figure out which sucks more.

Madeleine's picture
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Yes, we've all heard the sob story. We've gotten SO many calls about 'I just found it stuffed in a drawer' or 'I know I HAD one but I can't find it' and it's tough to say, 'No, I have no record of that GC in our files,' because you know they're thinking we're cheating them.

And, yet, there are few stores the guest could call with that story and get the result they want.

Because I already have the money in hand, I'm a lot less fretful about deadlines. I've got the money. I don't care if it's 4 or 5 years after the fact. As long as I was paid, I'm pretty open to suggestions. BUT, I can be hardnosed about cancellations. In that case, the rez is made and the money is now moved over to the other column in accounting.

I don't have a policy for when you have to use the GC. I know the PO's used to put a one year expiry date on the ones they wrote and I have honored those 6-7 years after the fact. Because I had the money. For me it all comes down to having the money and putting myself in the guest's shoes. How would I feel?

Perspective- we don't have tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding GC's. Just around $3500 right now. We also have guests who use a little bit of the GC at a time. Just to take the edge off their one nighter.

This seems to be causing you grief. If it's causing you grief you can find a solution. Grief is not why we got into this biz!

 

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Proud Texan's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

This seems to be causing you grief. If it's causing you grief you can find a solution. Grief is not why we got into this biz!

The grief is caused because I'm actually a softy and I can feel empathy, but the businessman part of me gets ticked when others show fiscal irresponsibility.  These are the same individuals who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt but don't understand how they got into that position.   

There is full disclosure with they purchase of a gift certificate.  They are entering into a contract with me for a specified  time.   I upheld my end of the bargin. 

Hillbilly's picture
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10/22/2011

Maybe you could come up with a fee to extend the GC! Buy more time so to speak!

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Madeleine's picture
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Proud Texan wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

This seems to be causing you grief. If it's causing you grief you can find a solution. Grief is not why we got into this biz!

The grief is caused because I'm actually a softy and I can feel empathy, but the businessman part of me gets ticked when others show fiscal irresponsibility.  These are the same individuals who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt but don't understand how they got into that position.   

There is full disclosure with they purchase of a gift certificate.  They are entering into a contract with me for a specified  time.   I upheld my end of the bargin. 

Who died and made you dad of the world? C'mon. Really now. 

Again I will say this is causing you grief so find a solution. I have a couple:

  1. Stop selling GC's. Ask yourself why you are selling them. I would guess it's NOT for lots of free money when the GC's go unused. If it is, just stop selling GC's because your motivation is greed. And greed, to refute Gordon Gecko, is not good. And greed doesn't work in the kind of biz we're in.
  2. Extend the expiry date to something that is more reasonable. 6 months is barely time to register that 'Hey, we've got a GC! Let's use it!'
  3. The person who 'entered the contract' is the buyer NOT the recipient. So, let go of the idea that this is a contract. You sold merchandise.
  4. Get the recipient's email address when you sell the GC. Contact them 3 months from the date of purchase (tell the buyer you will do this 'to make the experience more enjoyable for your friend/mother/whoever') and let them know you have openings around such and such a time and hope they are planning a getaway.

All I am trying to point out is you're making misery for yourself. Stop it. YOU have the power to put an end to the misery. And, it's not your job to worry about the fiscal irresponsibility of the world. It's your job to find solutions to problems. You feel rotten. You don't want to feel rotten any longer. Take steps.

Hillbilly's picture
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Well said! If they can make reservations for 3 years out, seems like you could maybe help them a little! Let them apply half of the GC! Throw them some kind of a bone!

Proud Texan's picture
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Bob wrote:
Well said! If they can make reservations for 3 years out, seems like you could maybe help them a little! Let them apply half of the GC! Throw them some kind of a bone!

I think I'll probably discontinue gift certificates.  They have been more trouble than their worth.   I'll keep the ReservationKey Gift Certificate mechanism handy (but offline) for charitable donations.

Proud Texan's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Proud Texan wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

This seems to be causing you grief. If it's causing you grief you can find a solution. Grief is not why we got into this biz!

The grief is caused because I'm actually a softy and I can feel empathy, but the businessman part of me gets ticked when others show fiscal irresponsibility.  These are the same individuals who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt but don't understand how they got into that position.   

There is full disclosure with they purchase of a gift certificate.  They are entering into a contract with me for a specified  time.   I upheld my end of the bargin. 

Who died and made you dad of the world? C'mon. Really now. 

Again I will say this is causing you grief so find a solution. I have a couple:

  1. Stop selling GC's. Ask yourself why you are selling them. I would guess it's NOT for lots of free money when the GC's go unused. If it is, just stop selling GC's because your motivation is greed. And greed, to refute Gordon Gecko, is not good. And greed doesn't work in the kind of biz we're in.
  2. Extend the expiry date to something that is more reasonable. 6 months is barely time to register that 'Hey, we've got a GC! Let's use it!'
  3. The person who 'entered the contract' is the buyer NOT the recipient. So, let go of the idea that this is a contract. You sold merchandise.
  4. Get the recipient's email address when you sell the GC. Contact them 3 months from the date of purchase (tell the buyer you will do this 'to make the experience more enjoyable for your friend/mother/whoever') and let them know you have openings around such and such a time and hope they are planning a getaway.

All I am trying to point out is you're making misery for yourself. Stop it. YOU have the power to put an end to the misery. And, it's not your job to worry about the fiscal irresponsibility of the world. It's your job to find solutions to problems. You feel rotten. You don't want to feel rotten any longer. Take steps.

All very good points.  Thank you.   That is why I love you guys....my little dysfunctional family.

Madeleine's picture
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Proud Texan wrote:

All very good points.  Thank you.   That is why I love you guys....my little dysfunctional family.

And it's why we love being your dysfunctional little family...

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Add this to the how many times has Grandma died.

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