Posted by: Greg Siefert | June 19, 2009

Can I get some pickle with that?

We had a fast food burger joint open close to our home a few months back. Needless to say, our kids were pretty excited…so excited that we went on opening day. It paid off! They thanked us for coming and gave us coupons for kids meals and a free Big Mac every week for a year.

Well, you’d better believe that I’ve been using that coupon. I pull into a drive-thru and order “I have a coupon for a free Big Mac. Could I get that with extra pickle? I’ll also take a large Diet Coke.” By the way, I can’t tell you how many times the $1 drinks have pulled me in. Great offering because I always buy something more.

Back to the point. All went well for a few months until one evening. I ordered as usual and was told “we don’t put anything extra on free stuff.

My initial thought was bummer. Being somewhat astute and not easily deterred, I quickly asked if they could just charge me a quarter and throw some on extra pickles.

Nope. Can’t do it. We’d have to charge you for the whole burger to put extra pickle on it.


No. We don’t put anything extra on free stuff.

What? You’ve been doing this for three months and suddenly no extra pickle?! Long story short, the manager talked to me and reaffirmed no extra pickle for you (think soup Nazi from Seinfeld). The time they spent telling me now cost them more than the stinkin’ pickles.

I came hope ticked. What started out as a great customer experience – you gotta love 52 free Big Macs – left me frustrated. They would have been better off if they had never given me the coupon card.

Well, the story ends with a good recovery. I went back yesterday and ordered “I have a coupon for a free Big Mac. Could I get that with extra pickle?” The reply was a bright and happy “Absolutely!” Good save. Let’s hope that I keep getting that reply.



  1. Amen! How quickly an organization can get so rule-bound that we forget to offer the best possible service to our customers, even if it costs little or nothing.

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