frustrated about free offers

September 25, 2011 9:30pm
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It always seems in poor taste when a company offers something up for free, but only for specific, pre-defined quantities.

More specifically, I’m referring to things like theme park tickets and hotel rooms – that’s what I tend to come across the most and what is actually inspiring this particular blog post. I think I’ve even already ranted about it to some extent with Disney because it happens a lot with the Annual Passholder discounts that they give for hotel rooms, with some in such limited quantities that you pretty much have to wake up early on the first day and be rubbing your lucky rabbit’s foot throughout the reservation process for a chance at scoring one of them!

This particular incident revolved around Legoland Florida, which is set to open its doors here in another month or so. We had literally just gotten a catalog in the mail yesterday that mentioned a program where LEGO VIP members can get free admission and a discount off of additional passes, so the wife and I thought that it might be a good chance for us to get to go (because otherwise money is a little tight right now and it probably wouldn’t be in the cards for us until next year). Nevertheless, upon logging into the VIP website and checking their promotions, I instead found the following message…

Due to unprecedented response to this promotion, the allocated number of free and discounted tickets to LEGOLAND® Parks has been fulfilled. If you signed up and registered as a LEGO® VIP member prior to September 23, 2011, you will still be able to redeem your voucher during the week of October 24-30, 2011, provided there is capacity at your chosen park, and you comply with all the terms and conditions for the promotion as posted below. Thank you for your excitement for the LEGO® brand and the LEGOLAND® Parks, and your overwhelming response to this promotion.

Now aside from the confusing verbiage in the second half of that statement (i.e. I’ve been a member long before 9/23/2011, but have not this voucher that they mention … should I have one somewhere???), the cynical side of me has to wonder, do companies like these ever actually suffer any ill-will from patrons like myself who are disappointed when they’ve not able to partake in an offer that’s being thrown out there? I mean, it’s not like I waited around once I got the word – I actually logged into the VIP website from my phone in the car after getting that catalog in the mail, and yet already the offer was unavailable.

Granted, for this situation I didn’t have much to lose, other than the wife and I were a little disappointed upon learning 5 minutes later that our little plan to visit this fall wasn’t going to work, but there have definitely been some offers for Disney that left me pretty angry with the company – special offers to tour the Cinderella Castle Suite and come celebrate Expedition Everest’s 5th Anniversary, missed because even though I did try to plan in advance, their system just couldn’t handle the interest and got overwhelmed, so only random passholders actually got the tickets that everybody had been looking forward to.

I don’t know – I guess it would be more expensive to ensure that everyone who qualifies gets a chance, but it just doesn’t seem like the best idea to have your most valued customers (VIP or Annual Passholders) upset because they didn’t get to participate in something cool that you were offering.

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