Last night my husband and I went to dinner at Seeger’s to use a $400 gift certificate given to him by his co-workers last Christmas. Upon making the reservation, I told the woman on the phone that it would expire December 31, 2003, but could we possibly use it for dinner two nights later, January 2nd. She assured me it would be no problem at all and asked for the gift certificate number, number 1015, which I gave her.
After dinner the waiter brought the bill and we gave him the gift certificate. The Maitre'd came back saying they could not honor it because it had expired. I explained how the woman on the phone had assured me it was no problem at all when I made the reservation and he asked, "What was her name?" Unfortunately I didn’t ask her name when making the reservation (how many of you ask for the name of the person you’re speaking with when making reservations?). The Maitre’d then left us to discuss the matter with a higher authority, presumably Mr. Seeger. After an extended wait, he returned to our table to say that they were unable to honor the certificate because they had no record of it. We pointed out the certificate number, the authorized signature, the fact that the certificate card is clearly from their restaurant and repeated what we’d already told him regarding when I made the reservation. He simply repeated, "I'm sorry, but we have no record of this”. Thoroughly frustrated and offended, my husband pulled out his MasterCard, paid the $256.80 cost of the meal (with no gratuity) and we left.
As we drove home we found ourselves becoming more and more upset and insulted. We feel as though my husband’s colleagues have been cheated for the $400 they spent on a very thoughtful gift. We were upset and embarrassed in a public setting. And because of the decision of Seeger’s management to not honor their certificate, the wait staff that served us all evening were denied what would have been a generous gratuity. Mr. Seeger, on the other hand, has been enriched not only by the $400 he pockets by not honoring the certificate, but also by the $256.80 we ended up paying for the meal. Needless to say, we came away with a nothing but a very bad taste in our mouths. It is now easier to understand why Mr. Seeger’s restaurant was less than a third full on a Friday evening. We will never go there again, and hope that after reading this, you won’t either.