As I mentioned yesterday, Jay and I are going to go kayaking on Sunday for our first wedding anniversary. I used to go kayaking in high school with my dad, uncle, sisters, and cousin; I love it. We went during our honeymoon and had a blast, even though we didn’t quite master that elusive-rowing in-sync-method. I didn’t know where we could go around here, but I had seen this local kayaking business show up on my Groupon before and decided to check it out. There was no Groupon or Living Social deal at the time that I Googled this place. I actually waited a week from the time I checked the website to when I actually booked our trip just to see if any deals would be coming out. I ended up booking it Sunday night, April 22, for $68 for a 2 person kayak.
I bet you can guess what happens next. On Wednesday April 25, I wake up to my daily Groupon emaily and notice that this kayaking business, Paddle Creek, had a Groupon running! It was a deal for a 2 person kayak for $28. Jay and I do not live paycheck to paycheck anymore, but we are not rolling in the dough by any means. $40 is $40. I decided to call them that morning to see if maybe they would honor the Groupon rate despite my poor timing. I called them around 9:15am, but got no answer. I consulted their website and saw that they weren’t open until 10:00am. I called a few times after 10:00am; someone finally picked up the phone on my 4th attempt of the day. I spoke to a man who called himself Bob. I explained that I was a first time customer who had just booked with them and had seen the Groupon from that morning.
My question to this man was this: “If I buy today’s Groupon, would I be able to retroactively apply it to my current booking for this upcoming Sunday?” He asked me if the offer had any restrictions, such as not being valid on Sundays. I said that there were no such restrictions listed and reiterated that I was merely inquiring as to whether or not we could do this. Did I think they’d want to do it? No, of course not, but it never hurts to ask. I know I was being nice because I wanted to have the best shot possible to maybe appeal to someone to be kind to me and my bad timing.
Instead, I was told by a very impatient employee of Paddle Creek that it was always very busy on the days that the Groupon/Living Social deals went up and he would have to talk to a manager, also named Bob. Fair enough. I have to call people back quite often at work when it comes to approving special pricing requests. I was hopeful, but the rushed and completely annoyed tone that this man had didn’t give me a great feeling.
I got a phone call back from Manager Bob who asked me some questions about my situation in an irritated tone of voice. I explained to him that I was a first time customer who ironically only knew about them because of previous Groupons and had the misfortune of making reservations 48 hours too soon. Would it be possible to honor the Groupon price if I bought one that morning? He told me that he would call me back. I missed his phone call when he did call back. Here is the short voicemail he left me.[audio:https://www.collwrites.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/PaddleCreekNC-voicemail.mp3|titles=PaddleCreekNC-voicemail]
I totally get that in any economy, businesses exist to provide a service that they make money from. I do. I was a little bit deflated when I heard that voicemail, but I decided to call Bob at Paddle Creek back and make one last appeal. Bob’s tone was annoyed and smirking. He absolutely would not honor the reduced rate whatsoever because they would not have been able to make as much money off of us if they did so. Thanks for sugar coating it, Bob! I got a little bit desperate at this point and said, “It’s our first wedding anniversary and we chose to spend it with you guys! There’s absolutely nothing you can do?” He then did what any good employee who doesn’t give a flying shit about their customer does and blamed it on their owner’s policy – and this owner very conveniently lives in Pennsylvania and could not be reached.
Finally, I merely said, “So, this is all just my bad timing, huh? If I had waited just two more days, then this wouldn’t be a problem.” He scoffed, “Yes.”
I then inquired about canceling my reservations altogether. He told me that we could certainly feel free to cancel, but we would not be eligible for a refund because company policy was that you must give 10 days notice in order to get any money back at all. At this point, I was feeling completely deflated and very disappointed. As I said earlier, I understand that businesses exist to make money, but Paddle Creek in Wake Forest, North Carolina will never ever get my business again. The men I spoke with did not take my inquiry seriously at all nor did they treat me with any sort of respect or even one ounce of tolerance. It was tone of voice. They scoffed at me. That puts us off the entire trip. I considered disputing the charge on my credit card, but what’s the point? At this point, we’re only going because we don’t want to lose the money we’ve already paid.
We’re just very disappointed in the lack of customer service. They could’ve done us a solid and made us customers for life because of how grateful we would’ve been. Instead, we’ll be looking elsewhere the next time we want to go kayaking. We certainly will not be giving Paddle Creek kayaking our business ever again.