Kiss - K
The days of the British Railways sandwich, with curly edges and no sell-by date, are long since gone. Station buffets and other food outlets were privatised long since, and at the most major of stations such as Paddington and Bristol Temle Meads, you've got multiple commercial enterprises competing with each other. And they're also competing with nearby off-station outlets which probably have lower costs premises, meaning that their prices can tend to be a little on the high side. Some franchises (such as McDonald's, I think) require outlets to sell at a fixed price - otherwise, how would their "99p" adverts work. Others (such as Burger King) allow at least premium site outlets, such as stations to sell at a higher price. All of which leads to an interesting set of metrics, and the customer who's cost conscious having to shop around at stations, yet sometimes not having the time to do so at stations they don't use regularly.
Friends on the Great Western Coffee Shop
have talked fondly of the beer served in Bonoparte's in Bristol Temple Meads, and indeed I find the atmosphere in there pleasant, and have enjoyed an all day breakfast before at times you wouldn't normally associate with breakfast, so when I saw those friends saying "you need to change your BITE Card
to the new one", I thought "why not get one" ... duly applied online, duly received my card a week later in the post.
From their terms:
"Holders of a BITE Card are eligible for a 20% discount off purchases of food, hot and cold drinks and alcoholic beverages when they present the BITE Card at any of the following branded outlets located at mainline UK railway stations ... Bonapartes"
"The 20% discount offer does not apply to the following product categories, : confectionery, crisps, ice cream, newspapers, magazines, books, cigarettes, tobacco, telephone cards and such other product categories notified to BITE Card holders from time to time."
Fair enough - they don't have the markup on them, and it's made clear.
Yesterday evening, there was a pub quiz at Bonoparte's in aid of The Railway Children Charity
, and as the C++ course
I was running finished on time, I was able to get over there and help form a "Coffee Shop" team.
Big advertising banner "Curry and a pint - £8.95". Hmmm - with 20% discount that's £7.16 - I'll go for that. First issue - only one of the 4 curries that was being shouted about was actually available. OK - Chicken Tikka Massals it is. Second issue - the pint is beer and can be substituted by a coke. And that's 16 fluid ounces rather than a pint (20 fluid ounces). Third issue - "we can't accept BITE cards on a special deal". Hmmm - don't see that in the terms and conditions, but I suppose it could come under "and such other product categories notified to BITE Card holders from time to time" and they had just notified me. Left a sour taste in my mouth, though. Left me feeling I'd been a bit hard done by.
But I might have left it at that until ...
I bought another four-fifths of a pint a little later, and noticed something about the prices. On it's own, the curry was £6.95, and the code £2.05 - just 5p more than the special deal. So I had been charged for a special deal which gave me 5p off, whereas I could have saved £1.75 on that had I been charged separately.
Back to my subject line, "Keep it Simple, Stupid". Two clever deals - the BITE card which could be useful, and the special deal which really wan't special - interacting in such as way that they produce a real negative.
To raise or not to raise with the staff? On my own, I would have let it go. But with Justin's encouragement, and knowing I would want our customers to raise any unhappinesses with us, I went back up to the counter. The lady running the quiz turned out to be the manageress, and complimented me on how clever I was to have picked up the issue (!), but then cheerfully and helpfully set about correcting it (and at the same time, we noticed that my previous receipt showed the £8.95 being discounted from a higher priced, alcoholic product ... another "naughty"). And - at the end of the paper trail - I put the refunded difference into the charity pot; I was more concerned at the principle than the amount.
And - truth be told - I left Bonoparte's feeling a little guilty that evening. I had gone there to support a charity quiz night, but our group won, and I ended up not giving, but receiving. Raffle prize too ... and the end of an enjoyable, and eventful, evening.
Yesterday evening was also a chance for me to try out the camera on my phone - upgraded recently - so see how it would do in the good and the fading light; I'll leave you to judge from this series of pictures.
Ahead of the trip, I hadn't realised that a steam train was due to arrive in Bristol while I was there and - dodging the hoards of photographers - I had a chance to take a few picures.
Finally, a puzzle - can you spot the picture that was NOT taken at Bristol Temple Meads? (I'll give you a clue - the picture beside / above this paragraph IS at Bristol!) (written 2012-04-28, updated 2012-05-05)
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