Archive for the ‘Bonus’ Category

Service of Perks Denied

Monday, August 28th, 2023

This restaurant charges for [very tasty] bread.

The custom of offering free coffee, iced tea or soda refills has never been universal and differs between communities and restaurants but I’ve always enjoyed it when it happens. In 2010 in “Service of Bonuses” on this blog I remembered books of Lifesavers sent to my mother at Christmas time because she was a stockholder. I’ve never received any goodies from corporations in which I hold stock.

And who doesn’t love encores at a concert?

In The Wall Street Journal Dawn Gilbertson wrote “This Hotel Perk Used to Be Free. Not Anymore. Visitors wanting to check in early or check out late are surprised to find they have to pay up.” It can cost from $25-$150 depending on the venue, she reported.

One of my friends goes nuts when she’s charged for a cup of tap water and ice after she’s bought a substantial number of sandwiches and chips at a deli.

Restaurants used to provide a basket of bread and butter or olive oil with a meal. In many NYC restaurants you must now ask—and pay for—bread and even extra sauce.

Five years ago Beth Landman wrote “The most outrageous restaurant overcharges,” in the New York Post. There’s a notation that the article was updated since 2018 but it doesn’t specify when. Still, you get the idea. She reported:

  • $12 for freshly grated wasabi at Tetsu
  • $2 for a [homemade] marshmallow on hot chocolate at City Bakery
  • $9 per person for bottled water at the Pool
  • $3 for steak sauce at BLT Prime
  • $6 to $7 for bread and butter

My credit card rewards seem to have shrunk while my charges have increased.

Have you noticed that you are now paying for things that once were free?

According to a customer review on Yelp, The Smith offers both still and sparkling water free of charge.

Service of Extras

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Morning radio talk show co-host Todd Schnitt recently shared his frustration when he was unsuccessful at persuading the server at a well known NYC juice bar chain to top off his $8 smoothie with what was left in the blender container. He noticed the container in a lineup by the sink. Its fate was to be washed after its contents were tossed. He’d taken a big sip of his drink to make room.

Len Berman, his co-host on the WOR 710 morning program and the news director, Joe Bartlett, asked Todd if he’d gotten what he’d paid for. He said, “Yes.”  So that’s it then, they concurred: They didn’t feel he should have received a bonus.

Executive producer Natalie Vacca agreed with Len and Joe and added that had she managed the branch, she’d have suggested that staff use the extra for samples to bring in new customers. Someone observed that at Starbucks there’s little if any leftover and that the manager at the smoothie place should better train the staff in portion control to avoid costly waste.

According to Yelp, there are no more Brigham’s luncheonettes in Boston though Wikipedia notes otherwise. In its heyday, when I lived in Boston, branches were sprinkled throughout the metro area. The restaurant’s milkshake/frappe was spectacular and it came in a large glass, served with  what was left in the metal blender container–the equivalent of almost another full glass of the ambrosia, my favorite being coffee or strawberry.

There are some businesses in which extras continue to happen. Waiters will surprise guests with a free dessert or after dinner drink. At The Perfect Pint, a pub at which I ate lunch quite often this summer, my friends and I received a free second glass of iced tea or Coke, something I’d not before experienced in NYC. [The food is terrific here as well.]  Last night we had dinner at Mckinney and Doyle in Pawling–delicious as always. My husband was adding the tip to the credit card receipt when the hostess came with a second one. She said, “We owe you $20–here’s the correct bill.” Turns out that wine is half price on Wednesday night. We welcomed the nice surprise!

In public relations, many provide extra services, such as a tweak of a client’s letter or other small project not covered in an agreement yet not big enough to upset a budget applecart.

Is a business wrong minded to give extras? Do customers appreciate them or take them for granted? Do you appreciate them?

Service of Bonuses

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

bankbonus

There’s lots of talk about Wall Street and bank bonuses as well as the toys in Happy Meals, which got me thinking of the subject of the windfalls I’ve most enjoyed.

milkshakeIn college, Brigham’s milk shakes stood out. Next to a tall glass of thick coffee ambrosia–sometimes chocolate or strawberry–the milkshake-maker set down the icy-cold metal container in which s/he’d assembled–and the machine stirred–the concoction. The bonus contained almost as much as the original portion. Sigh.

lifesaverI’ll never forget the Lifesaver books my mom got as a stockholder [maybe from Kraft Foods?] at Christmastime. The packaging was in the shape of a book which, when you opened it, was filled with a remarkable assortment of Lifesavers. I’ve owned stock in various companies for eons and I’ve never received such a gift.

I’m thrilled when a conductor gives the audience an encore, which happens less and less these days. Union rules?

freeadviceShortly after I’d left Art & Antiques magazine, I helped out a stranger who called for advice about his art gallery opening. Someone suggested to him that I might help even though I’d launched a business in a different stratosphere. During our brief phone call, I recommended media he should invite and made some marketing suggestions. I soon forgot about the conversation that was similar to hundreds that I’ve had over the years. On Thanksgiving morning, the elevator man handed me an envelope from the gallery owner. In the thank you note was a very generous check. It was the first and the last time I saw a cent from someone needing “just a little information.”

When newsletters were printed the old fashioned way, large PR agencies spent a ton of money with local printers. The one we used was tremendously generous. As we left the restaurant after lunch, the waiter handed me an entire cheesecake because I’d swooned over the slice I’d just eaten. A total treat.

I mentor college and graduate students. When they incorporate some of my suggestions into their approach, or continue to ask me questions once the relationship/school year is officially over, these events are at the top of my bonus list.

What have been some of your most memorable or favorite bonuses?

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