Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Burger King Bait And Switch

I grumped when Burger King down-sized their burgers a few years ago. However, I used to be in business myself, and I know all about rising costs. I also know that some companies, rather than be straight-forward about it and raising their prices, lessen the quality or quantity of their goods or services to save money in place of upping prices. Examples of that are Burger King’s shrinking burgers and, more recently, leaving off the second piece of cheese on a double cheeseburger. Never in my life have I ordered a double-cheeseburger and received only one slice of cheese—until Burger King started down the low road. They now charge you and extra 20 cents if you request an “extra” slice of cheese on your double cheeseburger.

I have no doubt that sales are off at fast food restaurants, less because people are getting more health conscious, than due to our “improving” economy that keeps making the poor poorer and middle class non-existent. Supposedly, as a way to recapture part of the market and of course “to help people out,” they’ve expanded their dollar menu. Although we’d had lunch at home today, my wife and I had been out running errands long enough that we were getting hungry again. Since we had plans to just “piece around” this evening, rather than fix an actual supper, we decided to get a dollar sandwich apiece for us and the dog.

Inside, the girl at the counter did her job as instructed and asked if I wanted cheese on my rodeo burger, to which I replied to the affirmative. My first suspicion was raised when she didn’t call it back “rodeo burger add cheese,” but “rodeo cheeseburger.” Sure enough, after the girl gave me my cup, change and receipt, and walked off to fill the order, I looked at the receipt and found a case of old-style bait and switch, except that I hadn’t been told about it. It turns out that rodeo cheeseburgers cost $1.49, NOT a dollar plus 20 cents for the cheese.

I questioned the manager standing nearby and she said that was the correct price. I told her my “beef,” and she agreed that it wasn’t good business and offered to refund my money. I told her that wouldn’t be necessary, but that it wouldn’t happen again. She understood and told me that I wasn’t the first to rightfully complain. I asked her to pass it along that an irate customer complained about the rip-off, and she assured me that she would. I’m slightly acquainted with the young woman from doing occasional business there, and I believe that she will. The question is whether it will do any good.

One reason this country is in the mess it’s in is because we have people running the government, and many of the corporations, with no respect for honesty and honor. This little bait and switch isn’t something being done at the store level. You know very well that it was planned from the top as a way to up-sell their dollar items. That says a lot to me about the moral character of the people now running Burger King. It wasn’t the 29 cents; it was the deliberateness of the bait and switch that peeved me. And if you’re tempted to say, “Hey, it was only 29 cents,” you’re right! But multiply that 29 cents times millions of customers, and it’s no longer minor dishonesty; it’s major corruption. Maybe it’s time that I do a little comparison shopping. © 2014


c w swanson said...

From their perspective, they will lose some customers like you who notice and are offended, but will gain so much more from folks who simply pay up and eat. In the end, they figure they will be way ahead.

You are absolutely right about the loss of moral fiber. I saw it said somewhere that we are burning through the moral capital of our Judeo/Christian culture, and when it's gone we will find ourselves back in the jungle. Seems like that is just about right.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I can't remember the last time that I ate fast food and it was a while before that that I had previously eaten it. After a long absence from eating it and then I ate a meal at mcdonalds, it made me feel bad, the meat had a strange taste, very unlike beef. So I haven't been back as they must be doing something to it at the manufacturer. The strange thing is that we can eat at a local restaurant cheaper than if we go to a fast food place with all their confusing deals and pricing plus the locally owned restaurant serves real meat.

Sixbears said...

Sad to see how low business will stoop to make a buck. Another sign of moral decay.

JaneofVirginia said...

I have been using a Burger King lately to buy dollar burger menu options for my Siberian Husky who has lived a couple of years past his life expectancy. The vet told me that he can eat anything he wants, and he seems to like the BK rib sandwiches, minus the pickles. I supplement the missing calcium for him. I was out of town this week and bought some of these for my sweet pooch and the manager in Richmond was upset. She complained to other workers (while I waited) that "the cheap people keep ordering off the dollar menu and this is why we can't make any money." My heart bleeds.

Gorges Smythe said...

I imagine that's about the size of it, cw.

We don't have any local restaurants that inexpensive that I know of, SF. I wish we did.

I agree, Sixbears. It wasn't the price that got me, but the dishonesty.

As does mine, Jane. lol

M. Silvius said...

Stay away from those fast food grease joints. The food is unhealthy and you can do better money wise buying a pound of ground beef and cooking burgers at home. Besides I don't trust the unhappy employees to not spit in my meal.

9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB !! said...

It seems like all big corporations treat costumers like we need them more than they need us. People are waking up soon critical mass will be achieved, and when it does lets hope the government doesn't consider Burger King, McDonald and the rest "Too big to fail" I wouldn't be surprised at all.

Gorges Smythe said...

Technically, you're right, Michael. However, there are times when you're not at home and won't be for a while. Those are the times when fastfood sreves a purpose fur my wife and Im at least. We're old, we're gonna die soon anyway! ;-)

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Actually $0.29 is a huge increase when multiplied across all sales.

Scooney Adrift said...

I agree, it's the principal, not the .29 cents.
It's like we know we are getting ripped off at times, but why complain, nobody seems to care and nothing ever gets done.
Integrity has been flushed!

Gorges Smythe said...

yes, Kathy, that little bit of dishonesty could make them millions of dollars.

That's the sad thing, Scooney, we've seen so much of it that we just expect it anymore.