Archive for the ‘Marketing – Shady Practices’ Category

All the Olive Garden you can eat … for life!

August 14, 2019

For 2 years, I’ve been “punishing” Olive Garden for sleazy practice of adding $2 to my bill for the tablet computer that was on our table — even though we didn’t use it!

For the gory details (and a great read), see these prior posts:

I ended my personal boycott because I had the taste for Olive Garden bread sticks, not because the restaurant chain just announced a special promotion: the Olive Garden ““Lifetime Pasta Pass”.

The deal: Shell out $400 and you’re entitled to “a lifetime of unlimited servings of pastas, sauces, and toppings. Plus unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks.”


Of course, there are some small print restrictions and and plenty of fodder for belly laughs …


USAA sends active military and veterans an insulting Memorial Day card.

May 27, 2017

A couple of friends – veterans all – alerted me that USAA – the insurance company that caters to military veterans and their families has announced – on the run-up to <e,orial Day — that it’s joining with progressives and pulling ads from some Fox News programs.

Sure enough.

According to the Washington Post:

Financial services firm USAA is adding itself to the list of companies that have pulled advertising from Fox News Channel shows.


According to USAA, its actions are completely unrelated to the progressives’ Fox boycott:

“Our policy is to run ads on news programs. There was an error which led to our ads running during opinion-based programs, and as soon as that was discovered, the error was corrected.”

Unfortunately (for USAA), there’s a major flaw in their storyline…


More reasons to be wary of restaurants’ table top touchscreens…

May 10, 2017

Olive Garden’s unauthorized “table game fee” opened a can of worms.


In yesterday’s post, I whined about Olive Garden’s “profit scheme”: tacking an unauthorized “table game fee” to my bill .

For the gory details and the sleazy marketing “principles” underlying the practice, see Gotcha: Why I won’t go back to Olive Garden …



When I googled “Ziosk” – what Olive Garden calls its devices – I was served links like Restaurant guests sour on Ziosk’s “touch it and you’re charged”  and Olive Garden servers are getting shorted on tips   … they exposed the  dirty underbelly of table top touchscreens.


Gotcha: Why I won’t go back to Olive Garden …

May 9, 2017

For a measly 2 bucks, they lost me as a customer.


In class, we cover Customer Lifetime Value – the math that captures a basic truth: businesses are better off getting repeat business from loyal customers than by gouging them on a single transaction.

Apparently, Olive Garden – which used to be one of my favorite chain restaurants — missed that class.

Yep, for a measly 2 bucks ($1.99 to be precise) they lost me as a customer.


Here’s what soured our “relationship” ….