For example, once in each of the last 3 years, we’ve driven between 10-15 miles to go to a restaurant only to find out that it’s no longer open, or hasn’t opened for business yet (i.e. it’s brand new). We tended to find this out closer to that book’s expiration date, so it’s understandable for a restaurant to shut down within a full year. But we wasted all that time and money driving there.
Another example of the book’s flaws happened recently when we drove about 15 miles north to India Palace Restaurant in Germantown, MD. We went there last year with the book and really enjoyed the food. The restaurant was in this year’s book again so we decided to go up again for dinner.
We got there, ordered and ate dinner, and then when it was time to bring out the check, I showed the discount card (it used the card, not the coupon), and the waiter said they no longer accept the Entertainment Book discount. This was news to me since it’s listed in the book! He even replied that there’s a sign on the door stating so, but why would we be looking for a sign? Apparently the folks at Entertainment Book just reprinted a bunch of discounts from last year without checking with the restaurants first, and this particular restaurant didn’t want to continue its participation.
It was our fault for not showing the card up-front like the book suggests that we do, but it still would have meant a 30 mile roundtrip drive when we could have gone somewhere much closer. But not all was lost on this trip. They gave us a $10 gift certificate, which was more than the price of the meal we would have gotten free anyway! Granted, it still means to use the certificate, we need to drive back up there and buy a meal, so it still costs us, but it was a nice gesture.
As the headline suggests, the lesson here is to call ahead to make sure they’re open and they accept the discount. It’s only by experience that we’re learning these things as we’ve just taken for granted that the Entertainment Book knows what it’s talking about. However, restaurants go out of business all the time so they can’t come to your house and update your book for you.