Don’t you just love creative business promotions? I remember the opening of a new strip mall when I was a boy and a helicopter dropped ping pong balls with numbers on them. The numbers were prize codes that were awarded by the merchants in the mall. Some businesses just hand out free items with the new business logo like a t-shirt. That creates goodwill, customer loyalty, and free advertising. Then other companies throw out something completely unique like free wings for a year for the first 100 people in the door. I don’t want to name names in this column, so we will simply say that the name of the restaurant that is known for its chicken wings rhymes with Tupelo Child Things.
I first spotted the promotion for free wings for a year for the first 100 guests about a month ago and instantly put it on the calendar. I could eat my weight in wings, and I am not a light guy. Plus, my son loves the burgers, something you might not think about when you consider Tupelo Child Things.
The day before the 100 guest promotion, I asked my wife if we ought to ride by to see if there was a line already. She suggested that I stay put and get there early on Monday morning. That was the plan. I dropped the kids off at school, and headed out to the grand opening. A quick scan of the crowd didn’t look too bad. I counted about 40 heads, and I stood in the only semblance of a line where I received a sticker that read “hot”. Some folks had a collection of stickers in cardboard trays that would be used to serve wings. I later learned that stickers were first passed out Sunday afternoon, and the amount of stickers equated how long you had been in line. A call went out for everyone to get in a line on the sidewalk based on the number of stickers everyone had. Then people piled out of their cars with cardboard treys in hand. I was near the back at 120, but I waited for an hour. The television news came out and got the massive line on camera.
The man running the promotion said that he had more than 100 books for free wings to give away, and said there would be a drawing to determine the winners of the remaining books. “The drawing will be at 11:15, and you must be present to win,” he said. I filled out the information for the drawing and ran some quick errands. I returned at 10:40 to have an early lunch and listen for my name to be called. There were only about 30 names in the hat. I was seated at the bar beside the guy that was standing behind me. He told me that they conducted the drawing after I left, and he won wings for a year. I confirmed that with the hostess who said that the terms of the drawing were changed by upper management. I left disappointed.
I have been waiting for Tupelo Child Things to open for several months, and I was looking forward to the promotion, but the way it was handled was wrong in my opinion. I do believe that the ones that sacrificed Sunday and Monday should get the wings, but I was discouraged when I realized that the 40 people ahead of me was really 119 waiting in their cars. I was again discouraged to find out that a “must be present to win” drawing was not held at the stated time. I was not part of the promotion and was cheated out of the drawing, but by golly I was in line for the photo op. They might have a gazillion flavors of wings, but they sure left a bad taste in my mouth on opening day.
Written by Bill Waller. Mr. Waller is a author and contributor local blog, Southwest Georgia Politics. He enjoys writing, traveling, and researching history. He currently resides in Albany, Georgia.