Ever since I started reading Seth Godin’s blog, I’ve looked at companies differently, especially in how they market themselves. I wrote about how Starbucks gave out free coffees if you voted. Not a bad deal. Of course, when I went in there to get it, they were offering the smallest size for free. I asked if I could have a Venti (their largest) and the response was that they’d have to charge me for the smallest size and then give me the difference as my “free” coffee. The extra coffee costs, what, a couple pennies maybe?
Today, I went to Panera Bread to get a new coffee mug because Dona told me that you can refill it for free until January 1. It seemed too good to be true, but figured I’d stop in and ask. It’s true. A $6.99 mug gets you free refills until January 1. I asked if I had to stop at the counter and she said no, just go refill it. Do I have to buy something else? Nope. On top of that, $4 of the mug price goes to the Make-a-Wish foundation. Seriously. From free Wi-Fi to free coffee, Panera just gets it.
Seth has an article up that could have been written about my most recent experience with US Airways. If I have my way, I’ll never fly them again. Here’s my experience with them:
- Pop and Water cost $2. You get a can of pop or a bottle of water for that price.
- Coffee was $1.
- The seat-back trays had ads on them.
- The gate agent was trumpeting that you had to pay for a meal “right now” if you want to receive a meal on the flight. I’m ok with charging for a meal, but she sounded really mean and angry making the announcement.
- The pilot invited us to fill out a US Air credit card application to receive free bonus miles. See your flight attendant for help filling that out.
When someone next to me starting arguing with the flight attendant about the price of water, she told him that soaring gas prices are the cause. “If we don’t do something, there won’t be a US Air soon.” Maybe that’s not all bad. So not only did I not buy one of their drinks, I also was turned off to buying from them in the future. Not good marketing.