Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bitter Lemon and whining deal-seekers

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Note: I've made several alterations on this post to make the effect of popular "50-percent off" discounts on restaurant meals clearer. I also changed the math in one case. Thanks to readers for pointing out the problems.

Following up on my post last Thursday, I returned (as usual) to the Shed at Glenwood for Wednesday's $3 slider night.

Besides the sliders, I was looking forward to trying the fancy Fever Tree Bitter Lemon mixer/soda that owner Cindy Shera promised to have on hand. I'd tried Fever Tree's tonic water the week before and liked it, although it seemed a bit flat and not pointedly bitter like the usual tonic. Tonic water is my usual drink during dinner.

Bitter Lemon is a drink I actually prefer over tonic water. I started drinking it during trips to Germany years ago — usually Canada Dry's version and sometimes Schweppes. The latter is not even bottled in the U.S. anymore, as far as I can tell, and Canada Dry doesn't include it on its website, although, weirdly, I buy it (at a secret location) here in Atlanta.

I have to say the Fever Tree Bitter Lemon was a disappointment. Like the tonic water, it tasted a bit shy on quinine and was mildly carbonated. The overall effect was of drinking fizzy lemonade, which is fine, but not up to the Canada Dry or Schweppes versions. I do, however, appreciate that Fever Tree's soda is not loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.

About money...

I also mentioned my use of a ScoutMob discount in the same post cited above. A couple of friends have registered a somewhat legitimate complaint with me about the service.

ScoutMob always offers a 50-percent discount, by way of texting or emailing you an authorization number. The problem is that the deal is seldom if ever actually 50-percent off your full check. It is 50 percent off with a certain maximum.

Recently, for example, we dined at R. Thomas with a 50-percent discount with a $15 maximum, meaning it was half price up to $30. Our full bill was over $60, so the "50-percent savings" of $15 was actually 25 percent of the total. Got that?

This same word trick is played by other discounters, but far less blatantly. A friend recently wrote me that Nikolai's Roof was advertising a 50-percent discount through Open Table. Actually, the website says it's a $25 discount with a $50 value. That's much clearer.

It's nice to have these discounts, of course. They're still a great deal. But check the fine print.

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