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My Larry David Moment @ Gumbo Pot

g
Getting Fatter Oct 29, 2007 04:16 PM

Okay, this just seems ridiculous to me. Every time I go to Gumbo Pot, I order an iced tea which costs about $2, and always includes free refills. When I went last Friday, I mixed it up, and ordered an Arnold Palmer instead. Same price, $2, except when I went for a refill, the guy told me it was another $2. "But you always give refills on the iced tea" I told him. "Arnold Palmer isn't iced tea," he said. Technically he was half right, so I asked him if I could have an iced tea refill instead. Nope, that would be $2, as well. I tried to joke with him, and ask for "half an iced tea" but that was shot down too.

He said that if I had ordered iced tea, I could get as many refills as I wanted, but because I put the lemonade in there, I would have to pay every time I wanted more. This seemed insane to me. Every other place in town either offers free refills on the Arnold Palmer, or at least free iced tea refills. Am I being petty here, or is this a stupid policy. The other girl working the counter agreed with me (or she just wanted me to stop complaining), but clearly the dude was the one in charge.

It's not a big deal, only a couple of bucks, but it still stuck with me. I think I'm done with the place. The catfish was dry anyway.

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  1. b
    Burger Boy Oct 29, 2007 04:29 PM

    If it is lemonade out of a soda machine, ie a mix, that is silly, if they make fresh lemonade, I understand it. Lemons are not cheap and after the fires, watch avocados, lemons & limes all go up! Yes they should have given you an ice tea refill.....IMHO

    1. w
      Wonginator Oct 29, 2007 04:35 PM

      If a drink is mixed like an Arnold Palmer, I never assume free refills. I try to look at the menus to see what is free refills, but if I don't, I only assume refills for soda or iced tea. Free lemonade refills vary from place to place.

      I think you're being petty. If I order a Coke, I wouldn't expect free refills if I switch to a 7-Up. I would expect to pay a separate cost for a different drink.

      If you wanted free iced tea refills, you should have ordered an iced tea at the beginning.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Wonginator
        c
        charmedgirl Oct 30, 2007 12:37 PM

        Wow, really? Taking as established the fact that the restaurant offers free refills on fountain drinks, if you order one "flavor" of fountain drink (ie. Coke) and you switched to another "flavor" (ie. 7-Up), you would expect to be charged?

        This is the first time I ever thought about it, but I don't think I would! I think I'd be really surprised if I got charged for a second fountain soda. This is an interesting question to me -- any other hounds have opinions?

        1. re: charmedgirl
          s
          silence9 Oct 30, 2007 01:08 PM

          Hi... Look at this take on the 'flavor change' factor: in addition to getting more quantity of free beverage on the refill(s), now the patron is getting more variety as well. And while they're at it, why stop at 7-Up after Coke? Let's proceed to Diet Coke, so now they're getting free liquid, unimpeded variety, PLUS an added diet/health benefit from cutting back on the calories. That's quite a bargain, for their original investment!

          1. re: silence9
            c
            charmedgirl Oct 30, 2007 03:00 PM

            I don't actually understand your comment. Why would they be getting more quantity of a free beverage just by switching from Coke to 7-Up? Whether their (let's just say) 8 oz. cup was filled with Coke or 7-Up, they would be getting 8 oz. of soda. So the quantity of beverage being provided is the same. And a Diet Coke fountain soda will cost the same as a regular Coke fountain soda or a 7-Up fountain soda. It's not as though Diet Coke, by virtually of being calorie free and therefore providing an "added diet/health benefit," normally costs more. So they aren't getting something extra for free out of their original investment by switching to Diet Coke.

            ...Unless I'm really lame and didn't realize you were kidding?

            1. re: charmedgirl
              d
              dolores Oct 30, 2007 03:39 PM

              Does someone monitor the beverage dispensers at these 'free refill' places? The few that I've seen are away from the cash register and I guess if a person wanted to slosh out of the restaurant, they could.

              GF, did you have to go back to the counter person and ask for 'some more, please'?

              1. re: charmedgirl
                s
                silence9 Oct 30, 2007 04:00 PM

                Charmedgirl: pardon any lack of clarity on my part. 'More quantity' referred to the fact that they were getting a refill (or refills) to begin with; 'more variety' is where the new flavor(s) come into play; and 'more value', from the benefit of getting less calories or less caffeine in switching to diet or caffeine-free, for example... Speaking generally, having greater selection of anything available, would seem to be a cost factor to consider, but that would also be made up for by bringing in more people. But let's agree with your point, that coke and diet coke all costs the same to stock and dispense. The patron who paid $1.50 and got a coke, a 7-Up, then a diet coke, then a caffeine free coke ISN'T getting bang for his buck? You don't think *choice* is "getting something extra"?

                1. re: silence9
                  c
                  charmedgirl Oct 31, 2007 06:55 AM

                  As a general matter, I do understand that "choice" has value to some people. And I suppose that would be a fair argument for the restaurant to make, explaining why they would charge for another fountain drink when the person changes from Coke to 7-Up. But in a situation such as this, where offering the patron a choice does not cost the restaurant a bit of extra money, it does not seem justified.

                  I guess I see this as a situation where the patron orders something -- here, a fountain drink with free refills. There are five flavors of fountain drinks, all coming with free refills and all of which cost the restaurant the same amount to serve. Because it costs the restaurant the same amount to serve fountain drinks, regardless of flavor, the restaurant charges the same amount. If the patron decides to change flavor, they are swapping two equivalent things -- a refill of Coke for a refill of 7-Up. Because the things are equivalent (a refill of a fountain drink), there shouldn't be an extra charge.

        2. p
          PayOrPlay Oct 29, 2007 05:22 PM

          I'm with you, G.F. Even if the lemonade was somehow special (which I very much doubt since the AP and Iced Tea were the same price), their refusal to let you have an iced tea refill was hyper-chintzy. Which is utterly consistent with our experiences with the Gumbo Pot. Just not a good place, there's better Louisiana food to be had elsewhere in LA (although not as many places as we'd like) , and there are plenty of better places to eat at the Farmers Market.

          1. s
            silence9 Oct 30, 2007 10:55 AM

            Hello... OK, here's my likely (minority) take on free refills. I never expect free refills on anything except tap water, and as such, am very pleasantly surprised whenever a server offers a free refill on iced tea or a soft drink. I'm not a bumpkin especially, but it just never occurs to me that the original price of the beverage includes a 'bottomless' cup or glass, or even just one top-off. It's even more amazing to me when they provide a new glass with fresh ice and lemon! Other than tap water, I just think of every subsequent glass of tea or soda the same as a new beer or cocktail. I don't even press my luck at fastfood places with refill stations, like at In-N-Out Burger, especially since the original drink can be purchased in various sizes. I'm as thirsty as the next palooka, but I figure if I need to top off my hump, I ought to pay the listed price. Like I said, probably the minority opinion...

            1. rhnault Oct 30, 2007 12:45 PM

              I think he should have refilled you with tea. Obviously he was more concerned with being right than giving gracious service.
              Now to be a stickler on this Larry David episode lol. Not only did Jeff eat Larry's fries but he also had Larry's tea and the AP was in front of Jeff ; ) My favorite spisode so far this season!

              1. l
                laurendlewis Oct 31, 2007 12:52 PM

                At least he told you it would be another $2 instead of just refilling and then charging you!

                1. bbbron Nov 2, 2007 03:08 PM

                  I've had similar arguments with restauranteers, for sure. My big thing (and I used to work in a restaurant) is that unless something is in writing on the menu or whatever the customer should always be right. Like deli I go to -- if you buy a sandwich, you can get an order of fries for only a dollar, instead of the fries usually being $2.50. So, I tried this arrangement with a Falafel, which is on the menu under the heading "Sandwiches". But the waitress could not, at that point, give me the fries for a dollar. Why? "A falafel is not a sandwich," she said. She's right, but then WHY LIST IT IN THAT CATEGORY?...argh....

                  1. Withnail42 Nov 3, 2007 07:20 PM

                    I liked your idea about the half iced tea. Sounds like you got the server on a bad day.

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