Today my daughter asked to go to Sonic Drive-In to get one of their drinks. I don’t eat a lot of fast food, but I do admit to really enjoying Sonic’s drinks. Most places, even if they do offer some kind of lemon or lime flavored treat, it is horribly sweet. Sonic gets it right, and the lime slush as a real pucker factor to it.
We’d been having a nice day, and it seemed like a treat like that might be nice. The closest Sonic isn’t super convenient. There are certainly plenty of other places closer, but we drove the 10 miles to Sonic Drive In.
As we pulled into the lot, we saw a sign that said “1/2 Price Cream Slush Treats All Day Real Ice Cream Real Fruit”. Bonus! We think that sounds great. Tempted by the sale, two of us decide to order those.
We pull up to the drive-thru speaker, and order a medium Lemon Berry Slush, a small Lime Cream Slush, and a small Lemon Berry Cream Slush. I see the orders coming up on the information screen (how great is the info screen in drive-thrus?) and the Cream Slush drinks are listed as the normal price, so I ask,
Me: Aren’t the Cream Slushes supposed to be half price?
Speaker: No, those aren’t part of the special.
Me: But there is a sign that says they are half price all day.
Speaker: It says nothing with ice cream.
Me: No, it says the Cream Slush specifically, with ice cream.
Speaker: Hold on.
The speaker clicks off and we wait. Finally…
Speaker: Okay. So, that was a medium Lemon Berry Slush, a small Lime Cream Slush, and what was the other one?
Me: A small Lemon Berry Cream Slush.
Speaker: Okay, pull forward to the window.
The info screen still showed full price, but I assumed they’d handle it at the window, especially since they hadn’t given a total. We wait through a couple of other cars getting their orders, and then pull up to the window. Tim is at the window. Well, maybe it isn’t Tim, but that is what his name tag asys.
Tim: Okay, a Lemon Berry Slush, a Lime Cream Slush and a Lemon Berry, wait, no, that’s right, a Lemon Berry Slush, that will be $5.16
Me: The Cream Slushes should be half price.
Tim: No they aren’t.
Me: There is a sign that says the Cream Slush is half price all day.
Tim: No, there isn’t.
Me: Yes, there is. That’s why we ordered them.
Tim: No, there isn’t. Where is the sign?
Me: Right at the front, where we drove in. Do you want me to go take a picture of it to show to you?
Tim: No, I’ll meet you there.
I drive over in front of the sign and wait, and Tim exits the Sonic and comes over and looks at the sign.
Tim: Oh, no. That’s a mistake. I’ll take it down.
Me: But, you’ll give me the advertised price on the drinks?
Tim: No, I can’t honor that price.
Me: But, the sign says it is half price.
Tim: I already said I’ll take it down.
Me: But, it was up when I ordered.
Tim: I can’t give you that price. That special ended two months ago! I’ll take the sign down.
I asked him for the corporate headquarters phone number, and he gave me the phone number of Joe, who he said was the district manager. Joe did not answer his phone. He took the sign down and threw it in the garbage can. I called 1-866-OK-SONIC, which is the number listed on their menus. They said that they don’t help resolve problems, so there was nothing they could do but file a complaint and have it sent to store management.
I was sitting at Sonic, unable to get the drinks I ordered at the advertised price, even though I proved that I wasn’t lying after Tim told me I was. Somehow it was my problem that they left the wrong sign up at the entrance to their lot for two months, and rather than give me the discount being advertised on their own sign, they would prefer to alienate a customer.
We left and went to Culver’s. They honored the special showing on their sign, without any discussion at all. Apparently they are better at keeping their signs up to date, and sticking to what they advertise.
So, just be careful when you go to Sonic. Never trust that they will honor anything they are advertising. Double check what you are paying. Or better yet, skip it. It isn’t like it is health food.
I took a photo of Tim and the sign. Well, not Tim’s face, but of his name tag. I only had a cell phone camera that doesn’t take the greatest photos, so it is a little difficult to read the sign. That’s why I grabbed the sign out of the garbage can too. It very clearly states that the drinks I ordered were supposed to be half price. Now it can hang on my daughter’s wall as a reminder of why we don’t go to Sonic anymore. I don’t care how good their drinks taste on a hot day.