Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Friday, April 13, 2012

All Gift Cards Expire--"Yours" Are Expired!

   A client gave our firm some gift cards to a prestigious golf resort several years ago.  The gift cards were put in the vault and stored.  We knew the cards were stored in the vault, however, nothing more was thought about it.
    Last week, we were cleaning the vault and found the gift cards.  Thinking that we may wish to use them, I called the resort and asked about their validity.  Now, the receipt stated that the gift cards expired after 2 years-- something that I did not realize when we received the cards.  I called the golf resort and asked about using the gift cards.  The clerk said that the golf professional would have to address this matter.  I was placed on hold and a minute or so later, the golf professional came on the phone.  I explained that I had 4 gift cards, worth several hundred dollars, however, I recognized that they had expired-- was there anything that could be done to use them?
     Well, the golf professional stated that all gift cards were valid for 2 years, after which they expired.  OK, we got that figured out-- now what?  I pointed out that the resort had booked the revenue from the sale of the cards.  In fact, at this point, the resort, "made money."  The golf professional again pointed out that the cards had expired.  Politely, I pointed out that I understood all of that, but because of some circumstances, we were unable to use the gift cards until now-- was there anything that could be done?  The golf professional said he would call me back in 30 minutes, after which he would visit with his comptroller.
      Thirty minutes transpired and the golf professional called me back.  He asked if I was going to buy clubs, food or just wanted to play golf.  I told him that my intent was to play golf-- if we needed new clubs, clothes or food, we would pay for that separately.
       UMMM-- the professional said that "Yes, we can make this deal work!  We will honor the gift cards--even though the price of the card was less than the current price for a round of golf!"  He further stated that although green fees had increased, he wanted us to have the experience of the prestigious course!   Now, the truth of the matter is that prestigious golf courses have struggled in the past 3 to 5 years.  This course said that they had reduced their initiation fee from $5000 to $500--trying to gain more new members.  Interestingly, it has worked!  Less fees mean more members!
       Now, that was my way of thinking!!  We got what Covey defines as a "Win--Win" situation.  We got to use the cards to play golf, the professional got 4 folks on the course that will more than likely buy lunch, some balls or maybe even a monogrammed shirt of the prestigious course!  Everyone was happy!
       Recall in an earlier blog post I addressed the dirty glass at the watering hole and how that matter was handled.  Although this is different, there are some similarities as well.  In this case, the golf professional wanted recognized that there was business to be had, even with our expired gift cards.  He also recognized that the "bookkeeping" for 4 golf rounds would be less than for merchandise or food, a point that was not lost on me either.
       The key point to this post is that the Win-Win situation works for everyone.  I was happy, the Golf Professional was happy and we are looking forward to a great round of golf!


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