The #D5 Cheesecake Wars
December 5, 2018 12:25 PM   Subscribe

 
Who could possibly have predicted this? What do you mean, everyone who's ever tried to or watched someone try to take on a huge customer service promotion that requires humans?
posted by wellred at 12:34 PM on December 5 [12 favorites]




I suspect the chaos and news reports of same are part of the promotion.
posted by notyou at 12:37 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


Y'all remember when people flipped the fuck out over Build-a-Bear pay your age promotion? My local mall had like 500+ people lined up zig zagging through the entire giant monstrous complex to pointlessness.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:45 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


> Some customers were unhappy to have missed out on the chance to get free cheesecakes.

When I worked at Subway 20 years ago there was a week-long half-price promotion which resulted in continual lines out the door, people in line pushing and shouting at each other and constant bread shortages because we the Sandwich Artists couldn't keep up with the demand, especially at lunch (which was extra fun because people were in a hurry). If we'd been giving out free subs I'd imagine the promotion would have ended in blood and fire.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:45 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


your stores should be prepared for demand when you have a promotion like this.. very unfair of Cheesecake Factory

MY CLOSEST ONE IS CLOSED BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE ALREADY ORDERED so they closed it to give others in the US a chance to get some 🙄 cry me a River

The jump from "somebody offered me x for free" to "I am entitled to x for free" is a swift and brutal one, huh
posted by ominous_paws at 12:48 PM on December 5 [67 favorites]


Do not, my friends, become addicted to water cheesecake. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence!
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:49 PM on December 5 [23 favorites]


make society transactional, people are gonna get transactional
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:49 PM on December 5 [16 favorites]


bla bla bla chinese democracy bla bla doctor pepper bla bla bla shit-show bla.
posted by rude.boy at 12:52 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I don't like cheesecake.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 12:58 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


bad day to be a Cheesecake Foreman
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:59 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


Everyone in this story is the WORST. The cheesecake is also the worst. I am a worse person for knowing about it. Surely the end of the world is at hand.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:01 PM on December 5 [14 favorites]


I've been to the Cheesecake Factory many a time over the years, but oddly, I've never had the cheesecake. Today is not, I suppose, going to be that day. I heard about this ahead of time and reminded myself to do it, but luckily something warned me off the idea.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:04 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Pity the cheesecake factory servers/service-workers.
posted by Fizz at 1:05 PM on December 5 [17 favorites]


So then I got this idea about driving a cheesecake truck...
posted by bondcliff at 1:06 PM on December 5 [23 favorites]


Contrast with 7-11's lowkey free Slurpees on July 11th promo which has a relatively low non-diabetes death toll and net increase in consumer happiness
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:07 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: Everyone in this story is the WORST. The _________ is also the worst. I am a worse person for knowing about it. Surely the end of the world is at hand.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:08 PM on December 5 [33 favorites]


Previously and related thread covering an epic rant concerning Cheesecake Factory's interior design choices: "The interior is a world of aesthetic chaos"
posted by notyou at 1:09 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Everyone's not the worst. Some of those people are trying to do their jobs. I know this panic. The cleanup from something like this is the worst.

Think about how your idea will scale before you make your proclamation. Bah.
posted by wellred at 1:11 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


Does this even work? Like, are the cheapskates who want free cheesecake really going to turn into repeat customers? Or is the idea just to get Cheesecake Factory in the news so that people are like "oh, I haven't been to Cheesecake Factory in a while..."
posted by jcreigh at 1:11 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Whatever this is, I blame neoliberalism for it.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:15 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


I specifically avoid things like this for this reason. Same for free cone day at Ben & Jerrys. My time is more valuable than whatever's on offer so I'd really just rather pay for something when I want it.

The people complaining need to realize that if the worst thing in your day is not getting free cheesecake, you're doing pretty good.
posted by mikesch at 1:19 PM on December 5 [32 favorites]


This is why I never put anything on Craigslist or Nextdoor for free.
$5 is OK, but whisper "free" and the crazies come out.
posted by w0mbat at 1:31 PM on December 5 [15 favorites]


I would seriously watch the hell out of a show that cataloged stuff like this.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:34 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Is this the mass arrests that the QAnon wackos predicted for today? I mean, it's cheesecake and not pizza, but...both are round and cheesy!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:39 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Also I'm not sure I've ever been to a Cheesecake Factory but according to my coworkers the menu is a novel. My favorite part:

Everyone usually goes straight to the back of the menu to look at the list of cheesecakes, but if you check two pages before the desserts there’s this bizarre page that just lists the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team. I’ve always been a fan of that team, but it has very little to do with the Cheesecake Factory brand. Next to that is the complete set of lyrics to “MMMBop” by Hanson. I thought maybe there was going to be a karaoke hour or something, but it never happened. This seems like a page they could probably do without.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:41 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Ben & Jerry's Free Ice Cream Day usually goes off without loss of life, and that stuff's way better than the factory cheesecake.
Why can't we all just get along??
posted by MtDewd at 1:47 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I kinda steer clear of these kinds of promos now. A few years ago a Facebook friend alerted me to one, all you had to do was post a certain hashtag on Twitter and you'd get a free sandwich delivered. You wouldn't get to choose what sandwich, but hey, free food. After I posted, there was a DM asking for delivery info. A while later a very exhausted and harried delivery guy shows up with a nice chicken parm sandwich from Ranalli's. He asked if I'd ordered from "some kind of promotion," and I said yes. He said the restaurants hadn't been told this was going to happen, they just started getting flooded with online orders. And when I tipped him, he said he'd been doing these deliveries all day and I was the first to tip him! (It was around 8:00pm.)

So now any promo like this just looks like a huge scam to me.
posted by dnash at 1:54 PM on December 5 [20 favorites]


> The people complaining need to realize that if the worst thing in your day is not getting free cheesecake, you're doing pretty good.

10/7/17 NEVAR FORGET
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:55 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


I saw the promotion for this a couple of days ago. It claimed it would run through December 11th or until they gave out 40,000 pieces of cheesecake. December 11th. Those sweet summer children actually thought it might take almost a week to give away 40,000 free pieces of cheesecake. That you don’t even have to leave your house to get.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:56 PM on December 5 [21 favorites]


Personally, I prefer all my food be prepared in a factory!
posted by misterpatrick at 2:01 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


I am amused by how all of the included tweets are basically mad that the various Factories are putting utterly reasonable limits on the promotion. "THIS LOCATION IS PRIORITIZING THEIR IN-HOUSE CUSTOMERS!!!" Well, uh, considering that they're actually paying for shit...
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:07 PM on December 5 [16 favorites]


I can't stop thinking about the "cry me a River" tweet. The idea is that Cheesecake Factory are being eye-rollingly... communist, by making sure people have a fair chance at free piece, which has caused this person to be mad because she didn't get HER free slice, and is now... crying a River? But would rather those freeloaders in the other areas be crying a River... or something.

It's a beautiful puzzle.
posted by ominous_paws at 2:22 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


One time I got “free” ice cream for Ice Cream Day at Ben & Jerry’s I think and they had clearly just bought several large containers of the cheapest, grossest, watery-est ice cream they could get. I wouldn’t trust anything like this at this point here in 2018 where it’s a known fact that we cannot have nice things.
posted by bleep at 2:57 PM on December 5 [5 favorites]


In 1981 there was a Super Promotional Event at Glass Block in Duluth. My soon-to-be wife wanted a set of china, which were being sold for the bargain price of $40 (yes, it was not fine china). Since I worked nights and the sale started promptly at some early hour (maybe 0900?) I offered to go and get it.

I stood in line outside and when the doors opened I was swept inside by a tidal wave of people, mostly ladies of a certain age (I was in my early 20's). I was shocked at the behavior of these ladies. There was no acknowledgement of our shared humanity and one actually gave me a pretty stiff elbow in the side to clear the way around the china table, which was heaped high with boxes.

I ended up buying a green-and-white set which I believe we never used even once. It was a valuable lesson, though, and has kept me from shopping on the Black Friday and at other "promotional events."

I think whoever it was that said "maybe they were just looking to create some buzz" had it right. They knew it would be a chrome-plated shit show and they were happy about it. Note that "they" here refers to CF Corporate, not the poor customer-facing folks.

As an aside, I have had cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory when I was forced to go for some family event and it was fine. Not Carnegie Deli quality, but fine. (I don't know who defines "quality cheesecake" now that CD is out of business).
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 3:50 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


no gluten free? pass
posted by robbyrobs at 3:54 PM on December 5


When I worked at Subway 20 years ago there was a week-long half-price promotion

Jesus, my stint working at one during high school included the 'Jared years' and that was well nigh bad enough.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:02 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


This is why I never put anything on Craigslist or Nextdoor for free.
$5 is OK, but whisper "free" and the crazies come out.


Free has worked for me, but only as "curb alert" posts. I've watched people show up at the crack of dawn to fight each other over my junk out on the sidewalk. I would never ever let them inside.
posted by candyland at 4:54 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


To be fair, Clarendon is usually a trainwreck.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:12 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


"As God is my witness, I thought cheesecakes could fly."
posted by kurumi at 5:16 PM on December 5 [13 favorites]


Today was also $.50 corn dog day at Sonic. There was no blood, only mediocre corn dogs. I win, I think.
posted by Grandysaur at 6:29 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


This has nothing on the yearly mayhem of the Filene’s Basement annual wedding dress sale. Gone but not forgotten by those who yet wear its scars (if not the dresses).
posted by wenestvedt at 6:41 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I've been through the Ben and Jerry's free day and the 7-11 free day. I think at this point those folks know exactly what they are doing and engineer everything so it has minimal loss of life.

B&J:
* I don't think they offered EVERYTHING on the menu, just a limited menu
* Which they passed around in the line so you could figure out what you were getting beforehand.
* Line went out the door but there was a large lawn area at our former B&J to accommodate all of that.
* Expect huge crowds all day.

7-11:
* Offered very small cups for the free Slurpees
* Basically the one here set it up as a circle to move 'em in, move 'em out to go to the machine, dispense, leave.
* Expect huge crowds all day.

I don't know squat about what Door Dash is, but I can't imagine that they were prepared on their first day for the enormous demands of everyone in our world now. I suspect a delivery service would have a fucking nightmarish time accommodating everyone and there'd be no way to streamline the demand. "Move 'em in, move 'em out" probably doesn't work so well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on December 5


King Missile, Cheesecake Truck (YT)
posted by garbhoch at 7:50 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Of all the self discipline I have cultivated in this lifetime, I think that "choosing to ignore offers for free anything" is among the top five contributors to my emotional well-being.
posted by davejay at 8:00 PM on December 5 [10 favorites]


I’ve never seen a frozen carbonated beverage machine that could keep up with the demand on 7-11 day. You walk in and every machine is out of order because they’re not cold enough.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:39 PM on December 5


So then I got this idea about driving a cheesecake truck...

King Missile, Cheesecake Truck (YT)

I should point out by the way
That all of these cheesecakes were very delicious

Anyway, I decided that the only thing to do
Would be to eat all the rest of the cheesecakes
And hide the truck somewhere and leave town

Yaaaaas, my people...
posted by loquacious at 9:47 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


When I had my brief and totally insane stint with Postmates they did promos like this, and it was a nightmare and an absolute unit of a (stealing this, thanks) chrome plated shit show.

The free delivery promos especially sucked because no one would tip at all for those orders, and tips on regular orders were rare enough because people just don't tip in addition to the delivery fee.

They did one once for some kind of free coffee delivery in the middle of winter in Seattle. So mix up high coffee demand demographic, very frosty almost snowing weather, delivering free coffee mainly by wildly untrained "contract" bicycle delivery workers desperate enough for the work and what you get is a bunch of late, cold coffee, a bunch of pissed off coffee shop workers and zero tips and a whole lot of accelerating the entropy and heat death of the local universe.

Sometimes I swear to J.R. Bob Dodds there's some unholy alliance with meetings going on between actual millennial snake people and sepulchral neoliberal-capitalist boomers where they discuss in excruciating detail exactly how badly they're going to fuck with late stage capitalism with further disruptive applications of technology. Whole new excitingly acute angles of barrels and ways to be bent over one, all on the whiteboard.
posted by loquacious at 10:08 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


Once, I suggested to a friend (who was dropping me off and had failed to buy her husband a birthday present) that she stop at the Cheesecake factory (close to my place) and buy him a cake. I did notice the police cars outside, but I thought "well, they're changing up from the ol' doughnut thing." Nuh. The Cheesecake factory had been robbed (of cash) and they were fingerprinting the cash register, so even though there were LOTS of cheesecakes there, they couldn't sell her any, because they'd need to ring it up. May as well have said "No cheesecake for you!"
posted by b33j at 12:08 AM on December 6


Honestly it seems like a bad idea for an industrial setting like a cheesecake factory to be selling direct to customers any way, they should open some sort of commercial shop or restaurant premises
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:44 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of Jean Shepherd's Ice Cream War story (Youtube) of Depression-era Indiana. He told the story several times over the years and there is a written version in ''A Fistful of Fig Newtons".
posted by plastic_animals at 7:04 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Jean Shepherd's Ice Cream War story (Youtube) of Depression-era Indiana. He told the story several times over the years and there is a written version in ''A Fistful of Fig Newtons".

Ok, this just needs a [fake] or [real] tag because good grief.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:15 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


This is why I never put anything on Craigslist or Nextdoor for free.
$5 is OK, but whisper "free" and the crazies come out.


It's funny, I've had the opposite experience. Give something away for free, and people are usually pretty polite; but if you charge even a trivial amount of money, suddenly people think they are entitled to a Customer Service Experience in addition to acquiring your old shit. They don't just want to buy an old couch, they want to discuss its provenance. Suddenly they expect you to help them load it into their car, and once it's in there then they'll haggle over the price. Ugh.

And yeah I really feel for all the delivery drivers. Can't imagine many of them did very well, tip-wise, on any of these orders.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:57 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


The jump from "somebody offered me x for free" to "I am entitled to x for free" is a swift and brutal one, huh

I have been reflecting a lot, this year, on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Under conditions of scarcity, it's really easy to get envious of other people who are the recipients of unexpected generosity, and to be angry with the giver of gifts. And the bit of the brain that says "I am being unfairly deprived of something I deserve" is pretty easy to trigger with facially unequal treatment, whether "deserving" comes into it or not.
posted by brainwane at 1:20 PM on December 6


RolandOfEld: "Ok, this just needs a [fake] or [real] tag because good grief."

I think Shepherd's stuff is usually "something along these lines had happened, but it's been amped up to maee a good story."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 PM on December 6


Metafilter: Whatever this is, I blame neoliberalism for it.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:51 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


Free Slurpee Day is semi-controlled chaos and that's after years of trying to perfect the strategy. My dad had a couple franchises and 7-Eleven was pretty good with support and supply. We always had extra cups leftover. I still have tons in my cupboards. The roughest part was when the machines would finally catch up and a teacher would bring their entire kindergarten class in. The regular customers we could handle. The 20-30 kids at a time was more difficult. My dad left the biz before Bring Your Own Cup Day became a thing but that seemed to have way more potential for chaos due to more unknown elements at play.
posted by MaritaCov at 5:51 AM on December 9


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