♥ Valentine Adventures ♥ (White Tower and r. tl CLOSED)

***Update: Please see end of post for SocialShopper’s reply***

We had quite an interesting Valentine’s celebration last weekend, with a few mishaps along the way…so to bring you guys the juicy (no, not that juicy) details we decided to collaborate on this one in the spirit of V-day.  I’ll go first:

So for our dinner, Hitman and I had purchased a voucher through SocialShopper for $40 worth of food and drinks at Regional Tasting Lounge, also swankily known as r.tl.  Before the purchase we had looked at their menu online to see what they had to offer.  It turns out on their regular menu they had what they called {“La Formule” for Two} which is basically a set menu for two, so we decided on that.

However, when we settled at the restaurant and ordered it, we were informed that the voucher was not valid for the “La Formule”.

We checked the voucher. It clearly says that it’s for “$40 Worth of Food and Drinks at Regional Tasting Lounge” and that it “Can’t be combined with other offers”.  We asked for clarification as the set menu was offered in their regular menu and not off of a special offers menu.

Their explanation was that it was a special offer and they can’t give a “discount over a discount”.  Now that point I understood, but we felt that what we had was a gift certificate which should be treated the same as cash at the merchant that offered it.  These types of sites negotiate discount voucher/discount gift certificates in these cases.

Now we know that we could’ve just ordered a la carte (as they wanted) at full price but we felt that r.tl in this case had offered a seemingly awesome deal to “lure” you to the restaurant, only to have you spend more money on top of what you paid on the voucher without clearly stating all the restrictions that comes with it…’cause honestly now…them being a “share plates” restaurant, you can’t really be expected to be filled up with just 2-3 plates of food between 2 people right?  And I’m sure they are fully aware of that.

We really had no qualms with spending more money than what we had originally paid for (which we ended up doing) but it really was the principle behind the situation in addition to an incomplete and insincere explanation that made us walk out and take our business elsewhere.

One of the reasons they gave was that they change up their menu every few months but…they can’t say that it’s not part of their regular menu or that it’s a special offer because that is just their thing!  The restaurant’s theme is that they change up their menu every 3 months or so…if that’s the case then nothing on their menu is “regular” and they’re all a “limited time offer”

So just curious, what do you guys think??

Hello everyone, Hitman Howdy here with part two of our Valentine’s day debacle.  After the incident at r.tl. we decided we weren’t going to let them ruin our night and I had the bright idea of going to a restaurant I was familiar with when I was a kid: White Tower pizza.  It also serves Greek food and I had been extolling the virtues of moussaka to Wendy so we figured we would go give it a try.  Couldn’t get any worse than our non-experience at r.tl. right?  Right???

There was a White Tower location on Vancouver Island that was a family fave back in the day, and I remembered it being suitably romantic with low lights and cozy atmosphere.  Maybe a 13 year old’s idea of romance is very different than a grown man’s or maybe these places REALLY vary by location, but whichever the case this particular White Tower on Robson had all the atmosphere of a sports bar, replete with bright cafeteria lighting, curling playing on the flat screen TVs and a random sticker somebody had plastered on the Greek urn near our table.

White Tower: tzatziki, hommous and pita bread

White Tower: pita bread

But whatever that, we were there for the Moussaka($15)!  Started off with some complimentary tzatziki, hommous and pita bread (on the house with purchase of two entrees).  Wendy loved the pitas and the hommous was nice, garnished with a few greek olives.  Tzatziki pretty tasty as well and no complaints there.  Healthy portions of both as well.

White Tower: Moussaka with Greek salad, roast potatoes, and rice

White Tower: pita bread

The complimentary pita with the entrees (different from the ones with the hommus and tzatziki) were looking quite crispy too -_-

Our Moussaka came out and mine was literally charred to a crisp.  I told the waiter it was too burnt to eat, in fact I was surprised they even brought it out of the kitchen.  He took it back and told us they would make me a new one; also inquired about Wendy’s but hers looked fine so we dug into that and shared across the table.  However as soon as we got to the bottom we noticed the eggplant layer was burnt and hard as a rock, completely inedible.  Like literally couldn’t cut through it.  It was at least another ten minutes before my new Moussaka was brought out (would have been nice to have a complimentary appetizer of whatever was available in the kitchen immediately to tide me over while Wendy ate)…this one also burnt albeit not quite as badly as the first.  And minus the complimentary tzatziki that came with it the first time they brought it out.  Decided to just bite our tongues this time and just leave without a tip.  However even getting out of there was a chore…waiting and waiting on the waiter.  Two tables adjacent to ours were also complaining to themselves about the lack of service so it wasn’t just the bad mood we were in by this point tainting our POV.

Next thing you know I hear a retching sound coming from another table and someone yelling, “oh my god he’s puking!”, and the waiter rushing to usher someone out.  Two drunken Korean men had been seated there and one had evidently vomited on the table.  He left quickly but his friend was stuck with the bill…he just kept yelling, “I’M SOOO SORRY!  I’M SO SORRY!!!”, and refused to leave even after the bill had been dealt with so our waiter had to physically throw him out the door.

We had decided to save some of the dip for when we got home and get this, they very obviously shorted us on our doggy bag!  Guess about half the dip went back in the pot…or into the garbage out of spite for our lack of tip.  Either way…wow.  Salad was good! 😛  Back to Wendy for dessert…

Bubble World Bubble Tea

For dessert Hitman, being the sweetheart he is, suggested we get bubble tea since he knows I was in a pretty crappy mood by now, and that I ♥ bubble tea! I immediately felt my mood change for the better and knew EXACTLY where to go, close to here…..BUBBLE WORLD!!!!  You can read my review of the Burnaby Bubble World for more pics and info.  They’re probably my favorite bubble tea place of all time as they have lots of choices for add-ins (pearls, coconut jelly of various flavors, konjac jelly, rainbow jelly, coffee jelly, plus others I can’t recall) and they have consistently perfectly cooked pearls…perfectly sweetened and chewy…

So to initiate Hitman to Bubble World, I saw a poster on the front for their Fresh Taro Slush (one of my favorite flavors) so I ordered that for him with added konjac jelly.  Now here’s a “pro-tip” (according to Hitman =P)…the taro they use is already sweetened, so when you order this, ask them to not add ANY syrup to it.  Trust me.  He said he really liked it lol, especially the no-calorie part of the konjac jelly!  I personally really like the consistency of konjac jelly too.

As for me I picked the Brown Rice Matcha (cold) with coffee jelly.  Now although I asked for less sweet, it was still really sweet.  I think it’s  because of the syrup the coffee jelly was in.  Nonetheless I still really liked it because it turns out, it was made with actual maybe grounded up brown rice or something…cuz there’s bits of pieces of it at the bottom to chew on!!  There was actually a lovely aroma of tea to it.  I think I’ve found a new flavor to obsess on =)

So in the end our Valentine’s celebration ended well (probably all due to the bubble tea =D) and it will for sure be memorable, great to talk about later on ♥

Oh and sorry for the long post…kudos to you if you got through it all…but hey it’s been a while since I’ve blogged so why not come back with a bang right??  =D

Update:  We have since contacted SocialShopper regarding the issue, also asking them to keep as posted as to what they themselves have done with r.tl to resolve this problem (the false advertising).  The reply we got was less than sincere.   In essence, they basically told us that they’re refunded our voucher, so drop it.  We have since unsubscribed from SocialShopper.  Here’s all the fun details:

From: info@socialshopper.com
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:17:49 -0700
Subject: Re: socialshopper.com – Contact Message
To:

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for your message. Your voucher has been refunded. We have spoken to the manager about the issue.

Have a great day, please let us know if you require further assistance, and thanks for being a SocialShopper!
Best,
Alexis H
Customer Care
SocialShopper
 
 
Office: 1.800.493.3307 ext. 101

On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Wendy . <> wrote:
Thank you for the refund.  I’m curious as to how my complaint was resolved?  I would like to feel confident in continuing to use your site for future purchases so please email back and let me know if you have taken steps to assure this kind of false advertising won’t be allowed.


From: info@socialshopper.com
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2012 10:44:15 -0800
Subject: Re: socialshopper.com – Contact Message
To:

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for your message. I will contact the vendor now to find out what happened in your case. In the mean time we do have a 60 day refund policy so if you were no allowed to use the vouchers then we can refund them.

We are going to go ahead with your refund of 1  voucher purchase(s) for Regional Tasting Lounge. We take customer satisfaction very seriously, and we will always do all that is within our power to make sure your purchase is a pleasant one. Your request has been forwarded to our I.T. team. You will receive an email once the transaction has been completed. Please note, it can take up to 10 business days for a refund to show on your credit card statement.


Have a great day, please let us know if you require further assistance, and thanks for being a SocialShopper!
Best,
Alexis H
Customer Care
SocialShopper


On Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at 9:04 PM, <> wrote:

Name: Wendy
Email:
City: Vancouver
Reason: Problems with your purchase

Message:

I purchased a certificate for Regional Tasting Lounge (voucher code: ) through your site on Dec.19 2011 but they have refused to honor it.  Before purchasing I went to the restaurant’s website and looked over the menu with my boyfriend, then decided on the La Formule dinner for two listed here:  http://www.r.tl/dinner.pdf  We attempted to redeem it for a Valentine’s dinner last Sunday Feb. 12 2012 and ordered the La Formule dinner from their menu in restaurant.  Several minutes later the waitress returned and told us that this wasn’t available through our certificate as it was a “special” and we would have to order each item a la carte at full price.  We went over the fine print on the certificate with her and asked to be shown where it stated that we were restricted with what we could order.  The only thing any of us could find on the certificate referring to what the certificate could be used for was “$40 worth of food and drinks” and “cannot combine with any other offer”.  So she went to speak with the manager however he insisted that we couldn’t order.  We took a photo of the menu in restaurant and also saved a pdf file from their site which we can include in further correspondence if necessary to show that what we ordered is not off-menu.  I would like my money refunded and hope that you can settle this issue with RTL so that future potential customers aren’t taken in by phony deals.  Please keep me posted on how you resolve this matter so that I can rest assured that I’m safe in future purchases with your site.  Thank you.


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One Response

  1. One of the things going for Groupon/Groupon copycats was exactly what you mentioned–that people knew they were buying the equivalent of gift certificates. I’ve started seeing “fine print” on a few of them recently that makes them more like Entertainment Book coupons. Try complaining to Social Shopper about it…they seem to take these types of complaints seriously.

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