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Finances & Money

Entertainment Book Tip: Call Ahead

I wrote before about how we save money dining out by using coupon books. However, one thing we’ve found since using the Entertainment Book is that the book isn’t always up-to-date.

For example, once in each of the last 3 years, we’ve driven between 10-15 miles to go to a restaurant only to find out that it’s no longer open, or hasn’t opened for business yet (i.e. it’s brand new). We tended to find this out closer to that book’s expiration date, so it’s understandable for a restaurant to shut down within a full year. But we wasted all that time and money driving there.

Another example of the book’s flaws happened recently when we drove about 15 miles north to India Palace Restaurant in Germantown, MD. We went there last year with the book and really enjoyed the food. The restaurant was in this year’s book again so we decided to go up again for dinner.

We got there, ordered and ate dinner, and then when it was time to bring out the check, I showed the discount card (it used the card, not the coupon), and the waiter said they no longer accept the Entertainment Book discount. This was news to me since it’s listed in the book! He even replied that there’s a sign on the door stating so, but why would we be looking for a sign? Apparently the folks at Entertainment Book just reprinted a bunch of discounts from last year without checking with the restaurants first, and this particular restaurant didn’t want to continue its participation.

It was our fault for not showing the card up-front like the book suggests that we do, but it still would have meant a 30 mile roundtrip drive when we could have gone somewhere much closer. But not all was lost on this trip. They gave us a $10 gift certificate, which was more than the price of the meal we would have gotten free anyway! Granted, it still means to use the certificate, we need to drive back up there and buy a meal, so it still costs us, but it was a nice gesture.

Lesson Learned

As the headline suggests, the lesson here is to call ahead to make sure they’re open and they accept the discount. It’s only by experience that we’re learning these things as we’ve just taken for granted that the Entertainment Book knows what it’s talking about. However, restaurants go out of business all the time so they can’t come to your house and update your book for you.

About the author

Clever Dude

5 Comments

  • Good tip!

    I only plan to go to restaurants if I have a coupon for it–so if I accidentally go somewhere that doesn’t use an Entertainment Book coupon (if I think it does) then it’s a wasted trip, and wasted money.

  • We went to a restaurant a few weeks ago (the Italian joint on Viers Mill) and the same thing happened, but at least these guys didn’t lie like your restaurant did: it’s the restaurant’s responsibility to not renew, and ours goofed. They still refused to accept the coupon (but gave in and offered a 15% discount instead), so I called Entertainment and they refunded the book’s purchase price right back to the credit card. Had that failed, I would have filed a chargeback for the restaurant on my card, especially since they admitted it was their fault.

  • Awesome Tip. I’m a huge user of the Entertainment book and luckily never came across any problems but the problem you had with the India restaurant is awful. You would think they would bite the bullet for the year and just not advertise in it anymore.

    Just think of it, they are basically advertising with a coupon that can’t be used, I wouldn’t even eat there, I would have left 😉

  • Wow, you all are cheap cheap cheap!! So because the coupon would not work you would file a chargeback? Stores that are going bankrupt are not accepting their gift cards anymore so are you going to go into there and buy a whole bunch of stuff and file a chargeback? Get over it…you ate it, take the loss and cry a river…Cheapskate!

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