I don’t think they actually give away free lunches

You know how lunch spots always have a big bowl for throwing in your business card? It’s right there as you pay. The idea is that you throw in your card and you can win a free lunch. With the promise of a drawing every single week (or some variation).

Well, I’m convinced that they don’t actually give away the free lunches. I’ve never won anything from throwing my card in the glass bowl and I’ve been to my fair share of restaurants.

What’s even worse is that I’ve noticed a new trend. Restaurants have the bowl for cards but no explanation or card that says what happens with the information (No privacy policy? Shocking!). People must be so used to the gimmick that they mindlessly throw in their card.

Or maybe it’s because when people get cards printed they have 900 more than they will ever use and it’s a great way to dispose of the cards. What I want to know is whether you’ve actually won a free lunch before?

8 responses to “I don’t think they actually give away free lunches”

  1. No.. but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve never remembered to bring a card to put in one of those things… ever. It’s sad, really.

  2. It’s just as well you’ve never won one. The dirty little secret about them is that most of them are a “free lunch” to sit and listen to a presentation by a personal finance consultant, banker, insurance agent, etc.

    Oftentimes, the sales guy in question goes into a restaurant, asks for permission to put a bowl in and then sifts through the cards they get. “Winners” are chosen by job title and relative prospect strength.

    I have different cards for consulting than I do for “business owner” in the various small companies I own for various purposes (most have no employees and very little revenue). I usually get a quick box of cards for each business when I set them up (reason unimportant, but I do).

    What’s relevant about that is that when I dump in my “web consultant, writer and geek” cards, I don’t ever “win”. However, when I drop in “Vice President”, “President”, “CEO”, etc. cards, I do “win”.

    Since those job roles are prime for many of the services of the owners of the fishbowls, I suddenly filter to the top of the list.

    I stopped when I figured this out as all of the calls notifying me of being a winner were clearly sourced from those better titles.

  3. Yeah… it is slightly rigged.

    I’ve won a couple times, but one was actually worth it. It was lunch for 10 people, and the guy had it down to a science.

    When we came in, he had pre-printed menus waiting at the table. We circled our selections, and he gave us a quick pitch while we waited for our sandwiches. Then he was left us to eat in peace. He even mentioned the procedure over the phone so as not to scare me off with the thought of an hour long pitch.

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