How I Paid For A Free Pizza: A Lesson in Customer Service.

As a rule of thumb, I try not to call out or attack people because I don’t want to encourage harassment. But the past of days of trying to contact Fooji for paying for a free pizza made me feel like a gullible idiot.

For those that don’t know, Fooji is a marketing company that specializes in delivering free food. They’ve worked with companies like Fox, WB, Version, and Fullscreen to deliver free food via GrubHub to Twitter followers. Folks tweet a corresponding hashtag with an emoji to the sponsor’s account and bam, free food delivered is deliver straight to their door. Using free food to promote your product is nothing new but tweeting about a TV Show like Bob’s Burgers and then giving away free burgers across the country (which they did BTW) is brilliant.

So when it came time for Paramount to promote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, they partnered up with Fooji and GrubHub to deliver Free Pizza. I tweeted, jumped through some hoops and my free pizza was on it’s way…or so I thought.

 

An hour had past after I placed my order so I decided to call up the restaurant to see what happened. As it turned out, Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria had received an order from Fooji but it was cancelled due to an issue with their servers. Fooji chooses which restaurants to deliver their Twitter followers food and they pay those restaurants a $15 credit for the cost and delivery.  I called Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria and the guy on the line told me they’d reimburse me money if I paid. So I give them my credit card info and bam, “FREE PIZZA” was delivered at my doorstep. Sadly, the delicious aroma of my Cheese Lover’s Pizza couldn’t help me get past the preverbal shakedown from Fooji. I contacted Grubhub, Fooji’s partner in charge of the order regarding the situation and they sent me this email:

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Naturally, I tried to email Fooji regarding my money but I never heard back from them. So I direct messaged their official Twitter account and this lovely conversation took place between me and the guy running the account.

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UPDATE: JUNE 4th, 2016

Within an hour after posting this blog post, I got a DM from Fooji’s Twitter site with the email address to their CEO, Gregg Morton. I emailed him this blog post detailing my frustrations and Morton responded promptly. He apologized on behalf of his team at Fooji, reimbursed me via PayPal, and we talked on the phone to clear up any assumptions either of us had. Morton explained to me that Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria minimum order requirements exceeded the money Fooji paid for my order and that the restaurant is now blacklisted from future Fooji orders (say that three times fast).

Morton also made aware to me that a gentlemen I previously sourced in this article NEVER made an order through Fooji and basically lied to score free food so his allegations have been removed. Morton apologized to me and promised to be more intensive with customer service. And I apologized for making assumptions after being made more aware of how Fooji works.

Hearing Morton’s sincerity over the phone regarding how much he cares for the fans who participate in promotions like the TMNT one made me truly believe his words. I’m a firm believer in the power of apology. To own up to ones mistakes and do better is always the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing. The kind of negligence I experienced isn’t sustainable for any company. Just ask the asshat who self-destructed Ocean Marketing after Penny Arcade exposed him for verbally harassing a customer. Business’ thrive off customers and clientele but choosing to remain silent in the hopes that your problems will forget is the very genesis of failure. Time will tell if Morton and his team will take more steps to make up for this transgression. I hope they do because their business idea is ambitious and their passionate fanbase will carry them far.

My goal for this article is that folks speak up when things go wrong. As the old saying goes, “The customer is always right.”

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