Wednesday, May 06, 2009

They Do Chicken Right. Coupons? Not So Much...

A friend turned me onto a cool promotion today: KFC, in an effort to hawk its new grilled chicken in a big way, had a website where you could go and supposedly print a coupon for a free meal featuring the grilled chicken. (And if you go to the site, don't let the association with the Oprah Winfrey Show scare you; I'm not by any means a viewer, and I'm sure my friend who told me about it isn't either. But news of free food spreads fast, no matter the source.) Anyway, that's all you had to do--go to the site, print the coupon. Sounds easy, right?

If only. Let me list the things I experienced today while not printing the coupon:
  • At least ten "site too busy; come back later" errors.

  • Probably twice that many "cannot open the page because the server dropped the connection" errors.

  • The coupon was being handled by a third-party site,, that required you to install their special software on your computer, ostensibly because each coupon had a unique bar code so you couldn't go print a hundred of them and pass them out to your office or something. I installed the software successfully, according to my computer, but hitting the "print coupons" button returned me to the page that said I hadn't installed their software yet. (I even did so a second time, with the same results.)

  • Once I finally got to the page that should have printed it, I was told that I had an unsupported browser--this despite the fact that I was using the only browser (Safari) listed for my OS (Mac OS "10.3 or higher"). I even tried it on (unsupported) Firefox and actually got a bit farther through the process than I did with Safari--but still no coupon.

  • Eventually, I must have passed my quota of hitting the print button, because I was told on each browser that I had surpassed the number of allowed times to print the coupon, even though I never had jack squat come through my printer.

  • And for the nasty icing on this rancid cake, my attempts to send a complaint message to yielded nothing but error messages themselves!
I know I'm not the only person who had trouble with this; Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun had the same problem, as did a legion of commenters to his post (which was also punctuated by snarky trolls whose basic thought was "quit whining and go spend five bucks already!").

This isn't exactly a shining moment for either KFC, which is obviously trying hard to remake its image (since lots of people know that the F stands for "fried"), and, which didn't exactly win any friends either. I did submit a "comment" to KFC on their page, so we'll see what happens.

Did any other Musings reader try this? And if so, did you have any luck? Let me know in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I stopped doing the download coupon thing a while ago.......too many establishments refused to honor the "e-coupon" after I went to all the trouble! I assume it's because they can't really enforce the once to a customer?

Kev said...

I did read in Hancock's piece about a few glitches with this, but the whole point of having to download the software was that it was supposed to generate unique barcode numbers for each coupon. I've never had trouble having one accepted before, except for one time when I accidentally printed one a second time.

This KFC one definitely wasn't worth all the time I put into it, especially since I never ended up getting one.