Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LivingCocial UnCorks Confusion with Coupon Deal

In some respects, Logan Circle residents have an embarrassment of riches: numerous top-rated restaurants and bars, great shopping options, a thriving arts scene, and two similarly named wine retailers. Recently, that last one led to a bit of confusion for people who didn't read the fine print--or, in this case, the name of the establishment.

A few weeks ago, local Deal of the Day purveyor LivingSocial announced a deal that many Logan Circle wine lovers couldn't pass up: $25 worth of food and wine at a Logan Circle wine merchant with the word "Cork" in the name for only $10. Sounds like a great deal, and it was snatched up by a number of area residents eager to get a deal on their favorite wines and gourmet foods at local wine merchants Cork Market.

A slight problem arose when these purchasers went to Cork Market to redeem their coupon: the coupon was actually for Cork and Fork, an entirely different retailer located a few blocks south of Cork Market's 14th and S street location. The situation presented a dilemma to Cork Market's owner Khalid Pitts.

"People started coming in expecting to redeem this coupon they had purchased for what they thought was our store," Pitts said. "When we realized what had happened, we kind of had that moment of awkwardness where no one is quite sure what to do."

Ultimately Pitts decided to accept the coupons at his store.

"When they learned that the coupon they had purchased wasn't for us, people were saying things like 'Oh, we wouldn't have bought it if we realized it wasn't for your store.' We're very grateful to have such loyal customers, so we decided to accept the coupons anyway."

In all, Pitts estimates that "at least 30" people made the mistake but were allowed to redeem their coupons at Cork Market. So, is this the latest chapter in a rivalry between the two closely named 14th Street wine merchants?

"Well, we both know that the other one is there...but really we're just trying to be good neighbors. I think the biggest difference between them and us is that Logan is our neighborhood--we live here. So it means a lot to us to have relationships with our neighbors and customers."

Pitts also mentioned a couple of upcoming events at Cork Market, including its first-ever beer tasting next month.

As for the LivingSocial subscribers: next time, you might want to read the offer a bit more carefully.


Anonymous said...

That's a shame -- Cork & Fork is a lot better than Cork Market, and could really use the business.

Erica Amina said...

I agree, I LOVE Cork and Fork. Cork and Fork's staff are MUCH more pleasant and knowledgeable than Cork's. I've had nothing but bad experiences with Cork and do not shop or eat there anymore.

Tim said...

Good on Khalid. Cork has been one of my go-to places for an enjoyable evening since I moved into the neighborhood. That's just a classy move to accept the coupons that weren't for his place.

With all do respect, I don't know what the two commenters before me are talking about, I've had nothing but great experiences at Cork and their marketplace.


MattBH said...

I agree with Tim - it's great to see the owner of Cork Market accept a competitors coupon after an effort to confuse loyal customers.

If you haven't been, go to Cork Market. It's a local business and part of the neighborhood. Staff are knowledgable and friendly. Every time I go, I learn a great deal about the wines I'm drinking. I have no clue what the first commenters are on about in their complaints about Cork Market.

My big question: Why is the chain store called Cork & Fork, when they don't sell any food there? And what's with the giant screens blocking the windows? It feels like walking into a cave.

Anonymous said...

Cork Market rocks. Their staff is super helpful and even offer to print out cards for you to take home to remember the descriptions and qualities of the wines you buy. I've never seen another store go to that level.

To be honest I haven't gone to Cork&Fork before, so I can't compare it. I didn't even realize it opened because their storefront looked like they were hiding renovations or something for months. Maybe they should make themselves more approachable to the community?

Anonymous said...

I don't go to either but I agree, whomever designed Cork & Fork gets the Design Hall of Shame Award. Why on earth would you build a wall in your window? I noticed a handmade sign there the other day "WE ARE OPEN" and I thought, why not just remove the huge wall you erected in your window?