A brand new frozen yogurt store in Cabbagetown pulled the old bait and switch on what felt like hottest day of the year, refusing to honour free yogurt coupons handed out all over the neighborhood.
For the past few weeks, Cabbagetown residents have been eagerly awaiting the opening of a new frozen yogurt establishment on Parliament St. Ever since the an independent ice cream store closed (victim of the proprietors breaking up) the area has been sadly without an ice cream store. Leslieville and St. Clair West residents happily eat frozen deserts this long, hot summer while Cabbagetowners suffer from an extreme lack of cooling treats . Yogurty’s has sported a ‘opening soon’ sign all season, and excitement was building. Other local businesses werehanging out coupons, which read “Free! Frozen Yogurt, toppings, prizes , DJ and entertainment” August 1st, 4-6 PM.
My younger brothers were visiting, and hoping to save some money on frozen treats, so we grabbed some extra coupons from Jet Fuel and headed over. The coupons only worked from 4 to 6, so we had to time our visit just right. It is of course, about 30 degrees outside plus humidity.
Weirdly no DJ or entertainment were in evidence, but we went in the store anyway. This is a self-serve kind of yogurt place, and one is supposed to go the back of the building, fill up a cup with yogurt and special sprinkles, and then wait in line for about 10 minutes. Many families were doing this, coupons in hand. However, when people reached the front of the line they were suddenly told that their coupons were no good, and that they had to pay. Having waited in line for 10 minutes staring at their melting, delicious looking yogurts, many of the cheated customers ponied up. People with small children weren’t about to tell their toddlers that they suddenly couldn’t get the frozen yogurt they’d been salivating over in the long line up.
The manager offered no reason for the cancellation, merely saying the opening had been changed and that they couldn’t honour the coupons, and did not inform other people who were in line.
This is a scam of the worst kind- coupons handed out for weeks and then not honoured, for no reason, after. Worse, people had to pay by weight and some ended up paying $5-7 for their bait and switch purchases. Most customers came up with the money, especially those with children or who were teenagers. Other teenagers, wearing Regent Park t-shirts, left empty handed and disappointed.
Its doubtful that this kind of behavior is going to go over well in Cabbagetown. where local businesses like Johnny J’s depend on long term repeat customer base and personal neighborhood feel. On the other hand, in one of the hottest summers on record, are people going to boycott a frozen desert store no matter how ripped off they feel? We shall see.
I didn’t get to test out the actual yogurt as I felt cheated. Maybe I’ll go get a freezie from the convenience store. At least it won’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.
UPDATE: In a twitter exchange on my account (@meganysta) re: this yogurt travesty (#firstworldproblems) Yogurty's Froyo corporate apologized. "We understand there was lots of confusion & upset ppl last night- it was an error on our part. Our sincere apologies" after having claimed the event was cancelled. I am happy that corporate apologized, but I'm not sure how this local cabbagetown one (whose staff were not understanding at all) propose to make this up to myself and to the local community who they ripped off and made a lot of money off yesterday afternoon. Simply moving the free launch part that was cancelled to another 2 hour window isn't going to cut it for me. Also, if one cancels an event one should try and ensure that promotional material for the event is removed from the coffee shop next door, and that people entering the store are informed that they will have to pay for thier dessert long before. Yogurty's made a lot of money yesterday off the people in this community and I'm not sure an apology is enough.