After almost a week of accepting numerous newspaper coupons for free ice cream, the Cold Stone Creamery at 1444 W. Tennessee St. stopped accepting them before the coupons expired.
The Famuan ran a Cold Stone advertisement containing two coupons Oct. 21. One coupon was for a free “Like It” or “Love It” creation, one was for a free waffle bowl or cone with the purchase of a creation, both expired Oct. 28.
The FSView & Florida Flambeau ran the same advertisement Monday Oct. 24, which was also set to expire on the 28th.
As word spread about the free ice cream, students from both Universities began to visit the location, which lowered the amount of the store’s revenue.
But when students with coupons went to the Tennessee Street Cold Stone on Thursday Oct. 27, they were met with an unwanted surprise. A sign on both entrance doors stated that the advertisements ran on the wrong days, and the coupons would no longer be taken.
“They were run the wrong day in error. It was our error,” Cecil Rolle, owner of both Cold Stone stores in Tallahassee, said about the coupons that were supposed to run on the 27th. “They were supposed to be a two-day ad.” Rolle said Cold Stone has an advertisement schedule and they sent the advertisement on the wrong date.
The reason the coupons ran at all was “to thank FAMU and FSU for making us the number one store in the nation,” Rolle said.
The location in Tallahassee Mall continued to accept the coupon, while the Tennessee Street location closer to FSU’s campus ended the deal early.
Rolle said Cold Stone ended the coupon offer because of all the money the business lost during the duration of the advertisement.
“The sales went up but there’s no revenue.” Rolle said, citing that although his gross sales went up, taxable sales did not. “That’s the money we put in the bank. You can’t give away a product for five days and make a profit.”
SGA Vice President Phillip Agnew, 20, visited the location on Tennessee Street. He said although the coupons were not meant to run on the dates they did, Cold Stone should still honor them.
Agnew, a junior business administration student from Chicago, said he knew students whose first time going to Cold Stone was during the time the advertisement ran.
He believes that Cold Stone may have lost potential customers during the two days they refused to take the coupons.
“All the FAMU students that he could have gained, he may have lost in these two days,” Agnew said. “If it was a mistake on his part, they should take it (the coupons).”
Agnew is not a usual Cold Stone customer, so he does not think this incident will affect his business there. But he does think Rolle owes FAMU students an apology.
“I don’t really go to Cold Stone that much. I probably would go less because of this,” Agnew said. If the store could not handle an advertisement of this size, they should have never ran it,” Agnew said. He called Cold Stone not taking valid coupons false advertising.
Rolle said it was not false advertising because the coupon is not legally binding. “A coupon is not a contract, it’s an offer,” Rolle said.
The Famuan’s program assistant, Valerie McEachin, handles all advertisements that run in the newspaper, including the Cold Stone coupons. McEachin said Rolle was the one who initiated and signed the advertisement before he sent it.
“It was initiated Oct. 10,” McEachin said. “It was to run on the 21st which it did. There was no manipulation.”
As for Rolle refusing the coupons, McEachin agreed with Agnew and said that it was false advertising.
If someone were to go to any other store with a valid coupon, the store would have to take the coupon, McEachin said.
She said, “As far as I’m concerned they have to hold to their advertising.”
Contact Brandon Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org