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Entertainment Guides, Generally and Discount Coupons

Entertainment Guides, Generally and Discount Coupons

Oct 2nd, 2003, 12:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Entertainment Guides, Generally and Discount Coupons

I was just reading an older thread about whether it is worthwhile to dine at 5 star restaurants, and I was wondering how many of you purchase an Entertainment Guide (or something similar) for your region. If you do, besides the usual coupons for chain restaurants, movies, dry cleaning, hotel discounts, etc., what types of restaurants and businesses participate in your region? Are the discounts for up-scale type restaurants? Are the restaurants newly established ones trying to gain a clientele or are they already established maintaining existing clienteles? Generally, if you've eaten in these restaurants once with a coupon, would you return again without a coupon?

Do you buy an Entertainment Guide annually, and do you find that you get your money's worth for your initial investment? Do you think the coupons are too restrictive?

Last night, my boyfriend and I used a $10 coupon for a Thai restaurant in Wichita. The coupon book that the coupon came from was free - it was a gift for subscribers of the local newspaper. We went to a restaurant we had never been to before, and the food was quite good and reasonably priced, and even better with a $10 discount. I was thinking that it might be worthwhile to purchase an Entertainment Guide (the local Borders is selling them for $5 off the regular price), because we go out to dinner once a week and coupons would allow us to experiment a little bit more freely.

I'd enjoy reading a dialogue on this subject. Thanks for participating.
leslie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:05 PM
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Relatives from California once gave me an entertainment book for Southwest Florida where I live. It was filled with coupons for places I wouldn't want to go, and not a single one for the really good restaurants I would normally go to (I don't just mean the expensive ones, but even really good and popular medium priced ones too).
There was a relatively new restaurant, however, which had a coupon and we had heard good things about the restaurant, so we booked a reservation there and went with our coupon. But on presenting it we were told they didn't take those any more -- with the waiter being very frank that they had enough business of their own now. Actually they even had a sign to that effect near the door, but we had missed it.

On the other hand, I found a website for Restaurant Associates in New York City, including Sea Grill with a free sign-up, and a coupon you could download for $50 off dinner, after you spent $ 50. In other words if you spent $ 100 on dinner (not hard to do) you got $50 off. We went and it was nothing short of spectacular. One of my very few coupon successes. But you have to read the coupon carefully. If the two of you spent $55 on food, they'd only pay $5 of it. But we knew it advance and splurged, knowing that everything we did over the first $50 would essentially be free and it was.
Patrick is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:13 PM
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When you use a coupon in a restaurant, how do you tip? Base it on what you pay, or the full amount as it would have been without the coupon?
BeachBoi is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:15 PM
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I believe that the suggested tip is before the discount.
leslie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:20 PM
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Definitely base your tip on the price before the discount. You probably didn't get any less service because of the coupon and why should waiter/waitress suffer?
HowardR is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:34 PM
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The Entertainment books used to be so much better 10 years ago. For NYC, for example, there used to be separate books for Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc, and of course different books for the surrounding counties of NJ and Connecticut. This year, someone gave me a book, and it is about half the size it used to be, and it included all 5 boroughs plus areas outside of NY. Counting places I know as well as places I might be willing to try, I think I found only 2 or 3 places in the book I would ever use!

When there were more choices, I definitely tried places that I had never thought to visit, and would have returned to about one third to one half of those. I assumed that was the point of these discounts--to get people who would otherwise not visit to try a place. They were generally either new restaurants, or places that had been around a long timea and were trying to drum up new business. Definitely not the "hot places" at any price range
janie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:36 PM
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You tip as though you didn't have the coupon.

I've used those coupons in Travel Savers books that are free in tourist areas. I stayed in the Fairwind Hotel in South Beach in the deco district for $54 last February. What a deal that was!
Oct 2nd, 2003, 01:38 PM
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To add to what Patrick said, living in a tourist area most people are somehow tied to the tourism industry. Chances are you know someone who owns the attraction and can get in free. Also, most locals get pretty steep discounts if they do pay. I don't think I've ever paid for 18 holes of golf in my hometown.
Oct 2nd, 2003, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 184
We get the Entertainment book for our area every year as a gift from my in-laws. We've had good luck with the fine dining section, but only use it about two or three times a year, and usually only at restaurants we've heard good things about. A lot of restaurants in it are good places, but off the beaten path, either in a far-flung suburb or small town nearby.

As far as getting your money's worth, ours cost about $20, so it wouldn't take much. Also, they are sold by churches and schools as a way to make money, so it goes to a good cause. If you can use any of the fast food, dry cleaning, or car wash coupons, it's probably worth it to buy one - if you don't get to any of the restaurants, you can still use it for something.

However, I've never had good luck using it for hotels. They either don't honor it on the night I need, or I can get the room cheaper another way (the Entertainment discount is usually 50% off rack rate).
buttercup is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 03:28 PM
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We used the Entertainment Coupon for the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver for a few nite--the regular rate was almost $300 pn-- we had to pay $125- a bargain for this 5 star hotel...

But for the most part, I have stopped buying the entertainment book as most of the restaurants were not ones we normally go to and the restrictions were so bad--ie.good only sun- thurs..

Instead, I have gone online and bid at restaurant.com for any state I want to go to--these restaurants are super in a lot of these states....
andy is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2003, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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We have gotten the entertainment book for the Orlando area for the past 3 years and have been very pleased. There are several fine dining restaurants we might not have tried otherwise, and if you have an entertainment card you can get discounted hotel rates just about anywhere. We have felt like it was definitely worth the $20.
LuvToGo is offline  
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