Everything in this story you are about to read is true…I say that because you won’t believe it.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how Six Flags Amusement Park was not Disney. Well, over the weekend, my kids and I went to American Adventures Amusement Park and it was literally like a Twilight Zone episode…
We arrive at the park on a hot 93 degree Saturday. There is a huge line of cars to get in which is made worse by the fact that they only have one person at the gate taking money for parking, the other two lanes are closed. I find this to be a bit odd figuring that this has to be one of their busiest days.
I pay my $10 for parking, park a long distance away and walk to buy tickets to get into the park. After I pay for the tickets, the teenage cashier says, “Did you pay for parking.” “Yes, ten dollars,” I reply. “Great, ” she says. “You get a ten dollars back on your ticket price.”
“Wow,” I think waiting for my ten smackers to be handed to me. “Oh, I need your parking receipt to give you the money back,” she informs me. “Um, it’s in my car,” I say. How many people actually carry their parking receipt with them? When I paid for parking no one told me to bring the parking receipt with me to get money back.”
She replies, “Oh, that’s too bad. We’ve been having a problem with that all day. They are not telling anyone to bring their parking receipt with them.”
“Okaaaay…since that is the case, why not just give me the ten bucks back then?”, I ask.
“I can’t unless you have your parking receipt, ” she matter-of-factly tells me.
Instead of walking all the way back to the car, under protest I decide to forgo the ten dollars, .
My kids and I walk into the park. They are excited about going on one of their favorite rides – The Pirate Ship. Uh, oh, that ride is closed. Sorry kids. They are fine with that.
“Daddy hasn’t eaten all day, so I’m going to get some food before we go on any rides,” I tell them. Uh, oh, ALL OF THE CONCESSIONS STANDS ARE CLOSED! “That’s odd,” I think to myself, again, figuring concessions have to be a major profit center.
I ask where I can get something to eat and drink and I’m told to go to the restaurants (note the plural) inside the building. So we dutifully hike over to the building.
Uh, oh…there is only ONE restaurant open, a mini version of Pizza Hut. And, as you would imagine, there is a huge line. But, I’m starving, and my kids are really great, so I get in line and wait and wait and wait.
An exasperated customer, who finally has his food informs me that he was third in line and it took twenty minutes for him to get a slice of pizza. I count the people and see that I am number 15 in line. I quickly do the math in my head and decide I’m really not that hungry.
So we’re off to go on the kids second favorite ride…The Giant Slide. Uh, oh…It looks like it is closed as well. “How can that be, ” I wonder. “It’s a big giant slide that you go down inside a burlap sack. How can it be ‘broken’!”
“It’s not broken,” I’m informed by another teenager who is operating a ride, next to the big slide, that literally NO ONE wants to go on- while a LOT of people keep asking about the Big Slide. “The guy in charge of the slide is on break,” I am told. “When will he be back?”, I politely ask. “Dunno,” is the answer I get.
Off we go and the kids do go on the roller coaster. They have fun but now my stomach is starting to growl at an alarming pitch. My kids get off the ride and say, “Daddy, we are thirsty.” Heck, it’s only 93 degrees, why should they be thirsty? Come to think of it, I’m thirsty and still hungry.
We walk past the closed concession stands and up to a Coke machine. $3.50 per soda it says. At this point, I didn’t care if it was ten dollars per soda! I open my wallet and…uh, oh…I only have $20 bills. So off we go back to the ticket counter to get change for the twenty. I am told by the same young lady who informed me about my would be $10 parking refund, that “We don’t give change. We can’t open the register to make change.”
Now, I am getting a bit “perturbed,” to say the least. I argue for a short while, say a couple “flowery” words under my breath and go to the change machine back inside the building as, I was instructed to do.
Uh, oh…and please remember this is ALL true…the change machine is OUT OF ORDER!!! I am told by another ‘helpful’ employee that if I wanted drinks, to “Go wait in the Pizza Hut line.”
At this point I am fuming to the point of my head almost popping off my neck. I ask, forcefully to see a manager. (My kids are still being good sports. They really are great kids.)
The manager comes out and I start going off telling her about my very frustrating saga. I am not yelling, but I am super angry and then I notice that the manager is a 17 year old girl. So I try to calm down so as not to scare her.
She tells me that she’ll give me my money back. I say, “I don’t want my money back. All I want is change for the soda machine.” She scurries off to break my twenty. She scurries back to give me two ten dollar bills. “Um, Miss, the soda machine only takes one dollar bills,” I inform her.
She then says that she is going to get drinks for us, “on the house, ” and to meet her at the Pizza Hut. We follow her over, she goes in the back to get us our sodas. At this point, I’m feeling kind of like a king as I look at the other poor saps waiting in the long line, while I get the “VIP” treatment.
Uh, oh…I see there is some discussion going on by the soda machine in the kitchen of the Pizza Hut. The manager tells me, believe it or not, that the soda machine has stopped working!!!!! But not to worry because she thinks she has some big plastic bottles of soda in the back that she’ll open.
A few minutes later, she’s back with three cups of soda. Hmm, they feel kind of warm. She apologizes and tells me, “We have run out of ice.” (Again, mi amigo, I am not making up one word of this.)
So we drink our warm sodas and decide it’s time to go on the giant swing ride. We know that ride is working because we saw people on it with our own eyes. So off we go!
Uh, oh…the ride is now closed! Why? The guy who runs it is on his break, of course!
Well, surely, the Big Slide must be open by now. He has to be back from his break, right? Off to the Big Slide we go!
Uh, oh…it still looks like it’s closed! So, I ask the “Guy running the ride next to it that no one wants to go on” what the deal is. His answer, “Dunno.”
I suggest that HE run the big slide ride instead of this one since there are a lot of people being turned away from the big slide and no one asking to go on his ride. “Nope. This is the ride I’m supposed to be at, ” he tells me with complete disinterest.
I could go on to tell you about the ride we went on that had trouble stopping, which they closed down right after my kids and I got off of it, or the water fountain that didn’t work, or the filthy bathrooms but I think you got the flavor of my experience.
In “Your Marketing Department In A Box”, I talk about creating a memorable, “wow” experience for your customers. This was both memorable and a wow, but in the completely wrong way!
As we are leaving the amusement park, I say to my kids, “Hey as long as you don’t want to eat or drink or go on any rides, this is one helluva amusement park!” We walk out hand in hand all laughing hysterically. I really do have wonderful kids.
Kick butt, make mucho dee-nero!
P.S. Ya willin’ to help a brother out who had a nightmarish amusement park experience? Ya wanna make me feel better (and increase your profits, attract more a-list clients, have more free time and put more dee-nero in your pocket) ? Then order your own pers
onal copy of “Your Marketing Department In A Box” right now at http://davedee.com/box