Mind Your T&C’s

Brie President Beer Tasting Experience

No self-respecting beer geek could possibly overlook this offer. First, in one more sign of craft beer’s respect in the fine dining world these days, it puts beer on par with wine. It was even more telling that I found it in a Monterey Peninsula grocery store on California’s Central Coast where wine is a big deal and big business. Monterey County is home to some 85 wineries and 40,000 acres of vineyards.

Needless to say, the marketing strategy worked. As soon as the cashier scanned the cheese, I pocketed the sticky label and drove home imagining what kind of beer tasting a company would offer in exchange for me spending $5.99 for their product. I mean, this was a European cheese company, so they wouldn’t just pop a Bud Light or PBR in the mail and call it good. (Mailing beer is technically illegal in the U.S., anyway.) Would I have to drive 100+ miles to an approved brewpub in the Bay Area? For $5.99 the tasting wouldn’t come with a fine cheese, of course. Maybe one of those little bags of free popcorn or Goldfish Crackers some pubs offer? I doubted the brewer would come out and provide a mini lector on his creation.

At home, the label directed me to the company website where I carefully read the info, including all 29 terms and conditions. I’d have to pay taxes and gratuities out of my own pocket. Only one offer per person, per household. Anyone accompanying me would have to pay full price for their beer. My brewery preference would not be taken into consideration and the offer was good only as long as supplies lasted. (Perish the thought that a brewery could run out of beer!) The Venue (capital “V”) might have it’s own terms and conditions. Of course I had to be 21 or over. Okay, so basically, the deal was one free beer which might well be crap, but I had to see how this would turn out.

Following the instructions under term #3, parts a, b and c, I entered the promotional code that allowed me to download the application which I’d fill out and snail mail within two weeks of purchase, along with copies of my store recipe and my valid photo ID proving I was 21 or over. (Hey, what was a little time, effort and one Forever stamp when I’d get a free beer?)

The next morning, I mailed off my letter and began waiting for the stipulated concierge agent to contact me with “the best option that matches their (customer’s) request and deliver a voucher that will be presented to the Venue.”

A couple of weeks later, a letter arrived from the Cheese Fulfillment Center. (I didn’t make that up.) The moment of The Big Reveal was upon me. I opened the envelope with the flair of the Academy Awards. And the winner was…not me.

President's replyWhat did they mean I hadn’t agreed to the t&c’s? I rifled through a pile of papers and produced my photocopy of the application.

And there it was. Sure enough, I had overlooked that one little box, and t&c #13 clearly stated, “Failure to comply with the instructions or any other directives made in conjunction with this  Reward may result in cancellation.” There would be no free beer for me. I’d never know what great adventure I missed out on all through my own fault.

President applicationI’m glad to report that this story does have a happy ending with the hubs and me enjoying our $5.99 cheese with crackers and a couple of bottles of homebrew. The happiest part is that the homebrew was the one I wrote about in a December 27 post. At the time, I was discouraged that, after all our work, the beer had failed to carbonate. We gave it a few more weeks and, oh happy days, we now have a darn good beer.

So, dear reader, I leave you with this nugget of hard-earned wisdom: always check your t&c’s box.



  1. Usually there’s one box to check for the Terms and Conditions; it seems they found a nice loophole out of not spending $500 or so per person by making *individual* boxes, as someone would most likely miss one.

    Their cheese may have been good, but their offer was pretty stinky!

    • Leslie Patino says:

      Hi Heather, thanks for reading. The is actually a pretty good lesson on the importance of proofreading, right?

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