Slowly I slide my finger atop a tall stack of crisp, new one-dollar bills. I draw the first one into my palm and crush it into a small wad, as if it were a soiled Kleenex. I toss the crumpled greenback into an eagerly waiting toilet bowl. Flush. I crouch and watch with great enthusiasm as the whirlpool swirls and sucks it down. I grip the next one, crumple, crush and repeat the process again, and again, and again… two --- thousand --- six --- hundred --- times.
This fantasy is vivid in my mind. Living out this daydream would have given me more joy and satisfaction than the six-month contractual agreement I just completed with It’s Just Lunch (IJL).
I signed up for IJL upon the urging of my good friend in Seattle, who has membership there. In Seattle, IJL customers average one date a week and sometimes more. I thought this was what I was buying.
I gave them a month to get under way before letting them know I wasn’t getting my weekly date. My matchmaker did all she could not to laugh – at which point I revealed my expectations that the two IJL offices act similarly. To this day, no one at the San Francisco IJL office will admit customers have an expectation that chains or franchises operate in a similar fashion – you know, like a Big Mac in Seattle is the same as a Big Mac in San Francisco? When I tried to make this point to the General Manager, she treated me like I was a crazy person for having that point of view, and thought my expectation of chains being similar was outrageous. Huh!
People of the Bay Area, if you think the online dating sites are a waste of your time, and you’re considering It’s Just Lunch, consider this:
With IJL, a six-month membership is $2,600 and you go on five dates. That’s $520 a date.
A Match.com six-month membership is $119.94. If you’re like me and average five or six dates a month, it’s roughly $3.63 per date.
But we all know the price isn’t the problem. When spending our hard-earned money, we consider the value of the product or service, the patient and responsive customer care, and the skills and expertise of the professionals servicing us. In a matchmaking service, we hope for one that deeply understands our needs and works with us in partnership to help us find a desirable and compatible match. IJL failed miserably in all categories.
I’m not a high-maintenance woman. I originally had three requirements:
1) His age range be between 2-11 years older than me
2) His location be within 30 minutes from my house
3) His height be at least 6’ (since I’m tall and I like wearing heels)
Week 1: Nothing – crickets.
Week 2: They call with my first “match.” He’s 13 years my senior, lives 120 minutes from my house, he’s 6’ tall – um, no. I pass.
Week 3: Next Match – 6 years younger than me, lives 90 minutes from my house, and he’s 5’10”. Nope.
Week 4: Next match – same age as me, lives 115 minutes from my house, and he’s 5’10”.
I reiterate my three needs at this time, at which point I’m told that even though I stated my preferences up front, they don’t match by height. Great.
A few days later, I get another call. My next match is 14 years my senior, and lives 60 minutes away. I cave – I give up – I have them set up the date. He was the worst match ever.
After this failed date, a month after I joined, I knew I was had. I wanted to be released from the contract so I made the General Manager of IJL a very generous proposal. I offered the company $600 as compensation for the first date if they would let me go. Of course they declined. No refunds. No guarantees. No satisfaction.
IJL touts that they have professional matchmakers looking out for you. Don’t believe it! My matchmaker, while a nice person, was absent, and certainly not matching to my personality, preferences or needs. The coordinators that “take care” of clients were usually unavailable and often remiss in returning calls.
Women of the Bay Area, don’t do it – don’t be suckered in. If you’re unconvinced, and you crave more details, you can read the blow-by-blow of every date, along with a detailed scenario of dealing with this company firsthand, on my dating blog, WendyDates.blogspot.com.
For a demonstration of their less than stellar customer service, be sure to read the post “It’s just a drag” (April 17, 2011).
The five IJL dates, for quick reference, are:
Date #89 - April 17, 2011
Date #90 - April 27, 2011
Date #95 - June 2, 2011
Date #99 – August 2, 2011
Date #100 – October 20, 2011
Over the past few years, I have been on exactly 100 first dates. Three out of five of my IJL dates were literally, and without exaggeration, the worst three dates of my life.
The IJL dates couldn’t have been more of a mismatch if a troop of blind, half-crazed monkeys went out into the streets to find my man. While on an IJL date, I often wondered if I was secretly appearing on an MTV dating reality show.
So, my readers, if you’re single and looking for your mate, good luck out there. I don’t know what the answer is; I’m still gathering data, but I can certainly testify that it’s not It’s Just Lunch!
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- San Francisco, CA, United States
- Who am I? I am a retired dater. I sifted through the thousands of "matches" online; met strangers for coffee, a drink or a meal when really, mostly I wanted to be napping.
On the good dates, I loved the adventure and the thrill of not knowing how it would all turn out. The daydream of a possible shared future with this human.
On the bad dates, I was willing to take one for the team – for you - for your enlightenment and entertainment.
Through my trials and tribulations, self-expression and willingness to reveal raw human experiences and vulnerabilities, this blog was created.
- ▼ 2011 (15)