Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Club Astoria Marketing Scheme(s) -- "no strings attached"

In the midst of our enjoyment, a guy around his mid-20s came out of nowhere and invited us for a "FREE dinner buffet by the beach" c/o Astoria as we approached Station 2. He pointed to a very cozy and relaxed setting and informed us to just sit and listen to their presentation, "no strings attached" while having dinner. I knew something was up the moment he said "no strings attached" -- that it was some sort of marketing strategy (or a scam, as what others may see). I friendly declined the offer, but the dude didn't stop from there, and even asked for our availability. I politely pointed out that we came down there for a vacation, and we had to "meet people" so we really didn't have time to have a little chit-chat with them.

Still, that did not stop him from getting our contact information. We just had to give D's bogus cell phone number for him to finally let go of us. Haha! That showed him. Besides, we could afford to eat buffet dinners anyway!

Turned out that evening, we had an appointment with the manang masahista and her magical hands.

D's backrub from manang.

It felt much better than having to sit at some boring presentation and listen to manipulative agents doing the sales talk! In a way, I saved them from all the trouble!

We never heard from that dude again.


Let us fast forward to 2009...

Days after getting married, we went to Bag of Beans in Tagaytay City for the cozy country feel, and for such wonderful food (pics to be posted later).

That time, a lad in his early 20s approached us and claimed he was from the Astoria Club, and asked us to fill out a "raffle coupon" which gave us a chance to win a trip somewhere something something and blah blah blah! I really wasn't enticed at all since I have given up on luck for raffles, and I wasn't paying that much attention because I knew that something again was up. I mean, raffles are to be done NORMALLY when companies return their appreciation to their customers who already made purchases on their products. So, why give us a friggin stub?

I also noticed that there were no "DTI permit #s" indicated anywhere on the coupon. So we just ignored it and left the pieces of paper on the table. However, the guy went back and checked if we have filled in the form.

Why did we feel obligated to join this "no obligation" promo anyways?

I really wasn't thinking that time, so I filled out the form with my details rather than potentially ruining our lunch date.

I never heard from them again.

However, just last Feb 3, I received a text message from them. I will not be running a spelling or grammar check from here:

Gd pm MR. D B, ds fr. astoria we are calling you rgarding your raffle ticket filled up at BAG OF BEANS TAGAYTAY. your name is lucky selected to have a free VIP FREE DINNER BUFFET and GIFT CERTIFICATE! have you avail already your 2 GIFTS? FREE DINNER FOR 2 AND FREE LUXURY ACCOMODATION FOR LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL. pls. kol at 6382919 OR PLS. txt us for your schedule of FREE BUFFET. kindly look for Ms. Lods Hembra. CONGRATULATIONS!

From: +639398213581
2:50pm 3-FEB-10

Come on! I am lucky selected? To have a free VIP FREE DINNER BUFFET??

Apart from that, I have been getting phone calls, which I chose to ignore. I mean ONLY people from my contacts would call me!

Obviously ignoring the poorly written text message, I just sat by until I heard from them again this afternoon from 09393935540. They said that I won (guess what?!) a free buffet from the Astoria Club when I filled out a form from Bag Of Beans in Tagaytay. Here's a short convo:

Girl: Hi, is this Mrs. Balahan?
S: Yes, who's this?
G: This is from Astoria Club, where you filled out a raffle from Bag of Beans Tagaytay. Your name was selected to have a dinner buffet for two.
S: uh-huh.
G: It says here that you are married, right?
S: uh..yeah?
G: ...and you are currently a housewife, right? What's your husband's occupation?
S: err...he works in a hospital.
G: what?
S: Hello? Hello? (turns off cell).

I have no problem with the whole deal of marketing and sales, but this is way too invasive and manipulative. In local terms, bulok! Come on, Astoria! You have a very reputable name, and I think it's time to change your marketing strategies to attract customers, rather than have people think that they ran into a scam!

And for the rest, there is no such thing as a "free meal pass". Go buy your own! Being gullible won't do any good either.


  1. kmi nmn ng bf q try nmin yng free buffet sa boracay ang ginawa kinausap kmi ng isang oras grbe! ok nmn presentation nla at fud kso ayun salestok sa timesharing nila pero wla nman kmi pera pataygutom lang! nyhahahahahaha

  2. I had the same thing, went to bag of beans and filled up a stub for a chance to win trips abroad. Then i got a call, but it was disc bcz of poor signal then i start to google and found out scam pala! Buti na lang!

  3. @cjrm: hahaha! swerte least you did not give in...i heard na sobrang persuasive sila

  4. @anon: well it really helps to do a little research first before falling into something eh?

  5. I was contacted today telling me that i won free buffet at MOA and GC for local or international accomodation. Buti n lng before i give in ive read ur blog. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Just right now, i was invited and told me to come tomorrow for Buffet fo 2 and a GC local or intl. Buti na lang nahanap ko to dahil hinihingian ko sila ng company name sabe ba naman sakin, "Sir, makikita mo naman yun bukas pagpunta mo". Oh well.

    1. Myy husband received a text too. Tomorrow brother told me that his friend was also invited. He said it was a scam.

    2. Myy husband received a text too. Tomorrow brother told me that his friend was also invited. He said it was a scam.



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