A. and I have been thwarted on two expeditions of late. Let me start by telling you that earlier this year, when we knew we were moving to Atlanta but before we actually moved, I ordered an Atlanta Entertainment coupon book on sale for $21. I thought it would be a good way to get us out exploring Atlanta and maybe trying some new places. Well, after about a month, the book had not appeared, even though its USPS tracking number said it had long since been delivered. A. called customer service, who immediately and apologetically shipped us another one, which arrived 2 or 3 days later….along with the original book, which had apparently been sitting mis-boxed at our post office. Oops. So, for the price of $21, we received not one but TWO Entertainment coupon books.

We found out after we moved that a) many of the places in the book are chains, which we don’t eat at too often anymore (since we are surrounded by incredible local restaurants) and b) many of them were far enough away from our neighborhood that our savings wouldn’t really be worth the time it took to get there. But we’ve definitely used some of them when it’s been convenient, and the BOGO admission to several museums has been nice. I stopped keeping mental track awhile ago, but I’d say I think we paid ourselves back, though perhaps not by much. (We’ve found that we save a lot more money with the free Scoutmob app, because it tends to have restaurants in more of the quirky neighborhoods around us. Consider that a bonus hint.)

The main way we’ve used the coupon book is by combining using a coupon with some already planned outing. But in the past two weeks, we’ve had TWO planned frugal dinners out THWARTED by the unadvertised closing of our intended restaurant!

I wrote a post last week about the movie Courageous. Well, the original plan for seeing the movie was to make a day of it at Atlantic Station, an outdoor mall-type place in Midtown Atlanta. We were going to have lunch at Doc Green’s using a BOGO entree coupon from the book, wander around Ikea, and then go see a matinee at the Regal, using 2 $2 off one adult movie ticket coupons from the book. The first roadblock was that Courageous was not playing at that theater; in fact, it was only playing at a single theater inside the perimeter (i.e. anywhere near us). So, we regrouped. The theater was not far from where I work, so we made plans for A. to come meet me at work one afternoon and drive together from there, eating at Johnny Rockets in the same plaza as the theater using a BOGO coupon. The movie tickets were much more expensive, but that was okay.

On the drive to the mall with the theater I offhandedly pointed out a Johnny Rockets. I thought, “That’s interesting. Two Johnny Rockets locations within a mile of each other. I guess there’s just enough other business in the mall to make it worthwhile.” We got to the mall and went in. It was one of the fanciest malls I had seen in awhile. We found the theater for reference and then set out to find Johnny Rockets. I asked at the Customer Service desk and they said, “Oh, we don’t have a Johnny Rockets anymore.” DARN. The only other places around were “real” restaurants (read: expensive and long wait)…so we ended up eating at the Cafe Bistro Nordstrom. Yes, a bistro in Nordstrom. It was surprisingly tasty, but much more expensive than our Johnny Rockets would have been! Perhaps the most ironic moment of all was when we walked out of the theater and notice immediately outside of it a boarded up storefront that said, “Coming Soon: Johnny Rockets.” Sigh.

Yesterday, we finally set out for our long anticipated wander around Ikea/eat at Doc Green’s date. We didn’t have the movie motivation anymore, but we figured it would be fun anyway. We made our way around Ikea and then walked over to Doc Green’s. I was pretty sure I knew where it was, but when we got there….it wasn’t. So we made a block and eventually found a directory, which had it listed at the location I had thought. So we checked again. No dice. Empty store front. NOTHING on the internet or any of our “check-in” apps told us this. Google Maps lied, as it did with Johnny Rockets. Doc Green’s is GONE. So once again, we ate elsewhere, without a coupon. It’s not a huge deal in the scheme of things, but I can’t believe this has happened to us twice now! Has it ever happened to you?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman