Colorado Avalanche-Arby's 4-Pack deal should be sent to the penalty box
I'm a big hockey fan and have been since junior high, when my Penguins won their first two Stanley Cups and the Pittsburgh suburb where I grew up exploded with joy. But I'm now a working Colorado father and the NHL has all but priced out middle-class families, with many upper-level tickets sporting a face value of $50 to $60 before service charges. So I was elated on Sunday when, with my father and uncle in town. I noticed a newspaper advertisement touting the Avs' new deal with Arby's.
The "Arby's Faceoff 4-Pack," the ad states, includes "4 Tickets, 4 Roast Beef Classics, Small Curly Fries, 4 Small Pepsis and a $10 Altitude Authentics Gift Card for just $99."
We called the Tickethorse number on the ad. The seats, which usually cost over $50, were near the very top of the Pepsi Center, but at a hockey game (and especially at a great arena such as the Pepsi Center) there are really no bad seats. The woman on the other end of the line at Tickethorse agreed that the deal was a good one: Tickets and concessions at professional sporting events are ludicrously expensive these days, and the ability to feed and seat four people -- not to mention collect $10 worth of souvenirs -- at an NHL game for $99 (plus about $30 in service charges) seemed like something to celebrate.
Unfortunately, the 6 p.m. opening faceoff was too late for my 22-month-old daughter, whose namesake is Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, and so we wound up selling the fourth ticket to a fan outside the arena. But my disappointment at my daughter missing what would have been her first NHL game paled compared to what happened when my father, uncle and I hungrily approached the Pepsi Center Arby's stand after the first intermission, with the score tied 1-1. Only then were we told that the four sandwiches, four drinks and four curly fries would not be given to us at the Pepsi Center: The meal tickets are only redeemable at "area Arby's locations."
"I know, it's terrible," an Arby's cashier told me. "We're getting lots of complaints because people don't know."
Every item on the menu at the Arby's inside the Pepsi Center is several times more expensive than at your average Arby's restaurant: Four regular roast beef sandwiches, four sodas and four small curly fries would cost around $50 there, and we weren't about to pay that. So as the Zamboni rolled, we shared some popcorn and reexamined the Arby's Faceoff 4-Pack ad. It did not mention that the meals were not redeemable at the arena; nor had the Tickethorse saleswoman mentioned that very important detail. The only place it was noted was at the very bottom of the meal tickets we'd picked up with our Avs tickets: "Not Valid at the Pepsi Center" written on the bottom.