More than a year passed before I claimed my free pie from Marie Callender’s because when I first won the gift card, the Nutritional Calculator on the web page wasn’t working, a customer service representative couldn’t say if any of the pies were vegan, and a Marie Callender’s restaurant employee said they had nothing vegan because everything contained egg. On top of that, the information on the internet was mixed and confusing. (The Animal Liberation Front said that a bunch of the fruit pies were “Vegan by Accident,” but then I realized they were referring to the frozen product sold in the store. The Go Eggless blog said that only the French Apple Pie was “truly without eggs and dairy.”) Eventually, I noticed the Nutritional Calculator on Marie Callender’s web page was finally working!
Now here’s the crazy thing. After my purchase, the balance on my gift card was $0.21 and the cashier was actually going to give it back to me as if I would be carrying around a gift card with a 21 cent balance! I said, “Just give it to me in cash.” She said she couldn’t do that so I asked, “Even though California law requires it?” (Cal. Civ. Code §1749.5(b)(2).)
Then a male supervisor stepped in and said that their policy is not to give the gift card balance in cash so I asked, “Even though California law requires it?” Then he said he would go ask his manager. When he came back he gave me the 21 cents. CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY MADE ME QUIBBLE OVER 21 CENTS?!
No, I do not want to argue over small bits of money, I just want businesses to comply with the law. “Is that too much to ask?!” – Morrissey.
Awhile back, after a different company refused to comply with the law, I contacted a regional supervisor, who thanked me for busting their balls and sent me another gift certificate as a thank you. A manager for Hollywood Tan says they can only comply with the law if I arrange the transaction in advance. To me, that violates the spirit of the law. If you have an experience with a business in California that avoids compliance with Cal. Civ. Code §1749.5(b)(2), definitely call them out on it.