First, let's get a few facts straight:
1. Freebies are a gift, not a right.
2. I didn't even sign up for this freebie. Just the smell of hot sauce has made me physically ill ever since I was pregnant with my 2nd child.
3. If I HAD signed up for the freebie and it never came through, I probably would have never even noticed. Companies change their mind about sending out freebies all the time. If I get the freebie then that is great. If I don't get it, then it is "no biggie".
4. Companies have every right to change their mind about giving out a freebie. I especially understand this when it comes to small businesses. Having managed both the operations and "the books" for a small, privately owned company for 7 years, I completely understand how something that seemed like a good idea can come back to bite you in the butt.
5. The proper response to realizing that an idea is about to bite you in the butt is NOT to change the deal, attempt to delete the evidence, accuse everyone else who posted your deal of "getting it wrong" and sending them emails and comment on their site that imply that they are idiots who can't read a deal. This site is all about getting deals. This site is my job. I can read a deal (as it is presented).
6. I am not an idiot.
7. If you treat me like an idiot, I will retaliate.
"Attention to ALL OUR FANS! We are going to give every one of you a coupon for FREE Texas Pete® products! If our page has 100,000 Fans by November 15th we will launch a coupon to ALL of you through our fan page. Its easy, if everyone of you get 5 of your friends to become a fan of Texas Pete® Hot Sauce, we will hit the number in no time. Click in the right hand corner, suggest to friends! GOOD LUCK!"
Texas Pete: Do you really think that ALL these people have reading comprehension problems:
this site quoted your Facebook Fan Page status on 9/12
this site mentioned the deal on 9/14/09 and then when the offer was "clarified", a commenter specifically recalls a huge banner on your site promising a free bottle.
this post quotes the wording on your site from 9/10
this post did a cut and paste of your Facebook status on 9/12
I personally confirmed the wording on your Facebook Fan page before writing this post (note: the 9/17 date on that post is because I updated it and "bumped" it up to the top on that date)
It's Hip To Save confirmed the wording before writing her post as well. Oh - and check out this post to see all the people commenting on seeing the original offer AND your little "Damage Control Deleting Spree" on the Facebook Fan Page.
I could quote more sites, I could give anectdotal evidence of friends who recall seeing the exact same wording when they became a fan as well as nasty comments that appeared and then disappeared from your fan page. I could wait for WaybackMachine to have a cached copy of the Texas Pete website available from 9/10-9/12, 2009 (they don't have anything for 2009 yet). The truth is? I don't care about your hot sauce or the damn freebie.
What I do care about is honesty.
Look - I get it. I couldn't figure out how or why you were going to give out 100,000 coupons for a free bottle of hot sauce...but that was what you said you were doing.
Maybe you didn't realize that "a coupon for a free Texas Pete product" is not the same as a "Buy One Get One Free" coupon....not to people who use coupons, it isn't.
Maybe you made a typo when you wrote 100,000 and meant to type 10,000 (because I do see that there was something about giving out 10,000 samples).
Maybe you always meant to offer a Buy One Get One Free coupon, but whoever wrote the banner on your site or the offer on your Facebook Fan Page needs a lesson in writing ad copy.
Maybe someone in accounting came up to you, smacked you in the head and said "YOU IDIOT! We are actually going to get to 100,000 Fans! Do you have any idea what this is going to cost us?"
Maybe you thought that you could release a statement a few days later that contradicts what was on your Facebook Fan Page and point to that as "evidence" that we all got it wrong.
Maybe you thought that we were just a bunch of silly Mommy Bloggers who would put our tails between our legs while you accused all of us of "getting it wrong".
Maybe you could admit that the mistake was yours, be it a poorly-worded promotion or just needing to back out of it in order to keep the company from losing tons of money.
I would understand that. I would sympathize with that. If you did that in the beginning, this post would have never been written. (oh - and another thing? It also wouldn't have been written if Mr. Helmstetler hadn't decided to come to this site long after this post was buried among the other posts to try to do some more "damage control")
But don't come to my site and imply that I (and everyone else who saw the initial offer) can't read.