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Arby's Draconian Meal Deal Tactics

As you may or may not be aware, Arby's is running a "Five for $6.95" *deal* right now in certain areas of the country. That is, you can pick any five items off of an abridged menu for only $6.95. Sounds great, especially when most meals at Arby's cost in the $9-$28 range.

I know it's going to be expensive when i go there, but I'm still always shocked.


"I come with a lot of baggage."

"Two regular roast beef sandwich combos with curly fries, and two drinks?"

"That'll do it."

"That'll be $18.95."

"Really? Even with my 'Two Roast Beef Combos for $17.75' coupon?"

"Okay smart guy, now it's $23.50. It still cost too much?"

"Can you do that?"

"Congratulations, hero, how do ya like $28.80? I suggest you just pay, turn yourself around, and walk on out of here."

"What about my food?"

"What food?"

So yeah, they have this deal. First I want to point out how inconvenient it is that it's a five item limit.

"Okay, two sammiches, two curly fries, I'll have a Coke, and...oh hey baby, I guess you don't get a drink this time. Sucks to be you!"

Now on this menu they have a Ham & Swiss Melt which doesn't appear on the normal menu. That's fine, I understand Ham & Swiss is a complicated sandwich, and they can't just go handing them out to every yokel who comes along.

But get this: if you order the Ham & Swiss Melt, you are locked into getting five items! I have been to two Arby's on two separate occasions and the people behind the counter have told me the same thing: "We can't sell the Ham & Swiss Melt outside of the deal. You have to pick four more items."

I asked for an explanation, and both times the people seemed very nervous. I don't know if someone freaked out on them about it earlier, or if Herbert Arby III himself was watching them from the backroom, but they just started sputtering out nonsense.

"No, can't sell...um, no ham limited...oh! oh! pants! oh! oh!...chaka-khan chaka-khan...uh, not must get menu..."

In case you were wondering, here are your options:


Who ordered a number 6?

1. Cheese sticks
2. Chicken nuggets
3. Ham & Swiss Melt
4. Roast Beef & Cheddar
5. Turnover
6. Punch in the throat
7. Curly Fries
8. Medium drink

Rowan wanted the Ham & Swiss, and since I usually get an outsized roast beef sammich anyways, I went for the Roast Beef & Cheddar. As it turns out, I don't like Arby's Roast Beef & Cheddar. The cheese-whiz on there is the kind that makes the inside of your mouth break out.

On the plus side, the Ham & Swiss is actually quite tasty. I was worried it might be honey (or worse, maple) ham on there, but it's just plain-old, straightforward, no worries ham. An honest, American ham.

But I've got Arby's number. You know why you can't get the Ham & Swiss from the regular menu, while with the other 7 deal items you can?

The whole thing is a clever ruse to get you into the Meal Deal ring. Then, once they've got you in the Ham & Swiss headlock, they give you the DDT of limited choices. Finally, after pinning you with a low price, they...I guess they drape the Damien of something over your unconscious body. Is sales tax like a python, maybe?

That whole metaphor works a lot better when you're talking about Carlos Murphy's and an Irish Whip.

The point here is I'm trying to warn you: if you're tempted to try the Ham & Swiss Melt, first ask yourself, "At this point in my life, should I really be entering a binding agreement for a sandwich?"

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Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield