CiCi’s is a NoNo!! 9

We unfortunately made the mistake of trying out CiCi’s Pizza on Ellsworth tonight. It’s located in the new structure in front of Wal-Mart. First let me get this out the way. The “food” sucked. There tag-line is “The Ultimate Pizza Experience is a Gourmet Buffet”. This place has no business using the word gourmet in any description of their food. I’m not going to get into all the details of the culinary experience because Jules is planning on writing about that over on YpsiBites. Suffice to say that if you think Tios is a good Mexican restaurant, you might appreciate CiCi’s. If on the other hand you prefer your Mexican food prepared by people who originated south of the Rio Grande then avoid CiCi’s at all costs.

Our experience at CiCi’s brought another thought to mind. I don’t often carry much cash with me these days. When possible I prefer to use a debit card. I believe that this is a pretty common practice these days. One thing I never, ever do is withdraw cash from ATM’s that don’t belong to my bank. A few years ago banking regulations were changed to allow banks to charge non-customers for using their ATM’s and charge customers for using some other banks machine. That means that if you use the ATM at bank where you don’t have an account you get charged twice, once by the owner of the ATM and once by your own bank. This can often cost you as much $4, $2 per bank. I make a point of trying to avoid these egregious charges.

Now back to my story. When you walk into CiCi’s there is cash register where you pay in advance before proceeding to the “gourmet” all you can eat pizza buffet. Mull that concept in your mind for a moment! Prominently displayed adjacent to the counter is an ATM. As I place the order and hand the cashier my debit card I am informed that they don’t take cards at the moment, only cash or check. I was also informed that I could use the ATM behind me. I declined to pay the extra fees that would go along with using an ATM that didn’t belong to my bank. So we ran over to Jules’ bank which was right nearby and got some cash. When we returned Jules noticed the little notice on the machine about the fees, and it stated that the machine was owned by the pizza company. All this got me thinking about all the ATM’s you see in gas stations, convenience stores and every other business. It occurs to me that since all these machines collect a transaction fee, these businesses are almost certainly getting a cut of the action. I wonder how much of that dollar or two they are getting? So it seems highly probable that CiCi’s is getting a cut of every time they tell someone they can’t use their debit card, and they turn around to grab some cash. This is ridiculous. Jules told me that New York Pizza Depot which used to take credit/debit cards has informed her the last couple of times that she was there that their card machine was broken. They also happen to have a conveniently located ATM.

It seems that more and more business are taking part in the hidden fee economy. That includes all the assorted regulatory recovery charges you find at the bottom your phone bill under that low advertised service price. There are more and more of these bogus fees popping up everywhere. Companies get your business by advertising really attractive prices and then end up nickel and diming you with all kinds of little fees that add up to a pretty significant percentage of your total cost. I will simply decline to patronize businesses that insist on applying these hidden costs.

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9 thoughts on “CiCi’s is a NoNo!!

  • Sarah

    Oh my good lord. Married to someone who deifies anything that combines cheap with all-u-can-eat, Cici’s is the bane of my freaking existance.

    I think if they accepted credit or debt cards, they would have to charge $5.25 for the gourmet guffet, and not $4.95 and that would render the place cost prohibitive for a good 75% of their regular customers.

    Theoretically this place should not be any worse than McDonald’s, right? And McDonald’s makes ridiculous claims along the lines of “gourmet buffet”. Same caliber of food for the same price. But for some reason it is way, way worse than McDonald’s.

    I hate this place so much that Antonio and I get into a fight everytime we are there (and sadly, we have been there three times in like two weeks) because I resent so much that we spend money to shovel that disgusting crap into our bodies. If we hadn’t swtiched from Netflix to the Blockbuster mail-in service (which comes with a weekly in-store rental), he would never know this place exists.

    Our last Cici’s fight was titled: “You would be willing to have dinner at a poop buffet if it were $3 and had enough entrees to choose from, wouldn’t you?”

    The fight ended with Antonio slamming his fork down saying, intentionally loud enough for everyone to hear, “Fine! We won’t come back here anymore! I didn’t mean to offend your refined sensibilities! I don’t want to upset the delicate palatte of the princess!”

    Things I particularly hate about this place:

    1. Why do the managers constantly talk to you? As if serving yourself up at a buffet is not slothful, guilt-ridden enough of an event, do you really want some dude with a cheesy mustache poking his head under the sneeze guard to ask, “How’s that 9th piece of mac-and-cheese pizza working out for you??”

    2. Why do they make the staff do those weirdo cheers?

    3. The clientele is indescribably creepy. A mix of asylum escapees and really creepy super religious cult members who manage to be scrubbed and sterilized to lab proportions, but still appear somehow icky and dirty in their flowery dresses and short sleeved button down shirts. Reminds me of the movie Gumo.

    4. Are you supposed to tip? Sometimes no one ever comes to the table, sometimes they do.

    5. Gourmet? Are you kidding me?

    I’m looking forward to hearing what Jules has to say about this abomination of nature eatery.

  • Sam Post author

    The only reason we went last night was because or son Max loves pizza and Jules figured it would be worth checking out. I guess any “dining” establishment in such close proximity to Wal-mart and blockbuster must be suspect.

    We were fortunate not to have to experience anyone ask us if we need anything, or ear any cheers. There actually weren’t that many people there when we were there. As for tipping, I found nothing to justify a tip.

    As to the cheering if you like that have you ever experienced the staff at Cold Stone Creamery when they get a tip. They break into song in such an annoying way that I avoid tipping just so I don’t have to hear the song.

  • Leighton

    Heh, the “pizza” is a joke. But it’s sad that it’s the only cheap place to get a salad in the area.

    More sad, you’re paying too much: CiCi’s in the South advertise their jimmied buffets @ $3.99.

  • Frank

    Im sorry guys, Ihave to disagree. What do you expect for the price.Oh my God. You all sound like a bunch of cheapos.Gourmet? What the heck are you doing at a pizza buffet anyways looking for gourmet? Obviously the commercial worked.It got you in the door.Not everyone like pizza. Just like not everyone likes filet mignon.The cicis in our town serves some real good pizza. And for the price? Where else.Dominos?Pizza Hut?Pizza Inn?WalMart? Cmon.The problem is that cicis is just not for you. Its for fun,energetic,enthusiastic,wild side type people.Go somewhere else. WE DONT WANT YOU AT CICIS!