Pinkberry (rip-off?)

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NYNM
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2008/03/14 17:26:44 (permalink)

Pinkberry (rip-off?)

OK, so a new Pinkberry (chain) opened in my area in NYC. I tried it last week with mixed reactions, but I felt like something cold so I tried again today.

So I ordered a SMALL (and, it is small) coffee flavored "frozen dessert or whatever it is) with one topping (crushed oraos) and the guy said $5.95.

I looked at him funny and he said, well, it's $2.95 for small, but you ordered coffee flavor (they have only 3 flavors: original coffee and green tea) which is "extra" $1.00, the a topping is "extra 1.00"{ and then tax (and who knows what else.)

Something took me over and my hand grabbed the $10 bill I had given him right out of his hand and I walked out. This was visceral, no thought. I couldn't do $6.00 for a small treat.

I am drawing my limit. I can't believe people are forking over $ like this. It's like "Ask and They will Pay." The stores been crowded every time I pass it.

And, gotta say, I don't think the product's that good, either.

Comments?
#1

24 Replies Related Threads

    The Travelin Man
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/14 18:35:39 (permalink)
    I thought when you said "rip off" you referring to another place opening with the same concept, not the prices.

    I have been to a store that is essentially the same thing in Houston, Texas (Rice Village area). I did like that they offer "Fruity Pebbles" as a topping option, but I don't like the taste of real yogurt (sour...). I didn't pick up the tab, so I am not sure if it is reasonably priced or not.

    That said, if the guy prepared your dish as requested and the prices are posted, I think it is bad form to not pay for what you asked for, if prepared correctly.
    #2
    NYNM
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/14 20:10:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by The Travelin Man

    I thought when you said "rip off" you referring to another place opening with the same concept, not the prices.

    That said, if the guy prepared your dish as requested and the prices are posted, I think it is bad form to not pay for what you asked for, if prepared correctly.


    In defense of myself, they did not prepare the food. I took the money back immediately before the order was placed. And I agree that after the food is served is too late.

    Anyway, my main comment here was how high these costs seem to be getting for "luxury" foods. I'm not even sure what Pinkberry really is as a product, but it was that sour-y yogurt, a bit icey and grainy rather than smooth.
    #3
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/14 21:16:00 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYNM

    In defense of myself, they did not prepare the food. I took the money back immediately before the order was placed. And I agree that after the food is served is too late.


    No need to defend yourself. I was posting with one foot out the door earlier. Perhaps I should have emphasized my "IF" a little better. If they hadn't prepared the food, then I would have no problem taking my money back, either, if I heard a number that would make my head spin!

    Oh...and the place I went to in Houston is called "Swirll." The friend who took me described the place as "Korean Yogurt," but the taste/texture is the same as you described. Like I said, though, I did like the sweet counter-balance of the Fruity Pebbles:

    #4
    NYNM
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/14 21:56:32 (permalink)
    Thanks! Actually the cup that was $5.95 was about 1/2 the size of your photo.

    However, to Pinkberry's credit, I sent them an email, and they just wrote back to apologize that I was overcharged. It was supposed to be "only" $5.25. And they offered me a coupon for a free order. That makes them go up in my book, although I still don't think it is worth that much. (I still can't get over that a small, non fancy, cup of coffee and small pastry in Starbucks is over $5.) I still think of a "snack" as $2-$3.
    #5
    David_NYC
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 05:26:27 (permalink)
    I haven't bought anything in a ice cream dip store or frozen yogurt place around here in years because of the high prices. Even Carvel is high. We know what the prices are for frozen yogurt or ice cream in the supermarket, as well as from the Mr. Softee truck. It galls me that a large part of the purchase price goes to the landlord for his exorbitant rent. As for Pinkberry, lets see how long they last. I guess a lot of the kids like it because it is a low calorie dessert and they have stunning interior design in the stores.

    Roadfooders don't go for trendy. This is definitely overpriced trendy. If the economy tanks, my guess is that we will see a lot of those red marshalls' notices pasted on the windows of shuttered Pinkberry stores.

    #6
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 08:11:06 (permalink)
    So this:



    ...would be $2.95 + $3.00 = $5.95, plus tax? What's the tax in NYC, 8%? So that would be $6.43? Seems like a lot.

    Do you get to keep the ceramic-looking bowl?

    I'm afraid to ask whether the above serving is small, medium or large.
    #7
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 10:01:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by David_NYC


    Roadfooders don't go for trendy.


    I have to respectfully disagree with that...

    There are many, many regional roadfood restaurants that might be considered trendy......perfect examples would be some of the restaurants billyboy has written about and reviewed in NYC, also southern cal sushi, califoria rolls and smoothies are another example.
    #8
    NYNM
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 10:16:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    So this:

    ...would be $2.95 + $3.00 = $5.95, plus tax? What's the tax in NYC, 8%? So that would be $6.43? Seems like a lot.

    Do you get to keep the ceramic-looking bowl?

    I'm afraid to ask whether the above serving is small, medium or large.


    Yes, that's the size.

    However, I notice coconut, raspberries and mint. That is 3 toppings. So now the price is $7.25.

    And, no, you don't get the ceramic dish. (that's just the publicity photo). It is served in styrofoam.
    #9
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 11:34:33 (permalink)
    It seems that Pinkberry is so popular that someone ripped off the idea, and opened a frozen yogurt place in South Beach, and named it Blissberry. It's next to the Epicure Market on Alton Road.

    Wait... here is place in Coconut Grove called Red Kiwi that has the same photo of yogurt with raspberries, coconut and mint that is on the Pinkberry site!

    http://www.coconutgrove.com/affiliatedetail.cfm?ID=591

    And Yogurbella, in South Beach and Coconut Grove.

    http://www.yogurbella.com/

    Definitely a trend, both locales are where the hipsters hang.
    #10
    NYNM
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/16 13:27:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MiamiDon

    It seems that Pinkberry is so popular that someone ripped off the idea, and opened a frozen yogurt place in South Beach, and named it Blissberry. It's next to the Epicure Market on Alton Road.

    Wait... here is place in Coconut Grove called Red Kiwi that has the same photo of yogurt with raspberries, coconut and mint that is on the Pinkberry site!

    http://www.coconutgrove.com/affiliatedetail.cfm?ID=591

    And Yogurbella, in South Beach and Coconut Grove.

    http://www.yogurbella.com/

    Definitely a trend, both locales are where the hipsters hang.


    Oh dear yes! In fact, just this morning I saw a Red Mango (part of a new chain, similar to Pinkberry) set to open "cattycorner" to Pinkberry on W. 14 St.

    Maybe hipsters are overpaid to have that kind of cash? (or rich Dads - I onotice here in NYC they always pay by credit card - even for ice cream, coffee, snacks).

    What is with these yogurt chains?
    #11
    NYNM
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/17 22:38:41 (permalink)
    Not to "beat a dead horse", and prolong a topic past its prime, but I just read an article from the NYTimes on the "Yogurt Wars" now happening in NYC.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/27/dining/27yogurt.html?_r=1&ref=dining&oref=slogin

    Apparently Red Mango is from Korea, Pinkberry from California (and a few others: Yogurt World, Yoplait, Yoggi Spot, eks, Flurt) are fightin' it out on the streets of NY.

    A few choice quotes:
    "the opportunity to pay $5 for a cup of frozen yogurt with blueberries and “to have a luxury experience, by sitting at a $500 table in a $350 chair, while you eat it,” Mr. Lee said."

    "high-school girls in miniskirts, Uggs and goose bumps stood outside Yolato on the Upper West Side, spooning up soft-serve. “We come here every day,” said Shira Cohen, a 10th-grader. “I start thinking about the toppings even before second period.”

    "But that perfect churn of air and water, cream and tang, sweet and sour is elusive, and subjective. Some like it fluffy; others, dense. Some find the tang of Pinkberry excessive, even aggressive; others say that yogurt without tang is just low-fat ice cream. The taste of a good plain yogurt is full of lactic acid, a natural byproduct of fermentation that also gives depth to the flavors of foods like Parmesan cheese and prosciutto."

    Oh well. You heard (read) it here....
    #12
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/18 04:45:45 (permalink)
    Teens and "tweens" will always spend money on what they perceive as cool. $5 for yogurt to teens and the "Sex and the City" crowd may not seem like a rip-off. To those of us who would rather have a big hunk of cake or pie from a local diner (which is usually more like $3?), we think they're nuts.

    On the other hand, they probably think that we're nuts.
    #13
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/18 06:25:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by The Travelin Man

    Teens and "tweens" will always spend money on what they perceive as cool. $5 for yogurt to teens and the "Sex and the City" crowd may not seem like a rip-off. To those of us who would rather have a big hunk of cake or pie from a local diner (which is usually more like $3?), we think they're nuts.

    On the other hand, they probably think that we're nuts.


    Here is one frozen yogurt businessman's take on the clientele:

    "New York has many women, many young people, many Asian-Americans, and many people with a high income,” said Eric Yun, the United States president of Yogurberry, a Korean franchise with a new store on a busy strip of Jackson Heights, Queens. “All of those people love frozen yogurt.” [emphasis added]
    #14
    David_NYC
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/18 12:41:05 (permalink)
    I think we have done a good job of analyzing this latest incarnation of the frozen yogurt shop. It has a lot of parallels to the corner candy store/soda fountain we used to go to while still in school.
    #15
    enginecapt
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/03/18 19:49:14 (permalink)
    I'd much rather sit in a 5 dollar plastic chair at a 20 dollar plastic table eating a reasonably priced cup of product. But that's just my old fart, jaded opinion.

    Pinkberry's from trendy, hipster Santa Monica. I'm not. Never the twain shall meet.
    #16
    kim79
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/15 17:02:49 (permalink)
    Hey everyone...so I wrote a letter to the big wigs at Pink berry and they sent a huge corporate response back to me...you shall get a kick out of this... Their explanation doesn't help any of my questions, just a cover up for all things asked.

    My letter to them:

    *****
    We love our Pinkberry, don't get us wrong, but have really hard time understanding why such a tiny portion costs so dang much? I really hate watching my portion get 'weighed' and only a tiny little helping of topping put on top come to almost FIVE or SIX DOLLARS! Ridiculous! For a yogurt and sugar mix?? It couldn't cost no more than 50 cents to produce that white whip. My friends and I have stopped going because we end up angry after we finished. We were going almost 3 times a week, coming out to almost $20 a week for frozen yogurt? We went back to going to Penguins, much cheaper. Yesterday my fiance and I walked by a PinkBerry store at the Palos Verdes Mall and heard a child tell his mother "Why is there a hole in my ice cream?" His mother replied, "Because they gipped us!" I actually laughed out loud because this is that I think all the time and then to hear a 3 year old recall it outloud?!

    It would be nice if the prices came down say 75 cents or so at the most for each serving size, but, with the trendy crazy phenonmon right now (hence all the yogurt places popping up in the south bay), I doubt that will happen. The public will get continued to be ripped off, as the lines coming out of the door have proven so.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comments,

    Sincerely,
    -Craving Pinkberry (but can't fork out the dough)
    'Kim'

    THEIR RESPONSE
    Hello Kim,

    Thank you for writing about your experience with Pinkberry. Any and all comments are welcome and appreciated, as we want to provide our customers with the highest quality product and a pleasant experience every time they visit a Pinkberry store. I understand that you feel that our Pinkberry yogurt seems overpriced compared to other frozen yogurt stores; however, be assured that your are getting the highest quality ingredients that no other yogurt store can match. As you may already know, our yogurt is completely fat-free, made only with all natural ingredients, and is full of live yogurt cultures, which other yogurt stores cannot come close to, including the one particular store that you mentioned. The others may try to imitate the original Pinkberry taste; however, they will never be able to match the freshness, the all-natural wholesome goodness, and the healthiness of a Pinkberry. All of our fruit is specifically selected from the highest quality growers, delivered fresh daily, and cut just moments before serving. All dry toppings are of the highest grade, and are delivered and kept in airtight containers, before serving, to maintain its freshness and quality.



    I am not familiar with the specific prices of other frozen yogurt stores; however, I am confident to inform you that the price of a Pinkberry yogurt is not high, by any standard, when you take into the consideration the efforts taken to ensure the highest quality product that we provide to our customers. Due to our selectiveness in the quality of ingredients, our costs are not low, as opposed to perhaps other stores that use lower grade or store brought ingredients or fruits. As a result, we have to have proportion guidelines for toppings. For example, our purchase cost of raspberries is likely more than what you would pay for them during this particular season. You can probably verify the high cost of certain fruit at the local markets.

    If we were to sacrifice the standard of quality required for our product, I’m sure that our product can be much less expensive as to price; however, our goal is to provide our customers with a product that cannot be matched, at a very reasonable price, which may mean a price that is a little higher than some other stores out there.


    As for the weighing of our yogurt, it is an internal measuring guide for the servers to ensure that the customers are getting what they paid for. Most of the times, the yogurt will exceed the minimum required ounces. If a yogurt weighed comes in under the required minimum, more yogurt will be poured to meet it. As for the hole in the yogurt, that is something we try to avoid when we swirl, as it gives the customers a feeling that they got “gipped”, as you put it. However, since each yogurt is weighed to ensure the minimum required ounces, the customer is, in fact, getting the same amount of yogurt. Sometimes due to the swirl, there may be a hollow spot in the middle of the yogurt; however, be assured that in actual weight and content, the customer is getting the same amount, although I do agree with you that if may give a customer the feeling that they got less. The swirling technique is something we are continuously working on to avoid these types of misunderstandings.


    I hope I was able to provide you with some information in response to your email and shed some light about our product. If you have any other comments or suggestions regarding Pinkberry, please feel free to contact us again.
    #17
    Pigiron
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/15 19:27:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kim79

    .... The public will get continued to be ripped off, as the lines coming out of the door have proven so......



    Let me get this straight...you think their prices are too high, so that means the public is being "ripped off"? Is cheap frozen yogurt an inalienable right? If it's too expensive, don't buy it and move on.
    #18
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/15 23:38:58 (permalink)
    Dear Big Successful Company,

    Your product is so popular that you currently have lines out the door, but could you reduce the price that you charge?


    Hmmm....doesn't sound too convincing when you lay it out like that. Also, for anyone who chooses to write to companies to complain....letters that are grammatically poor (refers to herself as "we," and "It couldn't cost no more...") are often discarded immediately. You actually got a response that came from someone who evidently read your letter - he used the same word "gipped." Yes, he used corporate double-speak, but did you really think that they would acquiesce and just lower the price of their yogurt?

    Dear Kim,

    After reflecting long and hard on your letter, we have decided that six dollars IS too much to charge for yogurt. Seventy-five cents seems like a reasonable price reduction to me, too. So, starting tomorrow, we will reduce all the prices in all of our stores.

    Thanks! I don't know why we didn't think of lowering our prices sooner!

    PinkBerry
    #19
    uncledaveyo
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/16 00:28:09 (permalink)
    I've never been to Pinkberry. But I hate it.
    #20
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/16 09:20:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by The Travelin Man

    Dear Big Successful Company,

    Your product is so popular that you currently have lines out the door, but could you reduce the price that you charge?


    Hmmm....doesn't sound too convincing when you lay it out like that. Also, for anyone who chooses to write to companies to complain....letters that are grammatically poor (refers to herself as "we," and "It couldn't cost no more...") are often discarded immediately. You actually got a response that came from someone who evidently read your letter - he used the same word "gipped." Yes, he used corporate double-speak, but did you really think that they would acquiesce and just lower the price of their yogurt?

    Dear Kim,

    After reflecting long and hard on your letter, we have decided that six dollars IS too much to charge for yogurt. Seventy-five cents seems like a reasonable price reduction to me, too. So, starting tomorrow, we will reduce all the prices in all of our stores.

    Thanks! I don't know why we didn't think of lowering our prices sooner!

    PinkBerry



    #21
    mland520
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/16 09:40:07 (permalink)
    Living in Dallas, the only yogurt places that I am aware of are "TCBY" and they are now few and far between. All the media hype over yogurt and the benefits of eating same are just that- HYPE. Back in the 60's and 70's if you wanted good, fresh yogurt you made your own. Some still do. And then you can top it with however much stuff you want! And yes, I still sometimes make my own and it freezes just fine in my ice cream maker.
    #22
    6star
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/25 10:50:13 (permalink)
    It looks like Pinkberry has gotten itself in trouble: http://tiny.cc/OI5ny

    New York Times: The All-Natural Taste That Wasn’t

    ".....After a class-action lawsuit was filed last year accusing the company of deceptive marketing, Pinkberry posted ingredients on its Web site. But that got little notice until the case was settled two weeks ago. There is, it turns out, a great deal more than yogurt in those costly white cups.

    The ingredients list for Original Pinkberry has 23 items. Skim milk and nonfat yogurt are listed first, then three kinds of sugar: sucrose, fructose and dextrose. Fructose and maltodextrin, another ingredient, are both laboratory-produced ingredients extracted from corn syrup.

    The list includes at least five additives defined by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as emulsifiers (propylene glycol esters, lactoglycerides, sodium acid pyrophosphate, mono- and diglycerides); four acidifiers (magnesium oxide, calcium fumarate, citric acid, sodium citrate); tocopherol, a natural preservative; and two ingredients — starch and maltodextrin — that were characterized as fillers by Dr. Gary A. Reineccius, a professor in the department of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota and an expert in food additives......"
    #23
    David_NYC
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/25 12:01:44 (permalink)
    LMAO,

    Just scroll up this page a few entries to the one made by kim79 on April 15th, 2008; posted was the reply from Pinkberry to kim79. One of the sentences was:

    "As you may already know, our yogurt is completely fat-free, made only with all natural ingredients, and is full of live yogurt cultures, which other yogurt stores cannot come close to, including the one particular store that you mentioned."

    OK, if we consider Pinkberry to be a frozen dessert, then I guess they are telling the truth if they say it is made with all natural yogurt. It takes folks like the NY Times and Roadfood readers to tell you Pinkberry consists of all natural yogurt and all sorts of additives and fillers added that may or not be considered "natural" ingredients.

    Even if the formula was created by a food technologist, it probably doesn't bother the kids hanging out at Pinkberry.
    #24
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: Pinkberry (rip-off?) 2008/04/25 15:57:25 (permalink)
    This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the "fat free" frozen yogurt.



    "Hey, another round of strawberry for me and my friends."
    #25
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