Final Fantasy XIV is not shy to cross promotions, having done so with Amazon on several occasions and recently even with Butterfinger. Typically, the process is purchasing either a certain amount or item, then you’ll receive a code to get in-game items for FFXIV. I’ve done this several times to this point, so when I heard the announcement of a pizza eating emote, I immediately thought “Cool!” and figured it should be no big deal as I normally use food delivery apps anyway.
At least, I thought it would be easy.
So, the promotion itself was straight forward. It starts when the Game Awards would begin. You order at least $15 worth of GrubHub food, then use the code ENDWALKER. Doing so would net you a code sent to the email registered to your GrubHub account. Simple right?
My personal experience was anything but. I had tried placing an order to GrubHub while at work. Upon entering the code, I received an error, and the code would deactivate. I tried it a few times to no avail. I thought to myself “Well, maybe I’m too early? The Game Awards isn’t until later.” I was hungry, so I submitted my order anyway and just waited until later that night. Later, I tried another order and this time I had gotten the error that my code has already been redeemed. Bewildered, I tried GrubHub chat.
We went around in circles for a bit. She thought I just wanted free delivery and credited my account as such. I kept emphasizing that hey, I really want that emote and I just want to make sure I’m getting it. She never even referred to the emote directly, and instead assured me that the promotion is applied, and she refunded me the delivery. I had given up and figured “If I get it, I get it.” I honestly thought I had done something wrong and just let it go. Such was not the case. My fiancé had tried to use the code for his own order and no jive. My Twitch mod, Amehtta, had a similar experience. Now we’re all confused. However, she did some digging, and she found out the why behind it, and the why is ridiculous.
If you go to the GrubHub website, they have a section where you can type in promotional codes and see their terms and agreements. The first red flag that we found was that the codes were on a first come first serve basis. They can take up to two weeks for delivery, granted, but nobody in my friend circle saw the code work, which is what concerns us. She later went straight to the FFXIV official forums and uncovered that we weren’t the only ones running into this issue.
Several FFXIV players all has the same experiences. Highlighting one of the posts there made by ConcernedPerson (aptly named, considering) they explain how they were conned:
“So… On the lodestone campaign page, no where does it mention that GrubHub was given a limited number of the emote redemption codes, nor that these codes would apparently be randomly distributed to random email addresses that used the ENDWALKER code during the campaign. I say random because I have been reading through posts on Reddit & Twitter, and there are folks who used the code on the very first day, within the first hour, who have also been told by GrubHub that there are no codes left.”
I, myself, took to Twitter to see if people were posting about it, and… more of the same:
To those who were excited about getting the pizza emote, GrubHub says they ran out of codes and have **no intention** to give everyone who **participated** in the promotion a pizza emote code.@FF_XIV_EN #FFXIV #Endwalker pic.twitter.com/Tlk8ZL2GxM
— ☾•̩̩͙ 𝕐𝕦𝕖 •̩̩͙☽ 🌕 Lamia (@yuestelle_ffxiv) December 18, 2021
So you ran out of the 20,000 free delivery codes, which is fine. But then you tell people to keep using the Endwalker code and they’ll get the in-game item.
You tell people to DM the cares account, but they’ve not responded to anyone about this.
Never using GH again.
— Krispy Floortank (@KrispyFloortank) December 18, 2021
I truly hope SE learns from this disaster of a GrubHub promo.
From fine print about codes not being available if you used pick up to declines because there was no clarification that the "limit" wasnt for free deliver, but for the code itself is disgusting.
Do better. pic.twitter.com/8MLXb0huKm
— Illy Does FFXVI Garuda (@IllyXIV) December 19, 2021
As it turns out, it would be RNG (random number generator, for the uninitiated) that would decide if you got a code or not. How many codes did they have, you might wonder? One user on the FFXIV forums, CazzT, reported only 20k:
“Some FC mates are reporting that GrubHub customer service told them that there’s only 20k codes. Not 20k free delivery, but just 20k codes in all.
Someone from SE needs to ring up their pals at GrubHub and find out what’s going on.”
What makes this a HUGE blunder is that this information isn’t readily available for us to find out about. Going to the promotion on the Lodestone, a website for news and updates for FFXIV maintained by Square-Enix directly, doesn’t display any of this information on their main “gotcha” marketing on the page. When you click on the terms and conditions link, that’s when it mentioned that the codes are first come first serve, but not how many are available. The only mention is that free delivery is only on the first 20k (which is what I had thought, and I was fine paying delivery.) Apparently, that number has a greater significance. There’s a separate link saying, “Learn more on the GrubHub website”. All it has is the same exact terms and condition, only in tinier font, all the way at the bottom of the page.
Needless to say, this feels very scummy. It’s only 20k codes for a game with millions of players. There’s an indication of there being codes first come first serve, but no indication of when the campaign would meet its limit. In fact, the campaign lasted from December 9th to December 15th, with the only strict time frame being eligible for free delivery. With your minimum order being $15, which…honestly…who gets under that amount in the first place?
This left everyone who spent money but is not ‘deemed eligible’ feeling cheated. Amehtta, my fiancé, and myself included. This all feels like a marketing ploy that is riding the vibes from all the hype Endwalker has garnished, ambiguous enough that it can be both misleading and not be considered false advertisement. I’m not sure who’s truly at fault here, Square-Enix or GrubHub. Customer service from one simply points to the customer service of the other, placing you in a circle to nowhere.
If anything new comes up from this, I’ll make sure to keep you all posted!