Original Story: CBSNews.com
Olive Garden's "Never Ending Pasta Pass" promotion has become a never-ending source of trouble for those with a gluttonous appetite for Italian food.
First, the restaurant chain's website crashed under the demand from customers clamoring for a shot at buying a pass that yielded seven weeks of pasta, salad and soft drinks for $100. Then people vented their frustrations against Olive Garden on social media after initially thinking that they had successfully bought a pass, only to discover that they hadn't. Some were particularly irked when they learned that simply clicking the button to buy the pass after entering their credit card information didn't mean that they completed the transaction.
Now, Olive Garden is warning all those who are trying to buy passes for the offer second-hand on sites such as eBay and Craigslist that they might not be able to use them. Each pass is personalized with the name of the original buyer. But an Olive Garden spokeswoman added that the company will work with those who have already purchased the passes on the secondary market. What the resolution will be is not clear.
Immediately after the promotion, more than 50 passes went up for sale on eBay, some listed for nearly $400. As of Thursday morning, there were still more than 40, including some new listings despite the warning from Olive Garden.
Olive Garden officials said they wanted to get attention with the promotion. With that, they appear to have succeeded. But they've also managed to annoy a lot of seemingly loyal customers. Typical posts on Olive Garden's Facebook page get anywhere from a couple dozen to a few hundred comments. By contrast, the company's pasta promotion drew a couple thousand remarks, many of them angry ones.
One customer wrote: "This was a horrible promotion. Why did you send me an email about this? I clicked at 3:00 exactly. The purchase page came up. I clicked. It kept saying that the site was too busy. After 5 minutes, it said it was sold out. What a load of garbage! I was so disappointed. 1,000 passes for a country of 350,000,000 people. Winning the lottery had better odds!"