Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: It's Just Lunch is Just a Waste of Money


Update: February 2016
I've just received an email about a class action lawsuit against It's Just Lunch.


Original 2011 post:

Dating as a woman in my late 40's in Sacramento sucks. And it's not just me. I have a posse of single girlfriends my age that look great, have good jobs, are smart and outgoing, and none of us can get a date with a decent guy in our age range.

I've been divorced now for ten years. I've tried it all - online dating, speed dating, Meetups, etc. In 2005, before the economy tanked, I tried It's Just Lunch (IJL). You may have seen their ads, especially in airline magazines. It's a dating service where they set you up on dates (basically blind dates) for just an hour - over lunch or over drinks.

In 2005 IJL had an office near Arden Fair Mall. I went in for an appointment and signed up for a year for $1200. I was so fed up with the online dating scene and I figured that "you get what you pay for". If a person is willing to pay that much money, they must have a decent job and be serious about finding a long term relationship, right? I was tired of the online players out there just looking for hookups and casual flings.



It worked out great. I was being set up for about a date a week, met some nice men, and finally clicked with one.  Joe (not his real name) and I hit it off and put our IJL memberships on hold. Our relationship flourished and eventually our hold time ran out. We didn't care. We were very happy. That relationship lasted on and off for 3.5 years before it finally ran its course.

Over the last few years I tried online dating again. The thing is, my girlfriends and I go off it for months and then get so frustrated with the slim pickings, no dates, and loneliness that we sign up again hoping it's going to be better. But within a week of paying we are again pulling our hair out and cursing ourselves for being suckered into wasting our money again. 

I've actually done a reverse search. That means that I pretended to be a man looking for a woman in my age range just so I can see what my competition is. Let me tell you, there are a lot of attractive women out there! Not so the men. It is so depressing to look at the men. So many are out of shape, can't spend ten minutes to write anything, and thus have bleak, uninteresting profiles. UGH!

My thoughts returned to It's Just Lunch, but they no longer had a Sacramento office. I looked on the internet and it said that they still do serve Sacramento. I contacted them to see about signing up again and found out that now they do everything virtually.  They cut out the overhead costs of payroll and rent and just handle everything via computer and phone contacts.  You send them a picture, talk to them and fill out profiles, and they set  up the dates.

The other big change - they more than doubled their price! Now one year is close to $3,000!!! They do offer half year memberships as well.

Let me tell you, the sales pitch was good. They were so enthusiastic. They said there were plenty of members in the Sacramento area that there would be plenty of dates. I had had such a great experience in 2005 that I was all the more willing to give them another try. I opted for the six months. After all, the last time I joined, it only took two months before Joe and I clicked.

And then it all went to crap from there. Once they had my money, service was practically non-existent. Oh, they put all kinds of excuses out there, but it boils down to ABSOLUTELY CRAPPY customer service. Phone calls and emails not returned, no follow-ups. I've never been so disgusted with service levels in my life.

Oh, I've been on three dates with them. And the men themselves are very nice (although we haven't hit it off). But I can tell from my conversations with them that they are experiencing the same frustration with lousy customer service as I am.

They set us up on the dates, but the next day you are supposed to get an email asking how it went, what was good/bad, and what they should focus on for your next match.  As of today it is over three weeks since I had my last date and I still haven't received an email or phone call from IJL. 

It is my opinion that the original owners sold the company and this new ownership is out to milk the business for all it's worth.

The bottom line is - Do not, under any circumstances, sign up for It's Just Lunch. I say this because I have found an online consumer complaint page with loads of complaints from around the country.
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