CUS gift delivery?

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Have some good friends leaving on their first overnight trip in a few days and it is an enviable itinerary. I will be dropping them at the Memphis station to board the CONO to Chicago, then SWC to LA. Coast Starlight to San Jose area. After visiting with family they will return to Memphis via the CZ and CONO. I will pick them up on their return. We have kidded around that I am taking them and picking them up not because we are friends but because I want to see the train arrive and depart.

Anyway, I have advised them not to judge the trip by their first leg on the CONO and that the real first class experience starts in Chicago at the station and in the Metropolitan Lounge. They are in a bedroom all the way, both ways.

Thought it would be nice to kick it up a notch by having something delivered to them at the lounge in Chicago or perhaps to the train, SWC, if that is possible?

Any suggestions out there as to what or how to do it? i.e. Flowers, fruit basket, etc.

Thanks in advance for the input.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Whatever you come up with make sure it's something that can be transported on the train. Flower vase can spill and flowers could take up valuable space.

Fruit could go bad.

Maybe call the Amtrak store at CUS and ask if they would deliver something from the store? You could first "shop" at the online store then see if the physical store in CUS has it on stock.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Whatever you come up with make sure it's something that can be transported on the train. Flower vase can spill and flowers could take up valuable space. Fruit could go bad. Maybe call the Amtrak store at CUS and ask if they would deliver something from the store? You could first "shop" at the online store then see if the physical store in CUS has it on stock.
If it were me I'd avoid placing this in Amtrak's hands and simply call a florist/fruit/basket delivery service in Chicago directly and explain exactly what you're trying to accomplish along with when and where it needs to arrive to succeed. If someone here has a direct line/extension for the metropolitan lounge I might call them on the day of delivery just to give them a heads up. Other than that I'd leave Amtrak out out of the equation as much as possible.
 
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wwchi

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Apr 14, 2009
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see if Garrett's popcorn can do a delivery like that - was going to say Chicago pizza but that would get cold...Garrett's has lines out the door full of tourists waiting to eat their famous popcorn (regular/cheese/caramel) and I know they do gift tins. Just not sure how that gets delivered except maybe to the Metropolitan Lounge where they then could maybe get paged by the front desk staff?
 

zephyr17

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Amtrak is not a cruise line and you can't order bon voyage gifts. They are not set up for it in any way, shape, or form. As mentioned above, having someone deliver the gift to the Metropolitan Lounge desk is really the only feasible option. There are no guarantees there either, some of the CUS Metropolitan Lounge staff don't exactly have the world's best reputation for customer service, although I've never had a problem with them.

In all honesty, if you want to give them a bon voyage gift, give it to them yourself at Memphis. That really is the best option.
 
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Lonestar648

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I fully agree. There is way too many opportunities for something to foul up you good intentions.
 

RSG

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I think it could be doable, with the right gift. I agree that something like popcorn would be about the best food gift, but there are plenty of places in Chicago to choose from that do things like cookies, etc. Best to have whatever it is in a collapsible package (so no 'tins' of popcorn would be preferable) which can be easily stowed away while onboard.

As far as making it happen, I'd work from the station outward. The key is to finding the right person or persons who would be willing to make it happen, rather than someone who would simply say "Nuh uh, not gonna happen." To that end, calling the CUS media relations office and explaining (briefly) what you're trying to do and asking for suggestions could be a route worth taking. It could even be an avenue for CUS/Amtrak promotion, if staged correctly. (I know that's not what the OP had in mind, but sometimes surprises work better if there's a win-win scenario involved.) I'm suggesting the media relations department because there are usually people in that line of work who are used to dealing with more sophisticated requests than customer service or management types and tend to think of inquiries more from a positive point of view such as "how can I make this happen?" rather than "yet another human jerk I need to get rid of ASAP so I can talk to yet another human jerk".

As for the Metropolitan Lounge staff, it could be a crapshoot. The level of service seems to have improved upon the move to new digs, but I still get an undercurrent vibe of frustrated kindergarten teacher among some of the new faces. However, if you had the assistance of someone in the building (whom they might be reluctant to brush off or say 'no' to) it just might work out.

I agree with leaving the front end operations of Amtrak out of the scenario unless and until enlisted by someone else at CUS. Plus, last time I visited the Amtrak store at CUS, they seemed to have less merchandise than the previous time I was in there and anytime I've made a transaction I've always felt I was taking the person assisting me away from their real job (which is probably closer to the truth, but still doesn't help from a customer relations perspective).

If it is able to be pulled off successfully, a small gift of appreciation to whomever assisted would be a nice way to ensure that their efforts weren't treated as an everyday expectation. A cookie tray or similar from Mariano's in Greektown (or wherever their nearest delivery location might be) could be a nice 'thank you'.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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As far as making it happen, I'd work from the station outward...calling the CUS media relations office...It could even be an avenue for CUS/Amtrak promotion, if staged correctly.
Why make this about the OP and his friends when he can turn it into some sort of staged publicity stunt for Amtrak? :blink:

As for the Metropolitan Lounge staff, it could be a crapshoot. The level of service seems to have improved upon the move to new digs, but I still get an undercurrent vibe of frustrated kindergarten teacher among some of the new faces. However, if you had the assistance of someone in the building (whom they might be reluctant to brush off or say 'no' to) it just might work out.
My guess is that they would assume the gift is for an employee at first. That should get the delivery person in the door. Then it's just a matter of what the staff do once they realize it's for a customer instead. Do they calmly allow the delivery person to look for the recipient or do they make a scene and kick them out? Considering the unholy union created by combining Amtrak corporate values with Chicago customer service I'd probably spend my time warning the delivery service to be friendly but firm in their tasks rather than trying to sweet talk the incorrigible staff.
 
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MikefromCrete

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This whole idea is a recipe for disaster. As others have said, Amtrak is not a cruise line and is not set up for this type of gift giving. Give your friends something when you drop them off in Memphis. That way you will be assured they'll actually get the gift.
 

norfolkwesternhenry

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Jun 6, 2016
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I can't say delivering anything in CUS woukd work, but maybe get something that would help them in CHI, like a gift card to a restatraunt you know they might like
 
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