CHEESECAKE ETC.

Akemi had a hankering for dessert, so, once the dishes were done, we hopped in the car and headed over to Cheesecake etc. on Granville Street for a little post-dinner treat.  Now I’m not sure what the “etc.” stands for in “Cheesecake etc.” but, judging from our experience last night, you ca be damn sure it aint “exemplary service”.  Truthfully, the place has always had a bit of rep for its, uh, laid-back staff, so we weren’t expecting the royal treatment.  Still, we weren’t expecting the serf treatment either.

We walked in and were told we could sit anywhere.  After choosing a table a little off to the side, away from the crowded main area, we perused the menus, made our selections, then tried to wave down the waitress.  Unfortunately for us, she was too busy serving other customers, taking orders, seating NEW customers, taking THEIR orders and serving THEM while Akemi desperately tried to get her attention.  Clearly, that quiet side table had been a mistake.

And so we moved, abandoning our peaceful but forlorn little spot in favor of a table right in front of the hostess station and kitchen.  High traffic area.  Surely, they couldn’t miss us!  We sat and waited.  The waitress came and went.  The hostess chatted with someone.  We waited some more.  Finally, Akemi, fed up, suggested we leave.  I was a surprised.  The Japanese are known for their patience.  And their love of cheesecake.  But it wasn’t enough for Akemi.

And so, we gave up and headed home, cheesecake-less but inarguably wiser.  Next time, we’ll go for pie instead.

SAFEWAY/DIAMOND PARKING

I pulled into the Safeway lot, parked, then proceeded to do my shopping.  I always hit the same three places: Safeway, Whole Foods, and Market Meats.  And not necessarily in that order.  While Safeway is my stop for things like paper towels, cleaning products, canned pumpkin (keeps the dogs regular), and pantry items, Whole Foods offers more variety in the way of fresh produce.  Market Meats, on the other hand, specializes in the very best pork, beef, lamb, and veal.  If we’re in the mood for fish, then it’s off to Seafood City on Granville Island.

On this day, however, like so many other days, I was hitting the Safeay/Whole Foods/Market Meats trio.   We finished up and returned to the car where I noticed a ticket awaiting me.  According to said ticket, I had left the Safeway parking lot on food and, thus, had to pay a fine of $78.40 (or $61.60 if I paid within ten days).  I won’t even go into the legal authority Diamond Parking possesses to pursue collection or where the hell they came up with the fine of $78.4o (as opposed to, say $71.37 or $35.82 or even $7643.12).  Rather, I’ll just focus on the fact that, even if I do my shopping at Safeway, I’m expected to move my car around the block to metered parking the second I’m done if I plan to walk across the street to pick up a pork chop or – horrors of horrors! – two doors down to get some kale chips!

THE NFL BYE WEEK

Nothing but a transparent cash grab by the league.  The teams still play a 16 game schedule, but the fact that every team gets a weekend off means a 17-week television schedule which, in turn, means more money in the pockets of the NFL.  And what do the fans get out of it? Absolutely nothing.  In fact, they get the reverse of nothing: an agonizing weekend without their favorite team.  And if you happen to play fantasy football, it’s even worse because it plays havoc with your line-up – like, for instance, this weekend when my Snow Monkeys have to make do without their two best players, quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Marques Colston, unavailable.

THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL

Resident movie critic Cookie Monster is reviewing this one for our Supermovie of the Week Club.  Um, yeh.  Looking forward to his thoughts.

Polls close tonight!  Vote and then leave a comment on the poll page for a chance to win a signed Stargate script!

30 thoughts on “October 13, 2012: Complain complain complain!

  1. Poor Joe and Akemi. I too cannot stand rude wait staff. That was extremely rude of her. I guess she doesn’t want the tips. And…that parking ticket sounded really stupid. I agree.

    I still vote Window of Opportunity because I know practically every punchline and one-liners, and every scene. Plus…just thinking about the episode make me want to giggle. I think my favorite scene has got to be in the briefing room, and Jack remembers…MAGNETS! LOL!! 😀

  2. “According to said ticket, I had left the Safeway parking lot on food and, thus, had to pay a fine of $78.40 (or $61.60 if I paid within ten days).”

    I’d boycott them. 🙁

  3. Coming from the very town where Safeway is headquartered, I can tell you that they have become very persnickity about all of their parking lot usage. My particular situation involves the soccer fields right next to the parking lot. “They” said watch where you park… security will be watching. Definitely the grrr factor. They don’t even allow running in to get Gatorade and onto the field.

  4. Like sg1efc said, except I would recommend hiring a homeless person to stand outside of Safeway holding some obnoxious sign. And/or hire said homeless person, or someone else in need of easy cash, and have them simply sit in the car while you go do your errands. If they try to ticket you, point out the driver did not leave the property on foot, therefore they have no grounds to a ticket. I do hope you find some way to fight and beat this one.
    As for that service, do you plan to send a letter or email, advising them of what happened? Don’t know it will do any good, but they can’t argue ignorance if it happens again. Or walk in with giant stop watch, or a cheap wall clock with a second hand, and sit down, pointedly staring at it. mark in red the 2 or 3 minute mark. If the waitress is a no show, then leave after the time expires. To be really snarky leave the clock, preferably with a picture of a skeleton sitting at a table, menu in hand..
    Thanks for sharing. Always helps to know other people are suffering, even in petty ways. Helps to keep things in perspective.

  5. Reminds me of my recent two trips to Toyota. Had a flat and decided to get it fixed and get an oil change at same time. They decided I needed two new air filters. What irritated me was they just did it without asking me and charged labor on both filters. A monkey could have changed those filters. The next trip a couple weeks later was for a dead two year old battery. I’m sitting in my car waiting for the service guy and a girl with a clipboard comes up and starts inspecting
    my windshield. Turns out she is looking for small “dings” that could turn into cracks. They want to “treat” those “dings” so they don’t become cracks that make you have to replace your windshield. If she wants to pretend to find dings by scratching her fingernail on all the bug hits (dried up insect guts), fine with me. I finally just ignored her and she went away.

    Joe the moral of this story is….I realized the economy is so bad right now, businesses are having to practically pick-pocket their customers for nit-picky things that bring in more money (like your parking ticket). They better be careful though, because they might lose some good customers. (Honda is starting to look good to me.)

    At the Cheesecake place, I would have gotten up and invaded their hostess station standing where they stand. Maybe even greet some customers, but let them know you were told to sit anywhere, you sat over there (pointing) and no one came. Get in their way and let them treat you right and seat you. Then start timing. If it goes long again, ask for the manager. The manager needs to know and you might get a free meal out of it.

  6. I voted for urgo because dom Deliuse was a very funny man and also had two sons that worked for the show one directed the other played sams love interest but thus episode is pure dom deluise comedy at it’s best.

  7. “According to said ticket, I had left the Safeway parking lot on food and, thus, had to pay a fine of $78.40 (or $61.60 if I paid within ten days).” As someone fluent in typos, I have to say this one is awesome! It definitely enriches the rant that it reads “food” instead of “foot”.

  8. I feel your pain with Diamond Parking. Down in South Surrey I went to the Royal Bank, which is always full. I stopped in the loading zone, my wife ran in to deposit a cheque and grab some cash while I waited with the car. And we drove off. A month later we receive a past due notice for a parking ticket we never received – it seemed that since because I was in the car and only for a short time, the parking vulture couldn’t give me the ticket he wrote up for me, so he just sent it in anyways to wait for it to become past due.

    In the end I battled them on the phone several times, and after faxing them a copy of my banking history that backed up my account of the day did they finally drop it.

    I would recommend giving them a phone call explaining that their parking vulture was mistaken, and faxing them a Safeway receipt with a date and time around the same as your ticket. It might take some time but if you stick to your guns they might eventually drop it like they did mine.

  9. Wow – tough choice on which episode to pick. I love SGA and Duet was hilarious and made sci-fi history with “the kiss”. I loved 200. It was a parody with so much going on, it was hard to keep up with it all, plus it had the puppets, an unequaled classic. But I’m voting for Window of Opportunity. It had a great story, was non-stop funny, and then there was THE kiss.

    Bummer on the ticket. Although I’m still not sure how you get a ticket on your car for walking.

  10. You should definitely write a letter to contest the parking ticket. Include a copy of your Safeway receipt to prove you were shopping there.

    Sounds like Cheescake etc has lost a customer . . . and through your blog maybe a lot more than one customer! As a cheesecake aficionado I would certainly have gone to a place like that but not any more. Harking back to your blog a few days ago, one thing I’ve always wanted to do was open a dessert only restaurant called “Just Desserts”. You can be sure that MY staff wouldn’t ignore customers!!

    Recently my girlfriend and I went to a local pub for dinner. We go there several times a year and know it quite well. They usually have excellent service and food. This time they had a new manager on duty and after we were seated and given our menus by our waitress (one that has served us many times in the past and has always been polite and attentive) the manager called the waitresses to him behind the bar and proceeded to berate them about something they did wrong the night before – in full sight and hearing of us and other customers. This went on for over 15 minutes while we were sitting there waiting to give our order. When the waitress finally got away from the manager and came to our table she apologised for the delay and took our order. We had a lovely meal and when the bill arrived it came with a comment card asking us to rate our experience. Normally we ignore those sorts of things but in this instance my girlfriend decided to comment on how unprofessional it was for the manager to admonish his staff in sight of customers and cause a delay in service. We also said that our waitress is great and we’ve never had a problem with her. We then left a big tip for her and handed the comment card directly to her and told her to read it before handing it to the manager. A few days later my girlfriend received an E-Mail from the owner of the pub thanking us for our comments and said that the manager had been spoken to and included a £25 voucher to use on our next visit.

    Sharkboy and Lavagirl will be screening tonight in the Line Noise household. I have a bad feeling about this!

  11. My hubby and one of his co-workers got caught up in one of those parking lot schemes. Must be a new way to fleece the public. They had an attendant see them pay to park and leave the lot. BUT they didn’t put their pay stub in the window. What’s really creepy about your case is that someone was watching you.

    We went to the Cheesecake Factory yesterday. Thankfully, our experience was the opposite to yours and we had a great time. I had the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake-very good. There must be another place you can take Akemi for Cheesecake? Or make your own?

    I’m voting for Harmony because of the young actress. She was so funny and impressive. Plus, the painting at the end surprised me.

    Driving back toward Memphis today. Atlanta is nice but way too congested. It is easily three times the size of Memphis. That means MORE people begging for mula.

  12. A couple of weeks ago, we had an evening of bad service at a Chilis which resulted in me coming up with the line, “Ice is so overrated.” Hubby compained on the online survey he took which resulted in a phone call from the manager. We then received $20 in gift certificates in the mail which was nice except, of course, that wouldn’t pay for all four of us to go back. Told hubby to take the certificates on his trip this week.

    You’re really trying to torture Cookie, aren’t you? Can’t wait to hear his thoughts.

    Have a great day!!!!

  13. We had occasion to go to Toronto and stayed overnight at the Delta hotel on Dixie Rd near the airport. We were told that after paying over $120. for the room, parking was going to be another $16.00. Furthermore, they said, it wasn’t their fault, the city was making them charge for it.. We had tiring and emotional visit with a sick relative and other family member, so needless to say, we were too exhausted to take another step and leave to look for another location. Next time, we will not be staying at any Delta Hotel. Are they really that hard up that they would have to charge hotel guests for parking?

    1. @Tam Dixon: Hubby is planning to come through your city next Saturday on his way back from a geocaching trip. He and his friend will be finding caches in nine states over three days.

  14. I already left message about WOO so I don’t think we need to do it but once.

    Wow, do they have the authority to do that? Here, the ONLY police involvement in parking lots of private stores is for parking in handicapped or an accident. It is true a store owner can have your car towed if you are parking illegally/overnight/not their customer, but it is pretty rare.

  15. Better ticketed than towed and having your vehicle held hostage at three in the morning in a bad part of Chicago, while you and your friend totter around in short skirts and high heels, buzzed on shots of rum and tequila. Crying didn’t help one tiny bit, the heartless bastards.

  16. Diamond should be sued by the city for any semblance of their tickets looking government if their only hope for getting paid is that people think they have garnered more of the government’s claim on legal coercion than they have.

    I do get how the headquarters near Maggy K wouldn’t want the soccer situation to get out of hand. A big group like that’ll inevitably have a few people feeling entitled enough to purchase 2 hours of parking over one Gatorade and when everyone else follows that lead, suddenly evening shopping at Safeway is over. I don’t think a Safeway next to other stores has the same potential for getting out of hand as one next to a soccer field.

    It sounds like Diamond has used that concern to further their scam. If the attendant hears someone complain that they have a receipt, they just gotta’ write down that they saw the person leave the lot and suddenly they don’t have to do more work to meet the quota.

    Safeway should expect some customers to come in from other lots. A little safe foot traffic is good for business as long as other businesses don’t get the idea they don’t need parking because Safeway has it. I wouldn’t get back in my car to move lots. I might have 3 kids with me and it’s difficult to strap them all in. I’d drive to a friendlier part of town to shop rather than deal with the hassle so Safeway would be better off being taken advantage of a little even.

  17. In Canada they seriously follow you around in person or by camera to make sure you don’t leave on foot? I can’t decide if it’s 1984 come to life or just creepy. And I thought the UK was over the top with the time limit car parking.

    I would never be back in that particular shop, or any of their other shops for that matter. And I’d be doing my best to persuade all my friends and family to do the same.

  18. Congratulations to Window of Opportunity. Well deserved. Took in more than half the votes. At least Duet placed third. That’s a bronze medal, right?

  19. Understandable about your Cheesecake thing, clearly not a well run place and to be honest in that situation you did the right thing walking away.

    Complaining probably wouldn’t of changed anything, I would imagine that waitress still being there if you went back the next day.

    Pity that at some places the staff can pick and choose which customers warrant their attention, that said I wouldn’t give it anymore thought, it clearly wasn’t yours or Akemis fault, and clearly the lowly waitress was at fault. 🙂

  20. Alisa Russell: I had to look up “geocaching” 😉 . It sounds fun! We live in the Greater Memphis area but technically we are just over the Tennessee line in Mississippi (Olive Branch). Which part is your hubby going to hit with his geocaching? If he goes to Memphis, please tell him to use caution. Times are tough over there. Car break-ins, muggings, copper thefts and even people stealing those manhole covers. It doesn’t matter if you travel in groups, are alone or male/female anymore. I’ve heard about some of those big college athletes getting robbed over in Memphis. The gun equalizes things for the criminals these days I suppose.

    You are soooo going to regret the Shark Boy, Lava Girl decision…. That is easily the worst movie I have ever seen. I feel sorry for Cookie.

    1. @Tam Dixon: I just asked him, and he said they’re not going downtown. Also, I looked up where you are. We passed right by you twice in the summer of 2011. Once driving from SC to CA and once coming back from CA to hubby’s new job here. We were wanting to get up to I-40 from I-20 and then on the way back, get down to B’ham. Pretty cool!

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