I just chatted with the kindest woman. She’d joined us for dinner a few weeks ago on a date, set up by a friend, and when I got a chargeback notice from the bank saying that the charge was fraudulent, I felt sure we could resolve it. Sometimes people’s credit card numbers are compromised, and the bank will charge back every charge made by the cardholder for a longer stretch than the card information was actually compromised. So I called optimistic. She was so pleasant and charming that it hardly mattered that I was barking up the wrong tree.
It turns out that even though she’d made the reservation, she was being taken to dinner by a suitor, one with whom she didn’t click. She’s clearly a smart and educated, independent woman, and his attempts to impress her with tales of the six houses he owned fell flat, and it was their only date, which I’m going to assume was why he felt he shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Our point of sale system doesn’t have a chip reader, and banks- those poor underdogs who bear the brunt of it all- managed in 2015 to shift the onus to restaurateurs and millions of other small businesses whose point-of-sale systems don’t support chip readers. So when this guy who took her out- we’ll call her “I” and we’ll call him “M. Chowdhu****,” he paid the tab, and I see now in retrieving their charge slip that he deliberately signed the slip by tucking it under another sheet of paper so that only a faint imprint of his signature was visible. Apparently, this is a trick he’s used before.
Anyway, after trying to resolve it with the bank, I ended up calling “I,” who gave me the number for “M. Chowdhu****” and when I spoke to him, he said he didn’t remember dining here and didn’t know what I was talking about. I read him his order, spelled the name from the credit card, told him the time he arrived and the time he departed, and there was an uncomfortable silence on the phone, followed by another denial, and then the question, did I have any other business with him? I told him it would be nice if he settled his tab, and he hung up on me.
Oh, M. Chowdu****. How I wanted you to be the victim of a bank’s error, and an upstanding citizen. Oh, how I wanted “I” to be wrong in not having a second date with you. But, oh, did she dodge a bullet.
I tell you all this story not to ask for your pity- I’m a big boy, and the tab wasn’t even a hundred bucks. I know that when someone did us wrong in mid-shutdown and stole $700 and something in Champagne this way, a few of you called and sent money, which was really kind, but I want you to know that any attempts to do so will be converted to contributions to our next donation run to Youth on Their Own, or maybe to help subsidize the event I’m working on with Child and Family Resources for much further down the line. I tell you this story to remind you that this kind of thing happens all the time.
I know, for example, that the chatty guy who got some takeout the other night with a credit card that said his first name was Dawn, will likely result in a chargeback as well, the supporting evidence being that he, after purchasing his takeout, had a seat at the bar and when the bartender’s back was turned, skipped out on the $25 super-high-end tequila he ordered. It happens all the time. I’ve been threatened when I followed a guy out who dined and dashed and ran out onto the covered parking of the apartments behind us, and I’ve watched an eccentric person with her own decorated Champagne flute become a seriously unstable person with her own decorated Champagne flute, run up a $150 tab, throw a plastic Darth Vader toy at Amie, intimate to me that her Tucson Weekly was from the future, and bite and spit on the police when they came to try to resolve the matter. The hilarious officer won my heart when he came back in after being kicked and bitten and spit upon while getting her into the patrol car and said, “you know? She’s really not so bad when you get to know her.”
I’m telling this tale to remind everyone that when we walk into a business- I’m guilty of it myself- and we see people purchasing and having a good time, and living the good life in supporting the business, it’s easy to imagine that they’re on Easy Street. It runs out we all have things to deal with behind the scenes like with M. Chowdhu****- or front and center like Darth Vader’s buddy- and before we get all caught up in seeing how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, it would serve us to realize that everybody- EVERYBODY- has crap to deal with. Even M. Chowdhu****, I’m assuming.
So today’s missive is a reminder that when you deal with someone working behind a counter, or at a checkstand, or on the phone at whatever business you patronize, and you detect an edge in their response, or they seem a little snippy to you, maybe it’s because of the thing or the person they just had to deal with before you came in. Just sayin’.
So I’m treating “I” to dinner, and I’m okay with it. She was really, really nice. I hope she finds a better guy to date. I’m buying M.Chowdhu**** dinner as well, most likely, and while I’m way less happy to do that, I’m going to regard it partly as a cost of doing business, partly as karmic justice for wrongs I’ve done in my life, and even a tiny bit as a good deed for the time that M. Chowdhu**** was done wrong by someone else, and hoping it all comes out in the wash. As I mentioned yesterday, I still feel like 4600 people have my back, so I’m not worried about it today, and for those who know me really well, you’ll know that that’s an achievement that to me is well worth that $95.
Now, to business, which, as usual, is far shorter than my diatribe:
First, there’s today’s menu,
and then there’s a reminder that we’ve got a Zoom wine tasting tomorrow that you can still handily sign up for.
Next, there’s a reminder that there are only three days left in Sonoran Restaurant Week,
and then, until we get the details sorted for our next donation run to Youth on Their Own, there’s a placeholder, which is a link to their website so you can find out what these people are doing for students dealing with homelessness who have the strength and tenacity to finish school despite their setbacks and challenges.
And with that, I leave you to get out there, find someone who just dealt with something unpleasant, and turn their day around.