By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame
I was very fortunate to be invited to “Friends & Family” night at Ribelle, a new restaurant in Brookline, MA, last night. Anyone who is lucky enough to have been included in one of these evenings, knows that they’re a real treat. They can be rough, raw, and akin to watching actors rehearse for a big show. Mistakes are made, and you’re in on the action. You really appreciate showtime when you’ve been behind the curtain.
However, there are some responsibilities that go along with the sneak peek; You ask permission about what’s ok to post on social media, and you don’t post a critical ‘review’ of a restaurant that is a work in progress — especially after eating and drinking for free!!!
Tried ribelle tonight and was not impressed. Loud, weird paper over windows. Not a larger enough menu selection for vegetarian or kosher diners. I won’t be going back.
The “weird paper” the anonymous ‘friend’ or ‘family’ member is referring to, was brown paper taped over the windows because the restaurant was closed to the public!!
Seriously, where do these people come from??????
Here is my response on EaterBoston:
That anonymous comment, including, “weird paper over the windows,” is one of the most ridiculous fucking things I’ve seen in a long time. File under, “You can’t make this shit up.” People like this moron are the reason I started my blog/book project.
Dear Moron- You attended a FREE “Friends & Family” night at one of the most highly-anticipated, Boston-area restaurant openings in recent memory. It is an honor to be included on the guest list of a FREE Friends & Family night. TRUSTED guests (and their guests) are expected to come in with an open mind, a keen sense of their surroundings, and an awareness that these nights are a dry run for The real McCoy, when the restaurant opens its doors to the (critical) public.
In exchange for attending the FREE dinner, guests are expected to give candid, constructive, confidential feedback via email, or a comment card that is furnished by the restaurant. (Yes, Ribelle provided them.) Armed with that info, the restaurant team continues to brainstorm, tweak, train, and “work out all the kinks,” before going “live”.
Your comments about the menu choices are comical, and make it crystal clear that you are clueless about what ribelle is doing. Do you own a computer or ‘smart’ phone? Are you really that dumb?
I was at the dinner last night, and loved the limited # of choices. There are several items (including the octopus) that I want to go back and try. I also loved the food, drinks, hospitality and the room, despite the fact that the chairs were rented and the room is still being decorated. (Still building, working, tweaking, get it, Dummy??)
I hope my comments help, in case you are ever invited to another FREE Friends & Family dinner (as a +1, or an actual “friend”). Oh, and one more thing; Over-tipping is part of the social contract when attending these dinners where your friends invite you into their house to eat and drink, all night, for FREE.
PS- Full disclosure: I was invited to the dinner last night because I am friends with the Ribelle family………..
PPS- If you are a blood “Family” member of anyone at Ribelle, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled at your vow not to return to the restaurant, or to ANY family functions for that matter. End of rant to anonymous moron.
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame
There are few things more degrading or demeaning than being spit on, or spit at, especially when you’re trying to do your job. I’ve had it happen to me, and I still have nightmares about it. If the guy who spit at my feet, spit in my face, I might be typing this from jail.
On many nights, I stood outside of our restaurant, located across the street from an MBTA bus stop, watching the street. I witnessed the abuse that bus drivers took from customers, and on occasion, warned them about dangerous humans, called the cops for them, and helped defuse dangerous situations. Many people haggle with the drivers, bust their balls, and are clueless about how to pay their fare. After watching what bus drivers endure, picking up at one stop, I often wondered what they tolerate during an entire shift.
I was reading the Boston Globe on Saturday, July 13th, and noticed in a piece by Travis Anderson, that Jeffery Martinez was arrested the day before, for spitting at a bus driver in Lynn, MA in June. Fortunately, there is a MBTA video, catching Martinez in the act, that lead to his arrest. It is not clear what provoked the argument and threats.
According to the Globe, the police said he was being arraigned in Lynn District Court on 7/15, on charges of assault and battery and interfering with public transportation. I spoke with a clerk at the Lynn Court, and the case has been continued to 8/21, in courtroom 2.
This year 58 MBTA workers have been assaulted on the job, said transit police Lt. Detective Richard Sullivan.
“At this time last year we had 44, that translates to roughly a 32 percent increase.”
Transit police Superintendent in Chief Joseph O’Connor said the driver did what he could to de-escalate the confrontation.
“The operator did not respond to the constant threats and taunting and never left his seat,” O’Connor said.
“No matter how much training we give there are going to be individuals that find the need to assault MBTA employees.”
With incidents on the rise, the MBTA has launched a campaign to warn thugs against assaulting workers, including these signs posted on the windows of busses and subway cars:
It’s pretty sad that we have to remind some ‘humans’ that assault is not ok.
The Boston Globe also ran a feature story on 7/15/13, by Martine Powers, about Miguel Goncalves, an 11-year MBTA veteran bus driver, who understands the importance of remaining calm, and de-escalation while performing his job.
“You don’t want to add fuel to the fire,” he said from behind the wheel of the bus on Dudley Street. “It’s unfortunate [conflict], because we all just come to do our job.”
The Globe statistics cited in the 7/15 Globe piece differ from those noted in the Herald piece. The Globe states that, “There have been 44 assaults so far this year, compared with 35 from this time last year, according to statistics from the MBTA.” Perhaps the disparity in the numbers can be attributed to differing classifications of ‘assault’.
The easy-going driver, Goncalves, recalls an incident where he was spit on:
It was late at night, and a burly man, clearly intoxicated, stepped onto the bus. He snapped a quarter in the slot, then continued walking onto the bus.
Goncalves shook his head. The fare is $2, he said.
“I guess that made him mad,” Goncalves recalled.
The man hawked a spitball which landed squarely of the right side of his MBTA-issued jacket. Goncalves tried to keep his cool, and told the man he would call the transit police.
“Let me out of here,” the rider responded. Goncalves opened the door, and the man stumbled back out into the night.
Goncalves didn’t report the incident…
“I was fine, I just didn’t want to bother going through the paperwork,” he said…
Make no mistake, he said, he was angry and offended. If it happened now, he said, he probably would report the spitting attack to his supervisors, so the T could perform DNA testing…
“All of us are different, and for some drivers, it’s so hard for them to remain calm,” he said. “You feel like you’re going to lose it, and you just have to say, ‘I’m a professional. I want to keep my job.’ “
More power to you, brother.
Hopefully the DNA testing, and more video cameras, will lead to more convictions. Of course there are some bus drivers who are less courteous and professional than others, but no one deserves to be spit on. Mutual respect and common courtesy work both ways.
I’ll report back with an update after the 8/21 court date in the Jefferey Martinez case.
Have you ever been spit on at work? What is the worst abuse you have ever endured at work, and what led up to it?
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Shame
[This post is long overdue, but I couldn't let this issue go by the boards without addressing it.]
It was only a matter of time. Until now, a handful of ill-informed, entitled assholes would drop hints, or direct threats, to service industry providers, about negative online reviews if they didn’t get preferential treatment. [Hello, 'elite' Yelpers.] The epitome of entitled arrogance and douchebaggery has now reared it’s ugly head in the form of a faux black Amex card called the ReviewerCard, that some customers are plunking down before engaging in a service industry transaction.
The premise? Blackmail. Despite anemic PR attempts to disguise it, that’s what it is, a modern-day sword of damocles, with cardholders threatening service providers who don’t play along with their ill-conceived, disingenuous schemes.
This is, of course, wrong on many levels and is an example of how the culture of amateurism that was once one of the Internet’s more endearing qualities has become a free-for-all unburdened by any thought of ethics or moral integrity.
Newman hopes his ReviewerCard will become as influential as the American Express black card — a totem of the bearer’s clout and achievement.
I can only hope that businesses see it for what it is: a shameless bid to extract personal favors under threat of Internet ruin. I can only hope they politely inform ReviewerCard holders that they’re entitled to the same treatment as all other customers.
On January 24th, I sent the following message to the ReviewerCard website message center:
My name is Patrick Maguire. I write a blog advocating for service industry professionals. I’d like to interview the founder of ReviewerCard for a blog post I am working on.
On 1/31, I received the following response from Brad Newman:
Hope all is great. My bad for the delay in responding, as we’ve been overwhelmed with interest in the ReviewerCard. Are you still writing a blog piece? Here is a release that went out this week:
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service
Leave it to an 8-year-old to simplify what most of the world longs for.
President Obama followed a contingent of speakers, representing multiple religious faiths, who gave the sermons of their lives today. In his speech, Mr. Obama included the message, “No More Hurting. Peace”, written on a piece of construction paper, with drawings of two hearts, by Eight-year-old, Martin Richard, from Dorchester, MA, who died as a result of the bombing attacks on Marathon Monday.
We all have iconic memories of where we were during life-changing events. My memory of the afternoon of 2/15/13 will be of sitting at the counter of Brazilian-owned, Theo’s Cozy Corner in the North End of Boston, reading my paper, listening to the inane banter of the daily gathering of old-timer, Italian men screaming at each other. Above the raucous din, I heard one of the veterans shouting about an explosion, while pointing to the Boston Marathon on TV. After the volume was turned up, we all witnessed the horrific events unfold.
After leaving Theo’s, I spent the next couple of hours glued to the TV with my co-workers in Downtown Boston, until I couldn’t take seeing the same videos and images over and over. I was disgusted, frightened, angry, and sick to my stomach. On Tuesday, I walked from the North End to the South End, witnessed the military camp on Boston Common, the throngs of reporters near the Public Garden and on Dartmouth street, and the beefed-up security everywhere. The city was reeling — somber, mournful, and eerily quiet. Without any arrests, there were more questions than answers, and we were drifting.
Today marked a turning point in the healing process for our city. President Obama visited Boston and attended an interfaith healing service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. After listening to the uplifting speeches today, hope is finally beginning to replace horror. I was so moved by the speeches given today, that I am on a mission to get the transcript and video of each one, post them here, and share my favorite excerpts from each. I’d also like to find a link with a video of the entire service. Every American should watch a video of the healing service in its entirety.
Please email me at email@example.com with any additional links that you are aware of. This will be a fluid post, with ongoing updates. I’m grateful for your help.
For the full transcript of each speech, please click on the list of names below.
In my faith tradition, scripture teaches: “In every thing give thanks.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) That isn’t always easy to do. On Monday afternoon, I wasn’t feeling it. What I felt, what so many of us felt then, was shock and confusion and anger…
I’m thankful for the firefighters and police officers and EMTs who ran towards the blasts, not knowing whether the attack was over – and the volunteers and other civilians who ran to help right along side them…
I’m thankful for Mayor Menino, who started Monday morning frustrated he couldn’t be at the finish line this time, as he always is, and then late that afternoon checked himself out of the hospital to help his city, our city, face down this tragedy…
I’m thankful for the lives of Krystle and Lingzi and little Martin, and for the lives of the families who survive them, and for the lives of all the people hurt but who still woke up today with the hope of tomorrow…
And I am thankful, maybe most especially, for the countless numbers of people in this proud City and this storied Commonwealth who, in the aftermath of such senseless violence, let their first instinct be kindness. In a dark hour, so many of you showed so many of us that “darkness cannot drive out darkness,” as Dr. (Martin Luther) King said. “Only light can do that.”…
Massachusetts invented America. And America is not organized the way countries are usually organized. We are not organized around a common language or religion or even culture. We are organized around a handful of civic ideals. And we have defined those ideals, through time and through struggle, as equality, opportunity, freedom and fair play…
An attack on a civic ritual like the Marathon, especially on Patriots’ Day, is an attack on those values. And just as we cannot permit darkness and hate to triumph over our spiritual faith, so we must not permit darkness and hate to triumph over our civic faith. That cannot happen. And it will not.
(Excerpts to follow.)
Lastly, the section below is dedicated to all of the genuine, meaningful and thoughtful gestures and events across America and the world, in support of Boston. Again, please email any submissions you’d like to recommend. Thank you.
National Anthem Boston Garden
Rene Rancourt has been singing the National Anthem for the Boston Bruins for 37 years. On Wednesday night, the first Boston sporting event since the attack, Mr. Rancourt was happy to step aside and play director as the choir of Boston Garden fans performed the ritual for him. If these videos don’t move you, you have no soul.
By: Patrick Maguire
Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement
My blog posting sabbatical is over. Lots more to follow soon.
I posted something similar to the following on Yelp Talk Boston yesterday:
I cringe when restaurateurs say, “I hate Yelp,” but I get it. They really hate the members of the community who don’t take their responsibility seriously. Yelpers who are uninformed and unfair give the powerful medium a bad name. Many posters exaggerate, embellish and lie, with no regard for their impact on the livelihoods of hard-working people. And unfortunately, the administration and moderation of many amateur sites, especially Yelp, is inept at weeding out the garbage.
[Yes, it's long, but please read the entire piece before joining the conversation below. It's great commentary.]
My favorite quote from Mc Slim’s post is included on his list of, “Common problems with amateur reviews,” where the reviewer:
“Betrays a lack of human empathy, often expressed by a condescending tone toward the staff. The reviewer doesn’t appear to have ever considered what it would be like to have strangers rating him on his annual job performance based on a single 90-minute meeting.” Touché.
Unless we continue to initiate, support, and contribute to these conversations, the proliferation of cowardly and irresponsible amateur reviews will continue. It’s worth the fight.
There are some thoughtful comments in response to Mc Slim’s piece on a separate Chowhound thread.
The Chowhound poster, ‘Tiamat’, decries the use of, ‘Enjoy!’, when a server delivers a dish. Here’s an excerpt:
“Don’t serve me a plate and smile then order me to ‘Enjoy!’ You can tell me you hope that I enjoy it, You can ask if it appears to my liking. Better, you can come back three or four minutes later and ask if I am enjoying the dish. Please DON’T command me to like it.”
Fuck off, Tiamat.
I posted Tiamat’s rant on Server Not Servant Facebook Page, and added the following comment:
I think you’re being a nitpicking asshole if you take issue with someone saying, ‘Enjoy.’ I agree with the poster who called the OP (Tiamat) out on Chowhound and said, “I see the ‘Enjoy’ as the shortened, ‘I wish you enjoyment’, not as a commend. I read it in the same vein as, ‘Bon appetite’ or ‘buen provencho’.” — Exactly!!!
Yes, these people are easy to hate, and stop smiling…
[Join the Server Not Servant conversation on Twitter @PatrickMBoston]