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April 20, 2008 at 4:05 am #586788
I wanted to share with all of you a very upsetting incident that happened to me last Saturday, April 12th.
Here is the email my husband wrote to the Editor of the West Seattle Herald after I came home very upset.
I know that the Herald does stories on restaurants that are just opening, have amazing food, or are just generally a great place for a meal.
Does the Herald do any stories on restaurants that create such a terrible experience that we feel all of West Seattle should know?
First a little background….my wife and I found out 2 weeks ago that the little baby girl that we had been expecting for 8 months had died in the womb. All our expectations, hopes and dreams for our little one had been dashed in a moments time. This has been an absolutely devastating blow not only to us, but to our 4 and 3 year old daughters who had been anxiously
awaiting the arrival of their new sister. The things we have had to endure in the last 2 weeks (giving birth to a child that you know will never take a breath, planning a funeral, lowering your child into the ground instead of a bassinet, telling your other 2 daughters that their sister has gone to heaven instead of coming home to them, etc.) I would not wish on any parent.
Today, Saturday the 12th was another hurdle on this new road that we have been thrust upon. Today was supposed to be the baby shower. It was supposed to be a joyous event with friends and family coming in from all over. Instead it was destined to become a reminder of what could/should have been. My wife’s friends were determined to change that.
A lot of the ladies got together and decided that they would take my wife out for a day of pampering. There was only one problem with this well intentioned plan. The problem was that they began the day at Alki Cafe.
When the first person arrived at the restaurant, they told the hostess, who is one of the owners, that the group needed seating for 11. When my wife arrived 5 minutes later, she told the hostess that they actually needed seating for 14. The Owner/hostess had a huge attitude with my wife for having such a large party and acted very put out for having to add 3 more chairs. My wife explained to her that her friend had called a week ago to make a reservation for a large party and were told that they don’t take reservations. They were also told that there wouldn’t be a problem seating a party of that size at 9am. My wife decided to let the attitude go and just try to enjoy the time with friends and family. 3 of the people were running late so the group decided to go ahead and order instead of wait. When the 3 eventually showed, one of the ladies had brought an extra person with her so the group asked for one more chair which would have easily fit. The waitress, who was very accommodating, decided to pull up a two person table
to give extra room. This is when the real fireworks began.
The owner…the OWNER(not the same as the first confrontational owner) stormed over and started yelling at my wife. He said
“NOW YOU ARE JUST GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER TABLE WHEN I HAVE ALL THESE PEOPLE WAITING?” He kept ranting at my wife and BROUGHT HER TO TEARS. The decision to bring the table over had nothing to do with her. Even if she had asked for the table, is that how an owner should be treating patrons?
Everybody, not just my wife’s friends but other people in the restaurant, were aghast! The server went and told the owner that is was she that brought over the table but he rebuffed her. 2 of my wife’s friends and my mother went over to tell him that he was out of line and that they were all there trying to do something positive in the face of a huge tragedy. Not
only did he make it very clear that he didn’t care, he was very rude to these three women. I believe his actual words were that he knew why they were there, and that HE DIDN’T CARE. He proceeded to glare at the group as they hurriedly ate and left.
Where is the sensitivity? Sensitivity aside, where is the professionalism? Shouldn’t patrons be treated like gold? Shouldn’t you want to cultivate an atmosphere where people feel like the establishment is a warm and inviting place? Shouldn’t this owner be held accountable for his actions?
We have all been treated rude from time to time, but when an owner…an OWNER goes on a tirade at my wife’s expense as she is trying to do a little something to ease the pain of the death of our child…well, that goes above and beyond rudeness. I just think West Seattle should know.
I know we are not the only ones to experience this owners unbelievable rudeness.April 20, 2008 at 4:28 am #622400
Although this experience pales in comparison to your true loss, I am sorry you were treated this way. I hope your family is being surrounded by love and healing.April 20, 2008 at 5:14 am #622401
First of all, I am so sorry for your loss….
Back to the Alki Cafe. I am shocked by the owner’s behavior. I know of several other people who have been treated badly by the owner of the Alki Cafe. (note: I always get the Alki Bakery and the Cafe mixed up but I know this is the CAFE)
Thanks for your post.April 20, 2008 at 5:17 am #622402
First of all, we’re so sorry for your loss and so impressed by the sensitivity and love of your friends and family.
I’m shocked and appalled at your treatment. We’re not regulars, but we’ve had our last meal at the Alki Cafe.April 20, 2008 at 5:34 am #622403
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can’t even imagine the pain.
I won’t go into detail, but wanted to let you know that we had a really bad experience with the owners also.
I’ll never go back.April 20, 2008 at 5:43 am #622404
The best part of West Seattle is the small town sense of community here that isn’t found anywhere else in the Seattle area.
It is shocking to me that a business OWNER would treat a client like this. It’s enexcusable. I’m so sorry you had to deal with such poor behavior. West Seattle has NO PLACE for such inappropriateness.
We’ll NEVER set foot in the establishment again. Let’s drive them out and bring in someone who KNOWS how to treat customers!
BOYCOTT ALKI CAFE!!!!!!April 20, 2008 at 5:45 am #622405
My heart breaks for you and your family over your tragic loss. I am so sorry.
I will never eat at the Alki Cafe again. The way you were treated was inexcusable and downright cruel. He should be ashamed of himself.
Thanks for your post.April 20, 2008 at 7:30 am #622406
We are truly sorry for your loss. We have made only one visit to the “Alki Cafe” and it was already our last. We didn’t know who the owners were, but the surley attitude we received put them on our no return list. I’m happy to know we weren’t the only ones…April 20, 2008 at 1:09 pm #622407April 20, 2008 at 2:49 pm #622408
there is never any excuse for that kind of rudeness… i hope that you didn’t let a jerk overshadow the enormity of the love your friends and family felt for you that day. you are lucky to have so many who care deeply about you. it is never easy to lose a child…
Sometimes hearts are in the right place and things just don’t work out.
It sounds like poor behavior has already lost the Alki Cafe local business… and i think this tale will lose them more.
thank you for sharing it with us.April 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm #622409
I’ve ate there once and wasn’t really impressed either way. After reading your letter I know I won’t be eating there and I will tell my friends to do the same.
I’m very sorry for your loss.
D.J.April 20, 2008 at 4:59 pm #622410
I am so sorry for your family. I hope your wife was still able to feel loved and supported by her friends (even after the rude treatment). I feel badly that the owner of Alki Cafe wasn’t able to see beyond his own concerns to show your wife and friends basic respect and kindness. It sounds to me like that man needs prayers and kind thoughts as well.April 20, 2008 at 8:39 pm #622411
I’ve always found it interesting how widespread the readership of the blog and forum is. Perhaps someone involved with this owner, or even the owner himself, will read this and take it to heart. One can only hope.
We’ve already seen what a positive thing this forum/community is when the members pull together, like the fundraiser at the Adm. Pub last night. I’m sure that there can also be a negative experience created through this forum/community, too…look at how many have said they won’t go there any more…and I am now on that list. And maybe that will turn out to be a positive thing…April 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm #622412
To the Kimball family, bless you in this time of loss.
I don’t usually mention places I no longer visit in West Seattle, but the Alki Cafe is one of them.April 21, 2008 at 12:42 am #622413
I love the alki cafe and would never boycott them. the food is consistent and the staff has always been accomodating!
I am sorry for your loss. I have also experienced this loss some time ago and I know you’ll come through .
back to the cafe. are you kidding me. in the bigger picture, aside your loss, that place does alot of business. especially on the weekends. if you’ve been there before you would know this. at first they show up with 12, then 14 + stragglers?! this is not a very large place and there are generally a ton more people waiting to get in. they’re trying to work around a huge inconvenience suddenly thrust upon them and continue to serve their other customers, both seated and waiting. they’re impacting everyone when they show up to a small restaurant like this with such a huge party with no time to prep! food is coming slower, the waitress, which may have other tables to attend, is socked into a giant unanounced table of 15. imagine if suddenly a group of 15 people showed up to your place unanounced during a bbq you planned for just a few. things would change, and you’re not running a business. with such a large group it would be better to plan. your wife and her friends could have called to let them prepare. I’m willing to bet things would have went alot better for you.
It’s too bad the big guy “owner” snapped at you but your blaming him for for an inconvenience you caused. duely noted, he’s not the nicest chap and he’s all business. I can appreciate that. I’m also certain he could/should have dealt with things differently. but he’s not the only one at fault here. also, in real life, people don’t have to empathize with you. there is no “sympathy law” in place that was broken. even smarter, you put them and everyone else there in a stressful situation and expected the world to crumble to your whim. 15 people out of the 100+ eating then the 20 waiting. you may not get it now but when you’re over your loss you’ll understand.
As human was your loss it’s equally human to anger in an inconvenience. reading this is a steady reminder of there are people who think it’s not only their right, but job to inconvenience everyone around them and treat the world as though they’re the only ones on it.
I will never boycott the alki cafe and will befuddle any attempts within my power. endolyne joes is better for a party this size but then you’ll have to deal with that slop they call food as well
again, I am sorry for your loss. I also had a co-worker lose his first child and it hit pretty hard while they were in west seattle. they’ve come through strong and you’ll do the same.April 21, 2008 at 1:05 am #622414
I think you missed the part where they called and were told a large party would be no problem at 9 a.m. I have seen larger parties than that in Alki Cafe, before we decided that the indifferent service, the inflexibility, and the boring food weren’t worth the view.
What the hell inconvenience was this party foisting on the owners or the other patrons?
There is absolutely no excuse for their rude behavior or your rude post. Your attempt to rationalize rudeness won’t help them keep business.April 21, 2008 at 1:09 am #622415
lintle, there is NO EXCUSE for his behavior to any group. That is terrible. And you…you should be ashamed of yourself.April 21, 2008 at 1:10 am #622416
lintle…I really don’t care what an inconvenience this might have caused the Alki Cafe. The owner was wayyyyy out of bounds on this. There is NO excuse for rude behavior when it’s your business. None whatsoever. He could have handled this much differently, but chose th low road. This woman’s circumstances aside, if it had happened to me, to you, or to any Joe Blow off the street, I’d feel the same way. Yes, I empathize with her. And it was beyond her control who showed up with whom.
The reasoning that they weren’t prepared for a large group doesn’t cut it with me. They’re a restaurant…they have a freezer, and a well equipped kitchen. And think of the business that they would have generated, how big their bill would have been, how great the word of mouth at being graciously accomodated would have been. But…they’re a popular place, so you don’t count, and the owner gets to cop a ‘tude because there’ll always be more business? Give me a break…he won’t have my business. The guy was a jerk !April 21, 2008 at 1:15 am #622417
“it’s equally human to anger in an inconvenience.”
Giving you a chance to clarify here: you really didn’t mean that grieving the loss of a baby is equal to becoming angry and yelling at a customer because you have to work harder than you want to? One is tremendous sorrow and loss; the other is annoyance and stress. Working hard is no tragedy.
(and I say this as someone who really does understand what it feels like to be overworked and inconvenienced.)April 21, 2008 at 1:17 am #622418
Not to mention, you couldn’t support the arson fund raiser b/c you dislike the pub. The same pub who offered the space for free, held a tournament with prizes,and donated profits from drinks. That doesn’t deserve your patronage, but an admittedly rude owner is worth defending.April 21, 2008 at 1:22 am #622419April 21, 2008 at 2:07 am #622420
one in the same for me kayleigh. you choose your reactions to life.
I must have missed the part where they called but my opinion remains the same and i would never boycott the cafe. I do admit that its run better when he’s not there. I would imagine he won’t be doing it much longer. still love the cafe though
knew I could count on you “JanS”
the place can only move and turnover customers so fast. they’ll still be limited on how well they would handle this. the admiral pub is gross, bland and I would never tell others not to go there. much like I would never go to the rocksport again either though I’ve had personal experiences at both places I would’nt tell others not to go or boycott. I do my share of fundraising attendancees as well “JT”
“charlabob” and “Bonnie” I am not advocating him at all nor am I ashamed of myself for my posting. I am just aware that the world is bigger than me and my personal life experiences. nor do I think it was ALL the fault of the cafe.
this is just MY opinion. I was not looking to hurt any feelings. I have learned in dealings with human beings that nothing is predictable and people are as different as you can imagine. none of us have any idea of what happened btw
I promise to believe and follow blindly from this point on and will never disagree again! I do, however, love this forum and west seattle! so from now on I’ll just sit in the corner and keep my mouth shut because I have nothing of value to offer and I’m, completely purposely rude!(not at all, really!)April 21, 2008 at 2:53 am #622421
lintle, while I don’t 100% agree with your point of view, but I don’t really agree with the whole “ban the place” view either. Because with my luck I would be one of the people who would have had to wait for seating because 14+ people showed up, but don’t get me wrong I do send my sympathies to the woman who lost the baby. I don’t think it was right of the owner to be such a jack*ss, but like you said lintle, we only have the one aspect of what happened. We don’t know if the owner said he doesn’t care what just happened to the woman, and we don’t know if the woman’s friends had a fit and assumed everyone would know what happened. I also agree with you in your last paragraph, sometimes on this forum it does feel like if you don’t believe and agree with what everyone else is saying then you are not necessarily ganged up on, but you are pretty well chastised. I really dislike a deli by my work, and I have my own little boycott, but I don’t care if other people want to go there. If you don’t like somewhere don’t go, if you choose not to go because of someone else’s reasons that’s fine, but if someone chooses to go there don’t give them a hard time.April 21, 2008 at 2:55 am #622422
If someone had such a bad experience that they took the time to write a letter, that is good enough for me. Why would I want to reward them with my money? I heard somewhere along time ago that if you have a good experience some where you will probably tell one friend. If you have a bad experience you are going to tell at least 10 of your friends. Anyone that runs any sort of business should know this. What the owner did was just BAD business! Not to mention that is no way to treat someone else for any reason!!April 21, 2008 at 3:06 am #622423
Thats great DJ and that’s your business, but what about the people that wrote and said they didn’t like EasyStreet Records Cafe because the service was bad. Those people had bad experiences and they wrote about it, but other people wrote in and said that oh what you have to do is…
I’m not judging you by you not going there anymore, I’m just saying if someone chooses to keep going there then don’t judge them.
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