Friday, July 30, 2010

An Open Letter To Dean Wescott, Owner Of Minsky's

Dear Mr. Wescott,

This is to inform you that I have recently become disinclined to continue doing business with you and henceforth I shant be availing myself of your victuals.

That means I ain't ordering no more pizzas from you.

Which is a goddamn shame because I'm quite partial to your EYEtalian steak sandwiches and I have the bloated physique to prove it.

No, Dean, the problem is with the prehistoric, Amish manner in which you handle your financial transactions.

Let me tell you a little bit about XO, Dean.

Unlike you, I don't own a chain of fucking restaurants. You probably don't have any trouble making ends meet. In fact, I bet your ends are overlapping and looping back around each other like a couple of snakes giving each other oral sex. I'm sure you're doing just fine.

But I, on the other hand, am just a middle class working stiff living paycheck to paycheck. Other than my fat ass, I don't have any cushion. No savings, no credit, no investments, no prospects or provision for a cushy retirement. In fact, if I live long enough to retire, I'm pretty much fucked. Which is why I order your EYEtalian steak sandwiches with extra fries and wash it down with a bottle of bourbon. Think of it as hedge fund approach.

But I digress.

My point is, I sometimes have to manage my finances uncomfortably close to the wire. To this end, I stepped into the 21st century several years ago and quit writing checks. In fact, other than my octogenarian parents, I don't know anybody who writes checks anymore.

I use my debit card for EVERYTHING. This allows me to rely on the balance shown on my statements and receipts from the ATMs because I KNOW that I don't have any latent charges (or "presentments", as they are called in the biz") floating around out there. A debit card transaction is as immediate as it gets.

This has been working for me PERFECTLY, without exception, for several years. Until this week.

My girlfriend was coming to my house on Tuesday and I needed to swing by Price Chopper on the way home to pick up some snacking goodies and libations. I checked my balance at an ATM on Tuesday and had a bit over $80. So I stopped at Price Chopper and dropped a little over $40 on munchy/drinky stuff. No problem, I was getting paid today. Just had another 48 hours till payday.

On Wednesday morning, just to make sure (because that's how carefully I manage things), I checked my balance at the ATM again expecting to verify that I had around $30 left to limp on till payday.

Imagine my SHOCK and PANIC to discover that my account was overdrawn by (-$4.67)! I never, EVER, overdraw my account! Fucking NEVER! I suspected identity theft.

I pull up my last 30 days of transactions and what do I find?

TWO "PRESENTMENTS" FROM MINSKY'S FUCKING PIZZA THAT BOTH CAME THROUGH AT 8:21 TUESDAY NIGHT WHILE I WAS HANGING WITH THE GIRLFRIEND AND NOT EATING MINSKY'S FUCKING PIZZA! One for $19.21 and the other for $16.80. Which was just enough to send my delicately balanced account over the edge!

Now, luckily, that morning I had decided to grab the Tupperware container full of my collection of daily pocket change just in case things got tight. The change yielded a bit over $50 in the change counter. Damn good thing or I literally would not have had enough gas to drive home from work!

I took $5 of that $50 and deposited it in my account to avoid any overdraft charges from my bank.

I called Minsky's in Independence and asked to speak to your manager (Tom). His initial investigation came back with the conclusion that no calls were received from me the previous night and that no transactions went through on my card the previous night.

:: blink ::

"Umm, Tom, I know that. Because I didn't order any pizzas last night. That's kind of EXACTLY THE FUCKING PROBLEM, TOM! FIX IT!!!"

I sent him back for a Mulligan and he concluded..., OK, wait for it... the charges were for orders that I had placed "sometime" between the beginning of JUNE and MID JULY. Their card swiper had been busted so the charges never went through until they got their card swiper fixed which apparently happened on Tuesday while me and the girlfriend were bumpin' uglies!

Tom can't understand why that should have overdrawn my account since the original transactions never went through the money should have still been in my account.

I don't have the time or patience to explain to Tom the difference between the way the Ancient Sumerians balanced their books and the way 21st Century technophiles do things.

When a consumer swipes a debit card in a transaction they have a reasonable expectation that an IMMEDIATE transfer of dollars (or 'credits' as I like to call them) has taken place between the consumer and the merchant and the transaction is COMPLETE. No follow up or audit is required. That's exactly why I stopped writing checks! So that there would never, ever be any unaccounted for, pending charges floating around.

I escalated on Tom and told him I needed to talk to the owner. That would be you, the aforementioned Dean Wescott.

Over the course of a couple rounds of telephone tag and voice mails, your investigation concluded that the charges were for orders placed on July 8 and July 15 when you were having problems with your credit card machine, my credit card wasn't charged then, the credit card machine has been fixed and you are "just swiping the money now", transactions are good for 30 days, and "that's the way it is".

Well, fuck you Dean.

It's not my fault your fucking cheap ass card swiper was busted.

It's not my fault you sent your delivery people out with faulty fucking equipment.

No one ever told me "Hey, this charge didn't go through tonight, so you might want to jot down the amount and keep track of this as a pending charge".

No one called me or emailed me to let me know "Hey, XO, I know you're a regular customer and we've had some problems with our equipment lately. Just wanted to let you know we'll be sending about $30 worth of charges on your card tonight that we weren't able to send through before. Sorry for the inconvenience, We'll toss in some free bread sticks next time you call. Love you, love your show!"

No. Instead what I got was we're "swiping the money now" and "that's the way it is".

You know what the balance was in my checking account yesterday Dean? .33 fucking cents. What was the balance in your checking account yesterday Dean? Somewhere north of that?

Did it ever occur to you that your archaic, check processing era policy of holding onto charges for weeks before sending them through might pose a hardship for people who actually live in this century?

Did it ever occur to you that tossing out a $30 comp to a loyal customer might be a really cheap and easy way to fix a very real problem that YOU HAD CAUSED with your faulty equipment and antiquated transaction policies?

Have you ever heard the statistic that an unhappy customer will tell 8-10 people?

That was old school, Dean. This unhappy customer just told the entire fucking Internet, blogosphere, Facebook and twitter verse! SKIDOOSH!

OK, when you add up all the people who follow me in all those arenas you're probably talking less than 8-10 people. But still, I'm just sayin'. I'm an unhappy customer.

So this is it for us Dean. The end of the line.

I'm sure that in time, you'll find another fat lethargic bastard to order your tasty fucking EYEtalian steak sandwiches with extra fries.

But I'm done. I hope overdrawing my account by (-$4.67) helped you make your boat payment on time. I'd hate to inconvenience you in any way.

Go fuck yourself Dean.

Yours In Christ,

Xavier Onassis


Hyperblogal said...

.....and I like XO so I'm not going to eat your @#$%^&*( either.....

AKCB said...

I too like XO. I'm trying to decide if I like a thin crust Prime Cut with jalapenos more...

Anonymous said...

Yeah what he said you can go FUCK YOURSELF because as much as I love your prime cut Pizza..... Fuck you I will spend my money at pizza Hut fucker AND I dont have to put up with your asshole employee's, or get my fat ass off the couch either and I'm telling all of my friends too

Old Fart said...

Bravo XO!

I can't boycott Minsky's though, because I never order anything from them, so I'll just body check the next person I see writing a check and call it good.

Anonymous said...



"The D" said...

If you watch your finances as closely as you do you should have know that those charges had never be deducted from your account.

If you write someone a check for say $100 and they hang on to it for a year you’re still obligated to have that $100 in your account.

This is all your fault.

Xavier Onassis said...

The D(ouchenozzle) - What part of "I DON'T WRITE CHECKS ANYMORE SPECIFICALLY TO AVOID THIS TYPE OF SITUATION DON'T YOU GET??? [pant, pant, pant. ALL CAPS is exhausting!]

A debit card transaction is instantaneous. They fucked up with their faulty equipment. Their fault, not mine.

EVERYONE ELSE - Thank you for your support! With the strength of this boycott we should be able to decrease his income by .000000000001%! Make it hurt! Take THAT Dean Wescott!

Nick said...

It pains me to say it but The D's correct; you obligated yourself to Minsky's for N dollars when you made the purchases. Regardless of how long it took Minsy's to debit your account, you are still legally bound to have that sum available for them to draw on.

Only 10 year-olds look benignly on "surprise" money in their accounts. In the real world, magic plastic or no, responsible adults are suspicious of "found" cash and track it back down to outstanding debt. Period. End of story.

Frankly there no excuse for your railing against D. Wescott for your laziness (for that is exactly what it is, compounded by willful stupidity, in public no less). You may (which seems a bit of an understatement given your obvious blod pressure issue) have found the situation a bit of an inconveince, but that's all on you, not Minsky's.

Finally, you owe D Wescott a public apology, not only because you are dead wrong, but also because your behaviour - not to mention language- was that of a pouty teenager.

You should know better.

m.v. said...

I once worked with a guy who didn't cash his paychecks for a year just to screw the company's books.D and Nick are right, I would also add that a person who uses debit cards - the most unprotected, easy to abuse financial tools cannot refer to himself as a "21st century technophile", maybe 1980 technophile but even that's questionable. The biggest crime is that you made me have to agree with the D. Not cool.

Xavier Onassis said...

Nick - Yeah, well, fuck you. I'd go in to more detail explaining why I'm right and you're wrong, but it's late on a Friday night, I'm tired and ready for bed.

m.v. - I'm curious. What is more secure and technophilic than a debit card? What do you use? Checks (Amish)? Cash only (silly)? Credit card (expensive and catering to The Man)? Rubles? Gold bullion? What, pray tell, do you trust more than a straight debit card?

m.v. said...

Credit card,paid in full every month with cash back. Every year I get anywhere from $250 to $400 for using cards.They double warranties,cover losses for the first 90 days,charges can be disputed,etc.,etc.(all of which I used before) If I lose the card I am usually not liable,max is $50, if the card is stolen no one will charge my account. In other words my account is separated from my shopping and a pizza place can't overdraw it. Maybe it's not 21st century but every consumer publication advises to use the credit card instead of debit. And I write about 5 checks a year for various places that don't take cards. Even if one's is not very good and a person has to take a crippled after-bankruptcy card,I'd still use one before I give someone semi-direct access to my bank account.

Nick said...

Now that's just sad; you've become what you purport to despise.

Xavier Onassis said...

m.v. - Oh no, my friend. Your post-Communist paranoia has allowed The Capitalist OverLords (emawkc's dreaded Goldman Sachs) to suck you in to their financial meat grinder.

A pure debit card is so much superior to a "paid in full every month with cash back" credit card.

Do you not know that they can cut you off and cancel your card for paying it in full every month?

If they can't earn interest on the debt you carry from month to month they have no incentive to extend credit to you!

Your trust in American credit card companies is ill placed.

Wallace Wilson said...

I've never seen someone write a post that said "I can't balance my bank account" so well. It's totally Minsky's fault.

m.v. said...

I know how it works. I'll let you know when they cut off my credit for not paying interest. Until then I don't see any point in not taking advantage of free (to me) money. And yes I know where that "free" money comes from as well. BTW, your debit cut can be cut off instantaneously or you will be charged $30+ for every overdrawn swipe.

Xavier Onassis said...

Nick - That can happen when you take every Friday afternoon off for the rest of the year and spend it drinking, eating, blogging, tweeting, facebooking and generally bloviating into the ether with a devil-may-care attitude.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."

Hyperblogal said...

I am SHOCKED.... SHOCKED i say at the lack of support once again from the russians....

Xavier Onassis said...

W.W. - Except for idiots who still float paper, we live in a post "balance my bank account" world.

I have $100 I want to spend $20. I swipe my card. Now I have $80. What's to balance and why is that so difficult to understand?

Would you prefer to live in a world where check kiting still works?

Xavier Onassis said...

m.v. - I will trust my well managed bank's debit system to your credit card company's predatory, fee-based system any day of the week. Good luck to you, my friend.

Joe said...

I still write checks for the house payment and utilites. Call me Amish, that's ok.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Just yesterday I got a letter in the mail from my bank, sent to all their customers.

"After August 15, 2010, we will not authorize and pay overdrafts for everyday debit card transactions unless you ask us to..."

"Under our standard overdraft practices, we will charge you a fee of $20 each time we pay an overdraft for an everyday debit card transaction. Also, if your account is overdrawn for 7 or more consecutive calendar days, we will charge an additional $5 a day. There is NO limit on the total fees we can charge you for overdrawing your account."

Now, this was not just sent to me. I have never overdrawn my account. This is going to be standard practice at my bank and I'm sure all banks will do similar.

I suggest you hire M.V. to be your financial advisor. However, you best check with him in advance regarding his accepted payment methods ;-)

m.v. said...

Everyone should've received one of those opt-in cards as a result of the recent banking/consumer legislation. They also started printing on your credit card bill the number of month it will take to pay your balance if you only made minimum payments.

littlekat said...

wow....regardless of who's fault it was, The customer was upset and they should have comped you your friggin' extra fries. That is how you keep a customer, expecially a bloggin' kind of one.

Even older fart said...

If you're smart enough to blog you're probably smart enough to get on-line access to your bank account. You can check your balance every morning and see every transaction lined out for the last month. You would have seen the next day the transactions didn't go through. It's much more accurate than the bottom line on an ATM receipt.

Anonymous said...

Buck up you fucking baby...learn to not live paycheck to paycheck and design a budget to live on you dipshit. Cry the blues all you share some of the blame.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. A blogger gets upset at a company for exposing his financial ignorance. Readers point out his financial ignorance. Blogger responds by telling people to fuck off. This guy is smart.

Faith said...

I'm one of those old school people that balance their checkbook every other day or so. I've been in the position before where I forgot to jot down a receipt or two, and it really bit me in the ass. Ever since then, I keep my checkbook register up to date, and then I compare it with my online account on a regular basis. Helps keep me in the black. :)

Regardless, I cannot stand latent charges. Back when I was paying my dad back for little loans here and there, it was a rule I had for him...deposit the check within a week, or I consider that money to be back in my account! The bank was right across the street from his's not like it was out of the way, or somethin'! He understood, and got to be pretty good about it. He was a good guy that way.

Understandable that not all businesses/people are gonna be that way with your money, but I fully agree...if their credit card swipey machine thingers weren't working, they should've given their customers the heads up. Have an admin assistant call them all the following day, or something. But to just let it go for a couple of weeks, and then have the charges hit your account? It sucks. Not cool.

emawkc said...

Well shit. I hate to comment after there have already been 27 comments.

So I'll just say that you've done a masterful job of blaming someone else for your poor bookkeeping. I think you may have a promising career at Goldman Sachs waiting for you.

The DLC said...

I love this comment thread so much.

Anonymous said...

I know an even better way to make sure the transaction is complete, and with out leaving a trail.

Pay cash, loser.

But, I mean to tell ya, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy!


Raytown Mold Facility

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Minsky's was not to blame. Like if it was a problem with the company that processes their charges, and I know it to be fact that that was the problem. Minsky's did not know these charges had not been processed until people began to call them. So maybe you buy a calculator and as an adult be aware of your own balance. Because had you been aware, perhaps you could have been the one to alert them to a problem so they could fix it instead of taking to the internet like a teenage girl to spew your crap.

Xavier Onassis said...

Minsky's forgot (or never learned) two fundamental rules that are particularly applicable to small businesses.

1. The customer is always right, even when they're wrong.

2. A happy customer tells one person. An unhappy customer tells everyone.

As a frequent and formerly happy Minsky's patron, all it would have taken to resolve this situation is about 30 bucks worth of good will.

They chose a different path and I chose to blog about it.

Luckily for Minsky's, no one reads my blog so this will not be an issue for them.

Poodles said...

Get rid of the bank, go to a credit union. Mine gives me a 10000.00 line of credit against my checking account. Without it I'd be fucked.

Spyder said...

WTF??? "Yours In Christ," That's like me saying I'm George Bush's #1 fan.

Xavier Onassis said...

Spyder - I thought it added a little ironic something. Call it creative license.

Xavier Onassis said...

Poodles - I got assfucked (no lube or reach around) by a Credit Union that I had been with for years because they were exempt from the rules governing banks.

Never again.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Spoken like a true democrat. Screw up and expect to be bailed out.

Xavier Onassis said...

Jools - That would be one (politically short sighted) way to view the situation.

But most business people understand that it costs less to retain customers than it does to gain new customers.

Assuming that I have absolutely no ability to sway anyone's opinion about anything (a safe and accurate assumption), let's look at this from an individual consumer point of view.

I have spent hundreds of dollars over several years having Minsky deliver food to my house.

It was THEIR sloppy financial transactions that caused this situation, not mine.

I have never, EVER, had any other merchant sit on my transactions for weeks only to bundle them up and put them through at their convenience.

This is 2010, not 1910. A consumer using a debit card has a reasonable expectation that the transaction occurs in real time.

For the cost of 2 pizzas (minus delivery tips), Minsky's could have preserved a revenue stream good for hundreds of more pizzas.

By taking a "fuck you, loyal customer" attitude, they lost that revenue stream.

Anonymous said...

You can couch all your excuses in business-ese until the cows come home - the fact remains you purchased goods and did not have sufficient money to pay for it.

Your fault. Period.

Xavier Onassis said...

Jesus H. Christ on a crutch! Sometimes it feels like I'm dealing with Amish Luddites here.

It's 2010! Not 1910!

When I swipe my debit card, I am opening my account to you. If you want the money, take it now. This is the whole purpose of a debit card transaction.


As in the elimination of the latency inherent in paper based, manual transactions.

I had more than sufficient funds to cover the transaction at the time the transaction took place and for a considerable length of time thereafter.

But in 2010 I shouldn't have to sit on that miniscule nest-egg like a mothering hen waiting for it to gestate into completed transaction.

Nor should I have to take daily responsibility to micro-manage my finances to monitor a merchant who has been in business for decades and has access to 21st Century technology.

I want to point out again that NO OTHER MERCHANT HAS EVER DONE THIS! NEVER!

I conducted a good faith business transaction on a date certain and was sandbagged by a merchant who transferred their vendor problems to me.

I bear no responsibility for their problems with their vendor.

You two work that shit out amongst yourselves, but don't go dinging me weeks afterwards and overdrawing my account because of your ineptitude.

Anonymous said...

"t in 2010 I shouldn't have to sit on that miniscule nest-egg like a mothering hen waiting for it to gestate into completed transaction."

Yes you do. Legally you do. Until the transaction is completed you are required to make those funds available. The law has not changed in this regard.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Sorry XO if I made my last comment too personal but it struck me that your issue is a teeny example of a macro problem we have in this country. I AGREE Minskys could have saved your business and perhaps others who had this happen if they had given you a coupon or something for future orders. But, let's say I'm one of those people who also bought a pizza from Minskys except I watch my account closely and know the money hasn't been withdrawn, therefore make sure I keep enough funds in the account to cover it. (I'd probably call them). Anyhow, if you get the coupon and I don't, is that fair?

Let's take the recent mortgage mess. People who bought houses they couldn't afford were eligible for loan modifications and other government programs, reducing their obligations. I even read that the gov is considering writing off the principal on millions of Fannie and Freddie homes that are "underwater" on what they owe vs what their house is worth. Well, what about the rest of us who bought houses and paid every month, sacrificing if necessary to make the payments. What do we get? A tax bill to pay for gov entitlements for those who didn't pay.

It almost seems as being prudent and following the rules these days makes those who do, fucking fools. Why even try.

I'll shut up now before I wear out my welcome ;-)

emawkc said...

I would like to thank XO for this rant. It has made me see the light.

Ever since I read it, I've switched all of my pizza purchases to a high-interest credit card. Each week, I just charge my pizza purchases to my credit card.

Eventually the balance will get too high for me to carry, so I can just default and blame the bank for being dumb enough to loan me money in the first place.

Thanks XO! Keep sticken' it to The Man!

Radioman KC said...

I've never actually heard someone mix "Jesus H Christ" and "Christ on a Crutch."

You're wound up pretty tight over this. But I loved the thread from people who's blogs I enjoy.


There was one piece of very good advice which we did years ago back when we didn't make any money. Then, they called it "Balance Plus". We still have it today... nowadays just called "overdraft protection".

At today's interest rates its a bargain... especially when people sit on your checks and ya forget things, and soemtimes you need to buy a tire TODAY and don't want to use a genuine credit card.

I too carry little cash. But bounced check fees are horrible. Go ta the bank. And after you cool down, remember the taste of Minsky's and indulge yourself.

I however will join your boycott for a month or so out of respect.

KJ said...

I never have this problem. I'm much poorer (more poor? broke?) than you. I just go dig around the garbage cans for leftovers and stuff that got thrown out. Other than the odd cigarette but here and there it's delish and my credit card never gets screwed up. Of course, I don't have a credit card but if I did, by god it would be free of pizza place charge errors!

Anonymous said...

...and you don't deliver to my neighborhood.

Jaymie said...

Wow, what's up with all the anal comments? Right or wrong, I think the compulsive balance checkers are missing something here. Customer service. Is the restaurant legally in the right to take the money from his account after the fact? Sure. But every day, businesses cater to assholes making complaints about shit they shouldn't be complaining about. They could've at least kissed a little ass, apologized for the inconvenience and offered a perk of some sort. Plenty of people don't balance their accounts after every single transaction, but rather check their balance every so often and spend accordingly. Is this smart or responsible? No. But people handle their finances like shit, including myself. At the very least, the restaurant's technical failure is an inconvenience and when you inconvenience your customers, you gotta expect to smooth some ruffled feathers.
I personally found the post really amusing whether XO is right or wrong. But perhaps that's just because I enjoy outrage laced with self mockery and sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

If you watch you're account daily and sooo closely as you claim, then you would have seen, without a doubt that the two transactions had not gone through. Therefore, you would have known this and contacted Minsky's and ask why the transactions were not taken from your account. Stop blameing everybody else for your own mistakes.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a fucking joke and a moron! He got his food! They got their money! Case closed....end of story.. What a selfish hack! Mind your money and your biz and quit with the whoas me sob story. Get a real job and save some money you stupid deusch!!!