Here’s a sign in front of Minnesota’s Restaurant, a popular place (among certain circles) in my hometown of Long Beach.
I’ll present this photo without comment, because…well…yeah.
Dear Groupon: I appreciate you trying to get folks to my hometown of Long Beach, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But maybe if you did a little fact checking, or heck, if you just looked at any photos of Long Beach, instead of pumping out deals at a mile a minute, you’d have realized that our boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. I realize this is a restaurant deal, and you know what, it’s actually a pretty good deal (50% off sturgeon caviar!!). But to advertise a boardwalk that isn’t there, that’s unfair for the tourists and insulting to the locals. Not cool guys.
Bad Deal Rule #132: If you can’t afford to fact check your deals, you shouldn’t be offering any deals.
DEAREST BAD DEALERS: Hope y’all don’t mind me giving a shout out to my hometown of Long Beach, which was hit hard during Superstorm Sandy.
Residents are starting to move back as electricity and sewage returns, but many restaurants and businesses remain closed. And many homes (including ours) are still without heat or hot water. I’ve been documenting the devastation and recovery on my photo Tumblr, which I’ve reblogged here, and which I humbly invite you to read.
Above is a photo of Shines, an Irish Bar on Beech Street that’s become a community center of sorts following the storm. It’s a place where Long Beachers go to charge their phones, to get a hot meal, to order a stiff drink. “Bruised, but not broken.” Indeed.
There are restaurants like Next by Grant Achatz that only accept credit cards. And there are shacks in the Siberian Tundra (and certain parts of Brooklyn) that are cash only. And then there is Swingbellys in Long Beach, NY, which accepts credit cards but demands cash-only tips. File this one under SHADY TOWN.
The Bad Deal typically focuses on the daily deal industry and all the questionable offers therein. But since this is one of the best barbecue joints on Long Island, and since this particular phenomenon of cash-only tips is so distinctly eyebrow raising, we couldn’t resist.
Of course, it’s no fun being a small business owner that has to pay extra credit-card company processing fees on the tips you pay out to your waiters. Still. Something doesn’t smell right about a high-volume, successful restaurant instituting such a policy. Scaling back on customer conveniences is a tough one to sell.
This policy undeniably gives waiters the short-end of the stick. Credit card-paying customers will instead tip with pocket change, instead of the full 20%; I’m guilty of this as I don’t carry cash (who does?) There are, of course, tax-implications here for the waiters at Swingbellys, but we won’t get into that. So it goes that this is most definitely a BAD DEAL. (Photo Credit: Ryan Sutton for The Bad Deal).