Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dodge City: 5,000 bucks a day...

Well, I answered yesterday’s nastygram with a simple, short, and succinct reply:

I shall not respond to further email from you unless your mail specifically enumerates the errors you wish corrected and what you wish to see in the way of a correction.

Should be the end of it, right? Well, this is what just arrived in the email:

I would like to draw your attention to the following issues related to the posting of a negative review against Dodge City Waterfront on Food24 today :
1. You are regarded, in the balance of probability, to be either the party that posted the review or arranged such.
2. It is understood that the review has been fabricated. The wording thereof suggests deliberate intention to damage the reputation of the Waterfront outlet and to cause financial loss to the owner of the outlet.
3. The owner of the Dodge City Waterfront outlet is not the same party that owns the Canal Walk outlet.
4. The Dodge City franchise and the owner of the V&A outlet have suffered financial loss as a result of the fabricated service complaint that has been made in a public forum.
5. Damages are estimated to be R5,000 for every day that the review remains posted on the Food24 webpage.
6. You are invited to retract, or to arrange the retraction of, the fabricated service review immediately.
7. Should you fail to act in accordance with request recorded in para 7 [sic] above, a summons for damages suffered will be prepared and served against you once your place of residence, or employment, has been established.
I will argue in due course that I have done everything possible mitigate the damages now suffered by the Dodge City in the form of providing you with a written warning of the implications of making deliberately false and/or exaggerated claims aimed at causing unreasonable financial damage to the Dodge City brand and its outlets.

Well, I’m afraid I can’t take credit for this one. The odd coincidence here, however, is that before I wrote the original letter to my friendly correspondent, I actually went to Food24 to find the Dodge City for Canal Walk…I was planning to leave the message “Great burgers and shakes but the service is dismal. Go to the Waterfront diner instead.” But there wasn’t a Food24 entry for the Canal Walk store, so I wrote a letter to the email address listed on the Food24 site instead, expecting that if it didn’t go to the franchise owner, it would likely be forwarded to him by the recipient. Since the email address was simply, however, I figured it would probably go right to Mr. Dodge City himself.

And no, I didn’t put anyone up to it. In fact, any rational person who reads what’s been going on over the last few days would have to conclude I wasn’t involved since I have made repeated efforts to get this guy to tell me what he wants, my plan being to correct any real errors and ignore the rest in the interest of peace. In yesterday’s mail to him I repeated no less than six times, directly or indirectly, my request to inform me what has his knickers in such a knot, pointing out that I can’t do anything to relieve his distress until I know what’s causing it. Well, unsurprisingly, he hasn’t come forth with anything…maybe because there isn’t anything? I am beginning to think this guy has a hidden agenda here, since he refuses to give me the information needed to satisfy his demands and escalates this thing every time I try to lay it to rest.

So, I answered him: “I didn’t post it.” Simple, succinct, to-the-point.

Which prompted him to reply yet again:

You are going to have to convince the Magistrate - not me. As far as I am concerned, the wording of the Food24 review suggests that you are, in the balance of probability, a party thereto. That is all that I will have to prove in due course and I have absolute confidence in my ability to do so. I attend to all Dodge City's legal affairs personally and represent the brand in court when necessary. I look forward to debating the merits of your conduct in court in due course should you not arrange the required retraction of the Food24 review and settlement of damages suffered by Dodge City and its franchisee up to the time of retraction.

The contents of your blog to date (including your prior reference to Food24 and your understanding of the damage that could be caused by a negative review on this webpage), and that of your latest blog bedfellow, are unlikely to assist your effort to claim innocence. I will argue that you are vindictive and intent upon maximising damage to the Dodge City brand for reasons that are not particularly clear at present.

My rights and those of my franchisees are reserved.

OK, so now I’m starting to smell a big fat rat. How do I know this guy was telling the truth about a videotape of our visit to the diner? Since I didn’t check the time, I only guessed (with my husband’s input) that we were there for half an hour. When Mr. Dodge City said his video tape showed 15 minutes I neither demanded to see the tape nor dug in my heels to defend my position: I just accepted his word, corrected my error, and dropped the whole thing. It was two days later that he resurrected the thing with the character assassination mail.

Today I attempted to close it again with my two sentence reply that I would not be responding unless his mail specifically enumerated his complaints and desired corrections. I had not anticipated a further escalation on his part and his latest salvo required response:

I know nothing about this, either directly or indirectly: If you really want this removed, contact Food24 and have them check their records as to who posted it. If you fail to take this action, it can be construed that you do not want it removed, you are just seeking ways to further harass me. How do I know that YOU didn’t post it in an attempt to extract money from me?

I have attempted on two occasions to lay this to rest: once after your apology, and then again today when I said I was not going to respond further. You are the one who keeps resurrecting and escalating.

I’d like to help you, but I am unable to compel or cause Food24 to retract a review with which I had nothing to do.

At the time of this writing, the poll has had only six votes, but so far the response has been unanimous: #3 has it. If anyone has damaged the franchise’s good will, it has been the franchise owner himself. I let it go after his apology…why couldn’t he?

So far, he hasn’t replied to my latest response…nor has he had the courtesy to acknowledge respond to Hubby’s email of two days ago. I will keep you posted…


  1. wow this is fascinating stuff. and I'd probably never have heard of it except Dolce provided a link on her blog.

    that manager sounds very inept at public relations, and everything you've written sounds perfectly reasonable to me. but I'm australian - what would I know?

  2. I am absolutely astounded at the stupidity of this manager. If he can't realize that HE is the one causing irreparable damage to his restaurant, then I'm afraid there is nothing that can be done. Unfortunately, we must deal with stupid people each day, as they inflict their stupidity upon us in the course of our everyday life.

    What an absolute moron. Again, I'd take it to the media. Also, this man is clearly harassing you. It seems to me that you would have a very legitimate legal case against him. If you have an attorney friend, I would discuss this with him/her to see what can be done to stop this harassment.

  3. This manager has an agenda, he knows his employees are a lazy lot and it sounds like he's covering up his lack of leadership instead of actually doing his job. If he was doing his job he wouldn't have time to browse the internet for restaurant reviews, or harassing you. This man needs to be called to task, and be forced to not only stop harassing you, but answer your question and produce the so called tape that was mentioned before. Just my humble opinion. Good luck to you with this nasty person.

  4. Sheesh, it just gets more and more surreal!

    You should file a harassment against this nut job at the Dodge City head office, I bet they know nothing about his little vendetta and would probably be interested to know that one of their regional managers isn't doing so well on the whole 'customer service' thing.


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