Posts Tagged ‘Del Frisco’s’

Don’t sell to smd619 in San Diego, CA

November 26, 2014

Growing up we never celebrated Halloween as children. It was the Devil’s holiday – only ghouls and demons came out to enjoy such a dark, evil day in October. But for as evil and menacing as it may have been, somehow all the other kids in the neighborhood came back with pillow cases stuffed with candy, not some American Horror Story demonic possession. So when I finally got to celebrate Halloween for the first time, I was 21 years old. I think UMBC saw about four costumes that first year from me in 2005, two new costumes and a couple of re-creations the next year, I handed out candy to small kids in another outfit the next year at my nana’s house, then moved to Boston and bought another costume, got a sweet job at Del Frisco’s and bought another two costumes before finally purchasing my very last costume: Bridget’s Peachick Halloween Costume.

Absolutely stunning!

Absolutely stunning!

Yea, pretty flipping’ amazing. I wore the costume out to a holiday bash in Boston in 2012. No one, I mean NO ONE had the same costume as me! Everyone was still doing the Black Swan thing. But as luck would have it, I’m not in college anymore and I’m not running around flashing these types of legs much any more either. So, I decided to sell my Peachick outfit on eBay. I had sold several costume on eBay a couple of years ago – a cop outfit and a little Bo Peep costume too. I’d never had an issue. So I put little Miss Bridgette Peachick up on ebay around the first of October to see how I would fair. It’s always so much fun seeing how many people are viewing or watching your item! I had paid $179 for this costume in 2012 and it was still in pristine condition. You wear it once a year, what could go wrong? I had supplied the ad with this photo as well as my own personal photos which showed the illustrious tale, the lovely blue corset, and the glimmering skirt. Everything was in fantastic condition so I asked for $139.99 for the Peachick. I figured this was a fair price and would hopefully notate to potential buyers that I had every intention of finding my beloved costume a suitable home. I wrapped everything very carefully in plastic-wrap to ensure the peacock feathers on the skirt didn’t bend, folded up the corset, and placed everything on top of the tail inside the original packaging. She was ready for a new home!

Then the big day came! Someone in San Diego, CA had purchased my costume! The purchase came after the peachick had been online maybe five days or so. I felt like I should have asked for more money… I mailed the item out Priority Mail 2-Day delivery, complete with tracking number and an ETA of Oct 16th. I always include an invoice with my sales and I emailed the buyer, a girl named Sarah D, to let her know the package was on its way!

Tracking number, date of shipment, address, oh look I even bought stamps...

Tracking number, date of shipment, address, oh look I even bought stamps…

The funds Sarah sent me were set to release on Oct 20th, if I remember correctly, so when I didn’t hear from her or see the funds in my PayPal account, I emailed her to double-check she received my package. Didn’t hear anything back, but she did release the funds. Yippee! I had $139.99 plus shipping in my PayPal account. I was sad to see my lovely costume go, but someone ought to wear it!

Then a funny thing happened. I was getting ready to go out to dinner with Jason on Oct 31th instead of romping around at a Halloween party when I received a message from smd619 via eBay. I opened the email to find this: Sarah was trying to return my costume after receiving it on the 18th, claiming the corset was ripped at the seams when she received the garment!!?? The email from eBay stated I would have until Nov 4th to respond to her claim. This meant she would have five additional days to wear and return the costume OR and more likely, I suspect Sarah wore my costume, ruined it because she didn’t fit the corset/had a wild night at a Halloween party and was trying to return the costume as though I had sent her a faulty product!

Such a beautiful tail!

Such a beautiful tail!

Ladies, what happens when you buy a costume? Do you wait FIFTEEN DAYS before trying it on? No. You rush home and immediately upon on your costume and dance around your room. I was dumbfounded. She knew I did not accept returns as it clearly stated in my seller’s agreement but she was trying to put off that I shipped her damaged merchandise. I didn’t know what to do! I was literally terrified this issue would put me into bad standing with eBay and PayPal. I’ve been selling with eBay off and on since 2009 and I’d never had a problem. In my panic, I pushed “accept return” and immediately Sarah was refunded the money from my PayPal account. But not before I sent back a response to this cheap skate:

What the shit? On Halloween Eve no less...

What the shit? On Halloween Eve no less…

The damage was done however, I couldn’t think of anything else that evening. This bitch had purchased my costume with the intention of never keeping it. What’s the one rule about purchasing a costume from a Halloween store? There are no returns. Ever. It doesn’t matter how much you belly ache. You ain’t gettin’ a return. I couldn’t believe my misfortune. I was hesitant to even sell my beautiful Peachick costume in the first place, now I have homegirl trying to return the costume AFTER Halloween. She thoughtfully crafted this email response back to me moments later:

Very witty.

Very witty.

Since the mature part of the evening was over, I decided to call eBay the very next morning to see what could be done. I mean the MOMENT that I woke up on Nov 1st, I was on the phone with these people. Clearly this wouldn’t stand, right? After being on hold for only 7 minutes, I spoke with a woman at length about this matter. She said there were MANY cases like this happening over the last couple of days and that I needed to wait until Nov 4th to escalate the case. Apparently since Sarah had requested a return and in my nerve and I accepted without correctly processing the issue, we had to wait until Nov 4th for the return to start. An arbitrary date, but whatever. I didn’t respond to Sarah. I was dealing with a scam artist. You can’t reason with people like her who are set out to abuse innocent sellers on eBay.

November 4th came around and I again called eBay. This time I was not as successful. I could not for the life of me understand a word coming out of the customer service rep’s mouth. I asked for a manager and waited on hold for over 30 minutes. When I finally got a manager, he said that since I had initiated the return, I couldn’t do anything further and I had to accept the return. I told him over and over again that the buyer was abusing the return policy by returning a costume AFTER the holiday. He couldn’t grasp what I was saying at all. He kept saying “well, your buyer? he wants to return the item since it’s damaged.” The buyer is a SHE, idiot, it said her full name right on the transition page! I decided to try again with hopefully a woman customer service rep. Then this happened:

womp womp

womp womp

Since I had accidentally started the return process due to my nerve and fear about being in bad standing with eBay, Sarah was waiting for me to PAY her to ship my damaged merchandise back to me. I once again got on the phone with eBay to wait another 25 minutes before yet another female rep told me to not provide this buyer with any information and to wait until the buyer escalates the case. Bottom line, no one at eBay agreed with what the previous six people had told me. My first customer service rep told me on Nov 1st that Sarah couldn’t return the item to me after Halloween and after owning the item for over two weeks, then the man who was confused about pronouns told me I had to accept the return, and NOW this rep said I shouldn’t do anything and I should just wait for Sarah to report me as a seller. All the while, my PayPal account sits in the negative. Thanks… I responded to Sarah as professionally as possible. I still can’t believe I didn’t start swearing at her but every time I was on the phone with eBay, the rep would say “let me check your notes and communication”, so I didn’t want to be the ass who had prissy, spoiled-rotten blonde roommate tone… like Sarah did.

I don't wish her well...

I don’t wish her well…

So she escalated the case and I was alerted that eBay had reviewed our claims and… sided with Sarah. Sided with a bitch who was trying to return a costume after Halloween which she had owned since Oct 18th. Simply amazing. I called yet again to advocate for myself and my selling reputation as Ms Sarah had threatened to leave a bad review about me. Once again, I received advice from the eBay customer service rep completely contrary to everything else I’d been told! This rep told me that since the case had been decided in Sarah’s favor, she would need to ship the item back to me herself. I would wait for a tracking number and then issue a refund. Under no circumstance should I refund the buyer prior to receiving a USPS tracking number – the rep was very happy to have that information for me and repeated it constantly as if every time he did, somehow my situation got better. And if she didn’t provide me with a tracking number, I asked, what then?

“The um, the buyer has seven days to provide, uh, provide you with the tracking number or the case is closed automatically,” the customer service rep stammered. How does it close automatically? It would close in my favor, he assured me. If the buyer does not provide a tracking number within seven days, eBay protects its sellers and closes the case automatically.

Okay. So I waited for seven days to pass.

And they did. No tracking number. I called eBay and again waited on hold for over 30 minutes. This customer service rep happily told me the case was closed due to the buyer neglecting to provide a tracking number and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. Woo hoo! Sarah was too stupid to send me the costume back! Or decided not to be a bitch and kept the costume that she had ripped apart in the first place.

Then Nov 24th came around. Mind you, I have now been on the phone with eBay nearly twice a week trying to sort out Sarah’s disgusting behavior. November 24th comes around and what is sitting on my parents’ stoop? mail

I haven’t lived at the Thorpe St address in four years! I updated my billing and mailing address a while ago. The only way she would have gotten this incorrect address as opposed to, oh I don’t know, the one on the box I originally shipped to her or from the invoice I sent her with my current information on it, she would have had to look through previous sales I’ve made and chose to mail my beloved costume across the country which would hopefully buy her time within that seven-day window so she could claim she returned the item on time! I looked on PayPal immediately and sure enough, they had returned her the money and I was in the red again.

The kicker though? Sarah kept the tail. She didn’t even return the whole costume. That whore kept the peacock tail for herself, expecting an entire refund. Guess what I did next?? Yup, called eBay to report smd619 for sending me a damaged costume and for keeping the very best part of it: the Tail! I can’t even take a picture for you all to see what was in the package, it’s just so disgusting. The costume was completely destroyed. The corset wasn’t just ripped, it was in shreds. The skirt and its lovely feathers were crooked and bent. Then of course, the illustrious tail was just gone. I spent the better part of my Monday afternoon on hold with eBay. When I finally connected with someone, I was very stern and emotional about what had happened – how as a seller, I was completely taken advantage of by this buyer. Thank God I had a woman customer service rep. At first, she said there was nothing they could do but removed Sarah’s bad comment about me that she apparently left. I didn’t see it, eBay took everything down. I told the customer service woman that it was entirely unacceptable that as a seller who typically doesn’t accept returns to make an exception only to have half the costume returned and in unusable form?! A customer can’t do that at a department store, they shouldn’t be able to do it with eBay either. Again I waited on hold as she advocated for me with her management. Finally, the woman came back.

“Um, Laura, we have decided to extend to you, um, a courtesy credit since the buyer did not return the whole item to you. We will refund the money to your PayPal and remove the comments from this buyer,” she explained.

You can't go to a department store and return half of an original good - you shouldn't be able to on eBay either!

You can’t go to a department store and return half of an original good – you shouldn’t be able to on eBay either!

“That’s all well and good but this woman stole from me! I can’t do anything with this costume and more! I can’t sell it, I can’t wear it, I expect some compensation from her. She’s a thief. And eBay, as a facilitator of trade, needs to hold her accountable,” I explained. The woman said they would investigate the buyer and I hope they do since they’re paying me back for her theft.

Sent on Oct 14th, received Oct 19th. Returned by Nov 24th. You do the math - eBay can't...

Sent on Oct 14th, received Oct 19th. Returned by Nov 24th. You do the math – eBay can’t…

I gotta say though, I’m done selling on eBay. The fact that they sided with Sarah after she tried to return my costume, alleging I sent her a ripped costume is astounding. Any ounce of common sense would led one to think, huh, this girl in San Diego is a conniving bitch who is having buyer’s remorse after she ruined a really beautiful, expensive costume… I don’t know what sorts of barriers prevented natural common sense from shortening my negative experience and angst with this buyer, but bottom line? Sarah got away with it. EBay is doing the right thing by eating the cost but I do truly hope they go after her; I doubt they will.

Lesson learned – I’m never selling on eBay again. The customer service people don’t agree with one another, scam artists are able to take advance of good people and bottom line, I have a torn up, half costume that I can’t use or ever want to see again. Don’t be me. Don’t sell to smd619.

2008 Knights Bridge Cab

June 7, 2014

For my 30th birthday, I wanted to open something special. Naturally. While my wine collection consists of barely 20 bottles, I can reflect upon where and why I acquired each of them. In my opinion, this shows the quality of a collection. I may never have a 20,000+ bottle cellar, but I do have gems that are priceless to me. Of such was one 2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2012, I was working the floor one afternoon at Del Frisco’s. It was a Sunday but we were crushing it! I’d received a $50-bill-handshake, several tables were financially on board for magnums and I believe there was a 3-liter of Cain Five on table 50. We were rocking our previous 2011 numbers, so I took a moment to stop selling and enjoy the room.

I’ve never seen a venue equal to that of my former employer, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Right on the waterfront in the Boston Seaport, no other steak house in Massachusetts could touch our numbers or service. The amount of money spent on raising up the pillars and glass walls was only matched by the exorbitant size of the checks signed each and every night. The dining room was one enormous entertaining stage; dinner and a show I always said. The hum of the guests, the bustle of the servers, the click of stilettos and the gaff-ah of buzzed businessmen created an unforgettable soundtrack. And it was on a night such as this when I met Jim Bailey.

At table 62, right along side the massive windows which pushed your gaze out to the harbor, sat a well-dressed elderly gentleman. He was alone but with him, he carried a small dark business bag. My evening was going so well –  I couldn’t help but take a moment to greet this single guest. I walked up to introduce myself and perhaps offer some assistance with our 32-page wine list. He offered his name back as well:

“My name is Jim Bailey,” he stated and extended his hand. We shook out a greeting and got to talking about wines. Jim told me he made wine. To be frank, I heard this all the time. Everyone and their mother makes wine. Not everyone and their mother makes good wine! I faned interest until Jim told me where he made wine.

“I have a winery in Knights Valley called Knights Bridge,” Jim Bailey told me. “My vineyards are about a football throw’s away from Peter Michael.”

That’s Sir Peter Michael. Yes, he has been knighted. How befitting that he should have settled in Knights Valley and revolutionized the AVA which shares territory between Napa and Sonoma. Peter Michael is a titan in the world of wine. After starting his vineyards in 1982, he quickly rose to the top of his class by crafting some of the most coveted wine in Sonoma before venturing over the Mayacamas to Napa. Peter Michael spares no expense creating his wines and bottles sit on wine lists between $330-$500 a pop. He practices biodynamic and sustainable farming; hand crafting in my opinion some of the most memorable Bordeaux style blends. Name dropping typically doesn’t impress me, but this caught me off guard. Also: You can’t just BUY property in Knights Valley. It’s beyond expensive and as allocated as DRC. It’s something you’re essentially born into like royalty.

Jim went on to talk about his Cabernet Sauvignon project and how he’d been working the AVA since 2006. While I’ve never been to Sonoma, I distinctly remember a photo in my Jancis Robinson wine book which shows a glorious photo of Knights Valley. There’s this massive tree, hanging heavy with age and from the moss grasping the branches. The tree is in the forefront of the photo but behind it is a large vineyard, bathed in the sunlight. The tree is lit up with sunbeams shining through the long, dangling branches and the trunk is knotted and craggy. For me, this was Knights Valley. For me, this was where Jim kept his grounds: Knights Bridge Winery.

“I happen to have two bottles here for you,” he reached into his business bag and brought out two dark bottles with pristine medieval labels. I stared at the gift: 2008 Knights Bridge To Kalon Cabernet and the 2008 Knight Valley Cabernet.

“Thank you so much, I’m not familiar with Knights Bridge,” I admitted. Jim and I spoke about this wine project he and his business partner, Tim Carl, had started in ’06 and cultivated over the years with sustainable means. Both men were Harvard legends who caught the wine bug hard. And one of them was sitting at table 62.

I brought the wine onto my Del Frisco’s wine list immediately from one of my distributors, Carolina Fine Wines through Martignetti. This was what wine was all about: Relationships. Who walks into a steakhouse to eat dinner and makes a placement? It was serendipitous.

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

2009 Knights Bridge Release Party

Jim Bailey became my friend. He invited me to the release of the 2009 Knights Bridge, complete with the new vintage of Chardonnay and their Pont du Chevalier Sauvignon Blanc. Jim’s house was like a chateau in the middle of Cambridge, MA. The grounds were groomed to perfection with a reflection pool in the middle of the yard, surrounded by tables of wine, gorgeous flower beds and lavishly dressed guests. Further into the yard, stood a massive gold statue of some Greek deity. The entire event took my breath away. I was in love with Knights Bridge.

I left Del Frisco’s and joined Martignetti – I started selling Jim’s wine in a different manner, but still with a proud smile on my face. I apologized to no one for the price. If you had to ask how much it was…. well. The wines performed for me at accounts like Cirace’s in the North End and I received another invitation to the vintage release of Knights Bridge. The 2010 vintage party out did the 2009 party – being on the Bailey grounds made me feel like I was a part of something so much more incredible than simply selling grapes and water. I was proud of his wine; I was proud to have them in my portfolio. It made me remember why I loved wine.

image

2008 Knights Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon

So I turned 30 this year while living in Seattle.  I moved back to my birth state about two months ago with a job and my family waiting. At first, I had reasoned to turn 29 again since my last birthday was very difficult for a mirage of reasons. However, since I’ve been home, I’ve started seeing someone and I feel hopeful and happy again. I wanted to pop open something special to commemorate my birth year. While I pondered over my small collection, my eyes fell to the 2008 Knights Bridge and I remembered Jim Bailey. I remembered being happy at work and venturing over to introduce myself to table 62. I remembered him giving me the two bottles and hearing about his amazing winery. I remembered feeling like royalty at his vintage parties and I remembered selling the wine table side and then to accounts with Martignetti. Just looking at the bottle made me feel happy all over again. So I selected the 2008 Knights Bridge for my birthday dinner.

And I was once again, happy.