Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why I’m Boycotting Waxy O’Connor’s and Hope You Will, Too

Karma, karma, karma. A friend of mine was recently hanging out at Waxy's and had a pool cue thrown at him for standing near the pool table. The bouncer did nothing. The air conditioning was out on Saturday. My buddy Jose mentioned how he was recently driving by and saw several tow trucks removing cars from the lot behind Waxy's while an employee looked on from the rear entrance. This reminded me to post what I wrote over a month ago about an unpleasant experience I had at that very bar. If you have some time, please do read -

"Why I'm Boycotting Waxy O'Connor's and Hope You Will, Too"

June 4, 2009

Miami Beach, FL - Last night after work I drove down to my second favorite Miami Beach watering hole (Ted's Hideaway is #1), Waxy O’Connor’s (commonly known as Waxy’s), to meet my pal Jose and celebrate his 26th birthday. I arrived to find the parking lot unusually empty, but figured maybe it was a bit early to be there since it was just about 6:30pm when I did.

I parked next to Jose’s shiny new black Nissan Altima in the section with “Waxy’s” printed on the concrete wheel stops. I noticed there was no parking attendant and, as I approached the rear entrance, saw that there was a sign that said “ATTENTION WAXY’S CUSTOMERS – NO PARKING IS ALLOWED AFTER 6:30 WITHOUT PARKING TICKET…” blah blah blah, something about towing, etc. I hustled in to find Jose and find out what the deal was with parking, of course. I’m not a moron. I went to Tufts. You might not have heard of it if you’re stupid and from South Florida, in which case you will need a dictionary to read this article.

I don’t mean to imply that stupidity and South Florida nativity go hand-in-hand, necessarily. There are just more stupid people here than in other places I’ve lived. It’s a fact [note: this may or may not be a fact but it’s certainly supported by vast anecdotal evidence]. I worry that I may be becoming one of those stupid people and therefore should not be held responsible for the actions I am about to describe.

Upon finding Jose, he ushered me to the bar where an employee of Waxy’s grabbed a piece of paper that said “Waxy O’Connors PARKING PERMIT…” and had several official looking, color stamps with the day’s date. It said some other stuff about not parking after 6:30 but I didn’t think it mattered since said employee told me to put it in my car and that I would be fine. “Oh great,” I thought to myself. I’ll just head out and put that in my dashboard and be all set. Jose said he had asked specifically about the “6:30” thing and this same guy told him it was all set and he just needed that paper and he’d be fine. As I mentioned, Jose has a new car about which he is concerned, so he made sure it was fine to park there.

Was this unreasonable? Were we being really stupid to believe that an employee of the bar was giving us sound parking advice for the parking lot at the establishment where he worked? It was already 6:30 by this time and still there was no parking lot attendant.

We returned to the bar and had a lovely evening of moderate drinking (I had 3 Guinnesses over 3 hours) and spirited conversation with a bunch of friends, with a nice background of country tunes picked by my buddy Andy . I think he must have put $20 in the jukebox or something because every song I heard last night was picked by him. We also played lots of games of darts. That’s always fun. I had some of Waxy’s delicious shepard’s pie for dinner, a dish that, for some reason, women almost unanimously find disgusting. So disgusting, in fact, that they feel compelled to tell you right to your face how disgusting they think it is, whether you are about to eat it, are in the process of doing so, or have just wiped your mouth after having finished. Women. I mean, am I right? Women? Ha!

Around 9:40 I decided to wrap things up and get my check, so I paid my tab, left a generous tip, and made my goodbyes. I walked out to find our cars gone. I ran inside to get Jose and deliver the news I was certain would ruin his birthday. There was now a parking lot attendant who told us “there was nothing he could do” and that the tow truck guys come by and just tow any cars that don’t have a stub from him. He was quite apologetic.

Rather upset at the prospect of paying who-knows-what to get our cars back from Beach Towing, we went inside to ask why we were towed. Paula, the cute brunette waitress on whom everyone I know has a crush (not I of course, since I have a wonderful, beautiful girlfriend), said that if she had known we were parked there she would have told us not to do so. She had a sad look on her face. She’s a sweetie.

My brother drove Jose and me (not “Jose and I,” you people who try to sound smart and fail miserably) over to the tow lot only to find a line of people more aggrieved than we were. The woman in front of us said she was towed from a handicapped spot she was authorized to be in (that story is a little fishy, I agree). The man behind us once had his car towed and then auctioned off because Beach Towing had “accidentally” written down the wrong license plate number and said they didn’t have his car. The gentleman behind him had been towed from the lot at his own office (happened to my brother once). Sounds about right if you’ve lived here and dealt with either the class acts from Beach or Tremont (owned by the same people, I believe).

The guy behind the necessary bullet-proof glass was actually rather polite. He said that the attendant in the lot called them and told them to tow us and that we must have been parked in the wrong spots. He even suggested taking pictures and contesting the tow charges. Didn’t mean we didn’t have to pay $185 each to get our cars back. Some birthday present for Jose.

We both decided to return to Waxy’s to ask for the manager and explain our plight. I was elated to find an opportunity to quote one of my favorite movie lines, yelling to my brother to prepare people that I was coming and that I was “bringing Hell with me." That’s from Tombstone, in case you’re wondering.

The manager, Alex, a nice fellow, told us “there was nothing he could do” (are we seeing a trend?) and how terrible he felt but that we should return to talk to the owner. He gave us the card of Richard Carmichael and said he’d be around after 9am the next day.

So, today I drove down there to see Mr. Carmichael and explained to him very politely (though he probably thinks I’m a total dick) how I had been towed and that I was a faithful customer who saw all the big boxing matches there and had spent the last two St. Patrick’s Days there (they’ve only been open in Miami for that many). I said that we had come with a group of 11 for a friend’s birthday party. I told him that I thought it was fair to say that it was confusing to be given a piece of paper with stamps on it and told at 6:30pm that it was fine to park in the rear lot and then be towed.

Carmichael read the message on the paper and told me “here, it says here very clearly…”. As I said before, I’m not a moron. I know what it says. I can read English. I said to him “you’re speaking to me like I’m a moron. I know what it says.” I’m frankly tired of writing about it. He simply did not care and said, all together now, “there was nothing he could do” and that the owner of the property had put this in place and it was not his fault.

I was getting sick of hearing that and reminded of another favorite movie, “Man on Fire”, the main character of which I was beginning to feel a lot of kinship towards. He gets tired of hearing everyone tell him “it was just business." Of course there was something he could do. He could pay us back $185 each.

The conversation went on for some time as I pleaded with him for some rectification of my situation. He did not budge and was becoming annoyed with me. I decided to leave, turned and said I would never be back. When I say that, I mean it.

I called Jose and told him what to expect. He went in to see Mr. Carmichael as well, who told him the exact same thing he had told me. Jose demanded he be paid back for the tow charge, but Carmichael refused. The bartender who had screwed us with the parking passes and bad advice was also there. Jose asked him why he had told us it was ok to park and the guy became defensive and said “I’m not a scumbag." Hmm, was there a kickback from the tow company perhaps?

Carmichael then told Jose that if he could produce a receipt he would reimburse him for what he had spent at the bar. Jose had paid in cash and gotten no receipt so he was out of luck. But he called me to see if I had one. Which I did…

We made a little hand-off at 41st Street where I gave him my $51.55 receipt. I said it might not work since I had told the guy I was never coming back and that it was unlikely an Irishman would forget my name. That's pretty funny, I think. When Jose returned to the bar, the owner was gone. The same bartender who had screwed us by giving us the parking passes was there and gave Jose a gift certificate for $50 (“*only good after 7pm” was written on it by hand, which seems spiteful but I don’t know why), with Jose’s name on it, not mine. When Jose asked about me, the bartender said “nope, just you."

Jose doesn’t want to go back there ever again either, so he doesn’t want the gift certificate. He also wanted me to be reimbursed since he felt bad that celebrating his birthday had cost me so much money. The problem is that I don’t want it either. Maybe I’ll sell it.

So, long story long, I guess customer loyalty doesn’t mean anything at Waxy’s, so I say “f*** ‘em." Please support your pal Colin by stopping in as you pass by Waxy’s and tell them why you won’t be patronizing that bar any longer. Unless you think I’m an idiot who’s in the wrong, in which case, feel free to remind me that “there was nothing they could do."


Anonymous said...

very easy way to handle a towing situation. first call 911 and ask a police officer to respond. when the cop gets there, tell him that you would like him witnessing you getting into your car that was out of your possession and in possession of the towing company. 2. get in car and notice that your gold rolex watch etc is not in glove box. you are now off to the races.

Anonymous said...

This is weird, but ... I got attacked by insects (?) twice at Waxy's and would tell anyone not to go there.

I went 3 times for boxing. on the 1st and 3rd visits, I sat on the side of the room by the front door. both times i woke up the next day covered in giant welts/bug bites (10 of them last time) that I had an allergic reaction to, incl. fever. the welts went up one arm and across my back, i.e. the "walking pattern" (gross).

i figured fire ants cos i was allergic when i was a kid, but a dr. the next week (at appt for something else) said not ants, but maybe spiders (!).

i only went back after the 1st incident because any place can have a stray ant, no reason to overreact. plus visit #2 i was on the other side of the room and no problems.

this time i got so pissed i photographed the welts, i planned to show to the owner and let him know there's an infestation of ... something, and that if someone's more allergic than me, they could really get hurt, plus waxy's would prob have a lawsuit on their hands, american-style. i never followed thru, but reading this i realize there prob wasn't much point.

Colin said...

I'm not gonna lie, both of these comments are pretty weird. Might be why they're from Anons. I'm sorry to hear about the spider attack, though.

I can't imagine a scenario in which the owner would have any sympathy for you. I know from people familiar with the bar's finances that they are in bad shape, and this is largely due to how they treat others. Karma, karma, karma...

spiderbitegal said...

hee, yes it was a weird incident & i know the same about their business/finances, but more importantly lemme know if you have any recommendations on where to watch the matches from now on.

i went to quarterdeck once - not for a big fight, just to watch a friend of mine boxing on espn friday night fights - but having said that, it still wasn't the right vibe.

Colin said...

I agree, Quarterdeck is blah. Belongs in Orlando. It's ok to have a bite there but it's not right for watching sports. Too bright. I haven't decided on a new place to watch boxing, but I know that Felt (next door to Waxy's) has shown the last couple of big fights without charging a cover. That's probably going to be the place I go for the Mayweather fight in September.

spiderbitegal said...

i might check out the sports lounge in north beach, i heard it has new owners (didn't like the old one) and they *used* to show the PPV for free.

also, whenever i asked them to put boxing on the TV, they never looked at me like i had two heads, which happens at a lot of sports bars - boxing is the rodney dangerfield of sports.

doubt that'll be an issue for the mayweather fight, tho.

SuperBee said...

Colin - don't they show the fights at Playwright?

Playwright is better than stupid Waxy's, anyway.

And I'll take your Gift Certificate. : )

Anonymous said...

Heard the guy that got kicked out of the Playwright Partnership opened Waxy's. I wonder what the deal is??

Anonymous said...

that's right. the 2nd partner in waxy's south beach was the ex-partner of the family that owns the playwright. after 5+ years, they had a falling out, so he joined up w/waxy's owner, who has owned the v. successful broward location of waxy's forever, to open up a rival pub just across the street. but rumor is the ex-playwright partner is also now an ex-waxys partner, and has left Miami.

Anonymous said...

waxy o'connors towed my car also while i was having lunch at the bar.it was before 6.00 pm and it clearly says everywhere "waxy's parking 8am -6 pm."
bartender said 10 cars from costumers are been towed PER WEEK.i guess that's how they make their money since the bar is empty all the time.

Colin said...

Hey "Anonymous who got towed during lunch." Did they offer you any compensation? Any recourse? What did the towers say?

A place that allows its customers to be treated so poorly will not last. Or the owner will get some terminal disease because of all of the bad karma he is accumulating.

SteveBM said...

I read somewhere recently that Waxy's on the River was to start having Jamaican Reggae or something like that. Sorry, but no self respecting Irish Bar would ever allow something like that to happen. Brickell Irish Pub is where its at.

jesvinagre@hotmail.com said...

hello Colin
this is the anonymous :) my name is jessy
contact jesvinagre@hotmail.com
not anonymous anymore...lol.
the answer to your question is "no way they compensated me for anything ",i have the case in court right now .i asked the towing company guy if he thinks this is right and he said no and advice me to go back to the bar and tell the bar manager to advice costumers about a permit paper to be put on dashboard.i had no idea of this paper cause is not posted anywhere in the bar and nobody told me either.also and most important
they have signs all over the parking lot saying you can park up to 6 pm ...BUT IT IS A LIE ....they make more then 8 000 dollars a month towing cars. also be careful cause the towing company will put the wrong address on the receipt ,the scam is they illegally tow your car and write the wrong address so people like me have to prove the car was really parked there.
my case is in court right now.on the pre-trial they offer me and the manager mediation(we did not accept so we are going to trial) and the judge that heard my side already asked manager "Why would they have signs (parking for waxys from 8 am to 6 pm)on the parking lot . she sounded like she was on my side but now they saying my car was parked someplace else ,i cant believe they would actually get away with that lie...but we will see soon .
it will probably help if i get some signatures of people that had this happening to them ...
so if this happened to anyone please contact me at jesvinagre@hotmail.com

Colin said...

Good luck, Jessy. I'll repost your comment for my readers.

Anonymous said...

Next time do not park on lots, get a parking card or fill the meter with coins. Walking your ass a little bit, will get you sober and avoid the inconveniences.

Colin said...

Thanks for the brilliant advice. I think everyone would prefer to park at a meter rather than getting towed. This is probably the stupidest comment that has ever been left on my blog. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

here is the conclusion to my towing problem with waxy O'Connor's:
after taking them to court
i got ALL my money back .both the towing and the court expenses :)
but if this happens to you remember to serve both waxy O'Connor and the towing company.

Anonymous said...

here is the conclusion to my towing problem with waxy O'Connor's:
after taking them to court
i got ALL my money back .both the towing and the court expenses :)
but if this happens to you remember to serve both waxy O'Connor and the towing company.

leslie said...

Hi Colin -
My son had the same issue a few months ago. I have Willard Shepard of the local news interested in doing a story on the towing scam, but he wants to interview a local and we are from New York. Do you live in FL and would you be willing to do a tv spot? If so the email address is: willard.shepard@nbcuni.com, Attn: Jessica (his intern). Or please email me at nestles1962@gmail.com. Thanks!

Colin said...

Thank you, Leslie. I have just written to them. I'm sure my readers would love to hear the story of your son's experience, if you don't mind.

Colin said...

I just reread this and am so incensed that I want to throw my computer through my office window. I have a temper!