[And welcome to my little blog.]

I'm Amanda! So happy you are here. Grab a glass of wine, read along, and let's be friends.

Dear owner of The Max,

Sunday, August 28, 2011
Let me just start by saying that I have always been a huge fan of your club. You guys were established before gay bars were trendy. And all those late nights when I've gotten an itch to dance, you've been there. Strobe lights, diversity, and techno music, all tucked away discretely in our little corner of the Midwest. 

I've been out dancing at the Max more times than I can remember, but I've never had a night at The Max like I did last night.  Here's how it went:  A group of us were hanging out on the patio at Barry O's, enjoying casual conversations and the unusually nice weather, when someone threw out the idea of going to the Max.  I enthusiastically rallied behind the idea. 

It was midnight. Two hours to dance. The seven of us stood in line, paid our $10 cover charge, got some money out of the ATM, and headed over to the techno dance floor.  Before starting to dance, I decided to go to the bathroom.  I was washing my hands when a girl stumbled into the bathroom, one shoe on - one shoe off, bleeding profusely. She has a gash on her ankle.  If I had to guess I'd say it was three inches long at least half an inch wide. Regardless of the specifics, there was no way her night was ending without a trip to the emergency room and half a dozen stitches. I scrambled to look for paper towels for her, and helped her make her way back out of the bathroom.  A guy she was with rushed up and took one look at her ankle and frantically picked her up and said, "we're going to the emergency room." I walked back to the sink and finished washing my hands as I looked at the blood smeared all over the bathroom floor.

An eventful start of the night.  I joined my friends back on the dance floor. After about an hour into dancing, I took a step and suddenly felt a sharp stabbing pain in my left foot. It took me only a second to realize what happened.  With the image of the girl in the bathroom fresh in my mind, I momentarily panicked.  Shit.  There's glass in my foot.

I pulled off my shoe and used the light coming from the strobe lights to try to triage how bad it was. Blood everywhere. No clue where exactly it was coming from.  My husband, Kevin, picked me up and carried me out to where we could actually get some light on my foot and see how bad it was.

We asked the door man for some water to dump on my foot to try to figure out if the glass was still in there. The door man looked at us dumbfounded, then replied, "You can go to the bar and get some water."  At this point I'm thinking, "Oh great, thanks for your help buddy," but am too distracted by the blood to say anything.

I'm standing on one foot, bleeding profusely as people are filing in and out of the Max.  Finally somebody hands me a wet rag and I dab at it to make sure I don't have glass in my foot. I tell Kevin to look in my shoe to see if he sees anything. He finds a piece of glass inside.  Well that means it's probably not in my foot, so that's a good sign.  I finish wiping off my foot, and a friend helps me put on a band aid.

I'm a little shaken up, but relieved that I don't need stitches.  Before I leave, I realize that this little episode has ended our night, and I'm in pain, and I want our money back.

I go to the guy that's collecting the $10 cover and say,  I'd like our money back.  He calls over the manager, and my conversation with the manager went something like this: 

Me:  I love this place, and this has never happened to me before, but I just stepped on a piece of glass on the dance floor and would just like the money back that the seven of us just paid to get in here.
Derik the Manager:  I can't give you your money back.
Me:  A little surprised, I ask, "Did you see my foot, I was bleeding all over the place"?
Derik the Manager:   Yes, I saw your foot, but how do I know you had your shoes on?
Me:   You can see the hole where the glass punctured my shoe.  Also, you can see all the blood that is inside of my shoe, how could that happen if I didn't have my shoes on?
Derik the Manager: Well, I don't know how long you were here before this happened.
Me:  Why is it relevant how long I was dancing and having fun before I stepped on a piece of glass? 
Derik the Manger:  Fine, I'll give you your money back.
Me:   I want everyone's money back.  We all drove together and now everyone is having to leave.
Derik the Manager:  I'm only giving your money back.

Me, starting to get angry and realizing this conversation is going nowhere.

Me:  I don't think giving back our what we paid is too much to ask.  Not that I'm this type of person, but people sue people for things like this. 
Derik the Manger:  Sue us then. This happens to people all the time.
Me:  It doesn't make me feel better that it happens all the time.  It actually makes me more angry. Give me your card.

He goes into the back and returns with his card. 

At this point I am livid. Not that I had just stepped on glass, but at the way Derik the manager just treated me.  He gives me my $10 and doesn't help us with the door on our way out.  He acted like he was annoyed he had to deal with me and my bleeding foot, and treated me like it was somehow my fault that it had happened. 

But it was not my fault.  It was the combination of serving people drinks out of real glass, not preventing people from bringing them out on the dance floor, and drunk people dropping their glasses.  I understand, how this happens.  I have personally always liked that The Max lets you bring drinks on the dance floor. I like to drink and dance at the same time.  But, given my recent personal experience, I would like to recommend that you consider switching over to plastic disposable glasses when serving drinks where people are dancing.  The other thing I'd recommend: when someone steps on glass is to ask where they were when they stepped on it.  And then go clean it up.

All that aside, I have an even better recommendation.  When the circumstances your bar creates causes someone to get injured, please say you are sorry. 

The words I'm sorry don't cost your business anything.  And it would have cost Derrick the Manager nothing to utter them.  If he had uttered them once, I would not be writing you this letter right now.  If he had uttered them twice, I probably even be upset that I'm going to have to limp around for the next few days.

Maybe, I just caught your manager on a bad night. Maybe he is a bit jaded by the sight of blood, because it just happened earlier that night, and probably happens a lot.  Maybe he's treated a bunch of people this way, and nobody has ever told him how angry it made them.

Who knows.  What I do know is that I had plans to go for a jog today, but I got out of bed this morning and can't even step down on my foot. 

We're all human and shit happens.  And I love your bar and really don't want to have to boycott it forever.  So here is your opportunity for a do-over.  I hope to hear from you soon.

Your previously enthusiastic customer,



Steph said...

Amanda! I'm sorry you hurt your foot :( I can't believe that service, what a jerk! Hope you feel better :) Love ya!

Stacie said...

Oh my gosh! That's terrible! I am so glad you wrote them and spoke your piece - things don't change without a catalyst. Hopefully you are that catalyst. Love you and hope you feel better!

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