Banned from a coffee joint? Long story or not, if you've the time to write it we've the time to read it.
What the heck, here's the rundown, for those curious. In chronological order:
1. Big Tuna Sushi, Palmdale, CA. Had a bad service experience there where I ended up in the middle of a shouting argument between the waitstaff and the sushi chefs revolving around whether me, a single diner, could have an entire table to myself. The table waitstaff wanted me to be seated at the sushi bar, but to sit at the sushi bar required you to buy the all-you-could-eat sushi special, which I didn't want. Ended up leaving and going elsewhere, and wrote up a bad review on Google. Owner contacted me demanding I remove the review. When I didn't, he banned me.
2. Farmers Diner, Quechee, VT (now defunct). Again, had a bad service experience. Two issues this time: my waitress told me flat out there weren't any breakfast specials, and 30 seconds later greeted another table by telling them the breakfast specials, including a special that I would have ordered. I asked if I could change my order, and she told me I couldn't. Then, I asked if the "10% discount for locals" applied (seeing that I lived in Lebanon, NH, which is actually an adjacent town), and discovered that they had an odd definition of "local" and was told it was "presumptuous" of me to even ask. Again, wrote up a Google review. Angry manager took issue with my review, and told me that if I didn't take it down, I wasn't welcome there anymore, and never to come back.
3. Bagel Basement, Lebanon, NH (also defunct). After waiting a long time (around 10 minutes) for them to even take my order, I gave up, and decided to leave. I returned my *unopened* Odwalla fruit smoothie to the refrigerator case and started to leave, at which point they told me I couldn't leave without paying for the smoothie. They ended up threatening to call the police about it. I called their bluff on it, and they backed down on calling the police, but told me specifically that I was banned from ever coming back.
4.The Point Coffee, Rehoboth Beach, DE. I ordered a coffee drink ("espresso macchiato with two shots"). Due to some confusion, since they had a Starbucks-like menu that included both an "Espresso Macchiato" and a "Caramel Machiato", they both made up the wrong drink, and charged me for the wrong drink. I politely asked them to remake it, and if they could correct my bill. For some reason, the previously nice and friendly clerk snapped and screamed at me that if "You really wanted an Espresso Macchiato, you should have F-ing ordered an Espresso Macchiato." I countered that I had ordered correctly (and even had two non-related customers to me chime in that I had), and the guy agreed to remake my drink and refund the difference, and as he handed my drink , he told me that I needed to leave the premises immediately, and if I ever set foot on the property again, they'd call the police.
5. Pizzeria Barbarella, Vancouver, BC. I discovered using Google Image Search that about 75% of the images on their website, facebook page, and even press releases they sent to local Vancouver media were actually my
photos that they had stolen from my Flickr page. The offending images were weren't even pics of his pizzas (they couldn't be, he hadn't opened yet), they were actually pictures of mine from Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, AZ (the pictures from this review
, actually). I asked for him to take down the photos. He responded that he was going to use the image however he wanted and there was nothing I could do about it, but his web provider was in the US, so I filed DMCA takedown notices with his ISP. He responded to those telling me I was never,ever welcome at his restaurants, and strongly suggested that if I did so, I'd face violence. The interesting thing is that all this happened before Pizzeria Barbarella opened its doors. And I've never been there, and never will. Fun getting a lifetime ban from a place that wasn't even open yet. I will admit to being cheeky, and when he did open, I sent him a letter asking "So my lifetime ban begins now?"
So, the rundown is basically 2 places that took issue with bad reviews by banning the reviewer, 2 places that similarly decided that the best way to resolve a customer issue was by banning the customer, and a thieving bastard who got upset he was caught stealing my photos.
For the record, places 2 and 3 are now out of business, primarily because they treated most of their other customers like crap, too (that's not too uncommon here, there's a real "we know you don't have many other places to eat out" attitude at a lot of local joints). But maybe I shouldn't count them anymore.
(I'm actually not a high-maintenance customer)