The short version: They declined all of my credit cards (even though all were perfectly fine), embarrassing the hell out of me in front of my friends. I believe I know what their problem was that night. The owner will not call me back to discuss the problem.
Here’s the long version: Let me tell you why the Blue Door sucks: I offered to treat a group of my friends to dinner at the Blue Door. Several of us had never been there before and wanted to try it. So we went there and had a good time. The burgers were good. Not as good as Matt’s Bar or The Nook, but still they were good. Then it came time to pay. I handed my card to the server. A few minutes later he came back to tell me it was declined. “Hmmm…” I thought. “There’s no reason for it to be declined. Plenty of money in my account. “ But instead of making a fuss about it, I just gave him another card. Then he came back and said that one was rejected. So I gave him another one. (I keep several credit cards in my wallet in case of emergencies. I don’t carry a balance on any of them.) That one got declined too. So I gave him another one. That one got declined too. So I gave him my last card. Yes, of course, declined too. I was totally confused. Big ole WTF!
At this point I was on the phone with my bank asking about the original card’s decline. They said that there was no problem with my account and that in fact no authorization had been attempted. I’m like WTF! I told the server this and asked him if he’d like to speak to my bank. At this point the server mentions that their credit card processing system is down and that they are doing “offline processing”. I asked him what that meant. He said: “We’re swiping the cards now and then we’ll submit them for processing later when their system is back online. “ “That doesn’t make any sense,” I said. “How can you tell if a card is authorized to make the purchase or not if you are not contacting the credit card company in some way to ask?” He basically gave me a big shoulder shrug and explained that he talked to his manager and that nobody else’s cards had been having a problem and that there was nothing they could do. So I was just screwed.
So my friends (who I offered to treat to dinner) then had to pull out their cards and split up the check and pay for their meals and mine. (Of course their cards all went through.) I was just MORTIFIED. So embarrassing. Please understand. There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of my accounts. And I was on the phone with my bank confirming that. After the restaurant we stopped at a convenience store and I used the ATM there to get cash out of my bank account with the same card that had been declined at the Blue Door. No problem. I called the Blue Door and asked to speak with the manager. Her name was Annie. Annie told me that she didn’t know what to tell me; that everyone else’s cards had been working fine. I asked her if it was possible that it was a dollar amount thing. Our check was over $100 and I asked if perhaps nobody else had ran a card for over $100 and maybe when the processing is offline their system automatically approves anything under $100 and submits it later. And hence automatically declines anything over $100. She told me that she did not think that was the case, but that she would check with the owner in the morning and have him call me.
The next day I called one of my credit card companies to make sure that the Blue Door had not submitted a charge to my card. They had not. And during the conversation with the customer support person, I asked about the dollar amount thing and “offline processing”. She explained that sometimes what establishments will do when their processing is down is exactly what I thought: automatically accept any attempted authorization under $100 and automatically decline any attempt over $100. She said that the proper thing for them to do was to do a manual imprint of the card with the old school carbon copy paper swipe thing and then call the credit card company’s phone number to obtain an authorization code which they write on the receipt.
So… still the next day… I had not gotten a call from the owner of the Blue Door. I called again. Spoke to Annie again. She said that she asked to owner to call me and didn’t know why he hadn’t yet. She said “He’s the owner. I can’t make him call you.” And then she told me that she asked about my $100-auto-decline idea and that the owner agreed with her that that was not how it worked. I told her that I had spoken with my credit card and that the $100-auto-decline thing is exactly what was going on and asked her to please ask her boss again to call me. I explained that they have a problem and that they needed to figure it out so that what happened to me wouldn’t happen to anyone in the future.
Two days later… I still had not received a call from the owner. I called again. This time I spoke to a guy. I forget his name. I asked again to have the owner call me. That’s the last time I reached out to them. Two weeks later, I still have not received a call from the owner.
I don’t want anything from them except to help them figure out their problem so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else. And the owner simply won’t call me back. I think that’s terrible business. So before you go to the Blue Door, know that that’s how they treat their customers.