Saturday, January 8, 2011

Non-Dining Experience Leaves Bad Taste in Mouth

"It's just not nice," exclaimed Mrs Elliott as we walked out of Marz Bistro last night. "Someone needs a lesson in manners."

We've eaten at Marz a couple times in the past, but never on a First Friday because they've been so crowded. This time we made a point to get there early, packing a Marz $35 gift certificate that had been given to us last summer.

There were still tables, and we felt that we'd lucked out.

But when I handed the certificate to the guy who was seating us, he hesitated, and showed it to a manager-looking type woman who was folding napkins or something.

"It's too old," she said. "We discounted them to half value a while back, and now they are too old to be used."

Well . . . no. There's a problem right there. According to this page on the Oregon Department of Justice's website, gift cards and certificates do not expire.

The page states that,
[...] the value on a gift card can no longer be reduced because you have not used the card or a certain period of time has passed since the gift card was purchased. Additionally, you may not be charged a fee to use the card, such as an inactivity fee, a maintenance fee or a service fee.

Gift cards may only have an expiration date if the card is marked with the expiration date (in at least 10-point type), the card does not expire for at least 30 days after it was purchased, and the card was sold for less than the face value of the card.

The card has no expiration date on it.

[Addendum: Mrs Elliott's recollection is a bit different than mine. She says that the woman (who didn't bother to get up) said that they had been half-valuing the certificates for a while, but now they've just stopped taking them. A bit different than saying they were too old, but the effect is the same, in my mind.]

Okay, okay, to be fair, the place has since been sold to Gavin McMichael of the Blacksmith. John Gottberg writes "Gavin McMichael’s new venture [Gatsby’s Brasserie Bar] is scheduled to open January 19 in the soon-to-be-former Marz location in downtown Bend. Marz is open for one more week, serving Wednesday-to-Friday lunches and Wednesday-to-Saturday dinners."

So maybe McMichael is not legally obliged to accept gift cards sold by the previous owner.


But the place still has the "Marz" sign over the door, they are operating under the name "Marz," so we had a fair expectation that the card would be honored. 

The staff could have been instructed to explain the situation and could have offered a free appetizer or something to at least partially cover for the inconvenience, and we would have accepted that. Instead, they flatly declined the card.

We could have argued the point, but there were diners there, staring. Besides -- I've read Fight Club and I know what kind of evil shit food servers can do to your food if they are pissed off at you.

Instead, we walked out.

So, new owners or not, Marz/Gatsby’s has just been dropped from our list of downtown dining places (we're not feeling too will-disposed towards Blacksmith, either), and the operation hereby receives The Jack and Mrs Elliott What A Bunch Of Tools Award.

It doesn't have an expiration date.


  1. I'll second the Tool Award, Mister Elliott. Thanks for having the stones to write this.

  2. Maybe they will honor it at Bourbon Street, even if the business changes hands they are legally responsible to honor gift cards just like they have to honor any inherited debt

  3. I'm disappointed you didn't go all Walter Sobchak on 'em, Jack. "You are entering a world of pain ... "

  4. Interesting picture... didn't know you like cross-dressing as a nun. Seems like a bad habit to get into, yark yark.


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