Willing to part with your AmEx card? How about for a free sandwich at Parsley?

Categories: A Real Deal

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Parsley
It's all about getting vocal for Jason Bailey, owner of Parsley, a small, health-focused lunch spot in the Golden Triangle. Inspired by American Express protesters, Bailey and the Parsley staff decided to offer their first-ever promotion. But don't leave home without it if you want your free lunch, because Parsley will be cutting your AmEx card to pieces. "We keep our scissors sharp," says David Hanan, a member of the Parsley staff.

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As a small-business owner, Bailey says he's seen the negative affects that big corporations are having on the economy. "American Express is a big, greedy bank that will take every penny that they can get," he explains. "They advertise 'fewer fees' and 'double the rewards,' but that couldn't be more opposite of the truth. The financial burden is falling on small business owners that are already working overtime and still struggling,"

Bailey thinks restaurants have a unique opportunity to make the world a better place, since they are visited by so many people every day. So he decided to take a grassroots approach to educating his customers to the evils of American Express's way of doing business.

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A flier on the wall at Parsley.
He's not necessarily asking people to switch to cash-only, Bailey explains; bills and coins are cumbersome and dirty. But he'd like to see a card that is "not about the gimmicks," one that be a non-profit transfer of money directly from the customer to the merchant, taking banks out of the equation.

"At Parsley we stand for two things," he says. "Good food and social justice. And with the banks, there is no humanity there. It's just whoever has the most, takes the most. So how about we cut up AmEx cards and let them know how we feel?"

Bailey would like to invite other local restaurant owners to join Parsley in this social-justice movement. In fact, he'll give them a free lunch in return for sitting down and discussing the promotional offer. They can even keep their AmEx cards...for now.



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Parsley

303 W. 11th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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17 comments
Virginia Johnson
Virginia Johnson

I'm all for credit unions :) but their debit cards have interchange fees also, so if his issue is what he's stating -that he doesn't like the fees being charged at all- there's no way to avoid that without going cash only. I just find it odd that he decided to only pick on AmEx if he's honestly just upset that fees are charged in general. Sounds like there's more to the story or he has had some personal problems with them.

Susan Berkley
Susan Berkley

I worked at a small Botique on 32nd where they refused to take Amex because of the high fees they charge the small business. Pure greed.

Gabriel Citrus Melchor
Gabriel Citrus Melchor

But cash only would preclude people from using their credit union debit cards, too ;)

Scratch
Scratch

That's a fun promotion.  I can't believe anybody would take this so seriously as to never enter your restaurant again or to state that you should only be in business to make money.  Being a small business owner gives you the ability to express yourself freely with only the threat of losing a client or two rather than your job.  Parsley,  I'm coming to see you and you had better accept bitcoins.  JK




Virginia Johnson
Virginia Johnson

Meh, think its a little silly that he chose to pick on just one card. I applaud the idea behind a card that transfered money directly from consumers to companies but its far fetched - how would the cards, servicing for the cards, technology behind it, fraud protection, etc be funded? He should stand 100% behind his cause and go cash only or go home.

Denver Dave
Denver Dave topcommenter

I really am paying for food, service, ambience when I eat out - and, that's it.  I've avoided this place like the plague ever since I found out that your get a liberal helping of socio/economic political b.s. with your order.  Pass.  Peddle your agenda somewhere else.

Gen Hicks
Gen Hicks

This is a stupid and ridiculous idea. In addition, the owner is pretty stupid and ridiculous as well. I used to work around the corner from Parsley and he kicked me out for sending back a sandwich that I specifically ordered without mayo. After he threw $10 at me he said I didn't deserve to eat at his restaurant with such an unrefined palate. I put the $10 in the tip jar and loudly apologized to his crew about the unfortunate fact that they work for the Sandwich Nazi. ;)

Jon_S
Jon_S

Perhaps he could take the more rational and less drama-queeny route and simply stop accepting AmEx.

IronyDiscovered
IronyDiscovered

I will now officially NEVER enter this restaurant again. As a fellow small business owner, I build THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS in to my fees. If you don't want to accept the currency that is most convenient for your GUESTS (keep in mind, you are not doing them a favor by existing... seems Parsley has forgotten this) than you should shut your doors and all go work for someone who is willing to do so with a smile on your face. The reason small businesses FAIL all too often is that they seem to, indeed, think that the world, community, market owes them something... and not the other way around.

YayWhiskey
YayWhiskey

Business exist for one reason only, to make money for its owners/shareholders.  Period

It makes me chuckle when I see people that don't understand this.

Mr. Bailey could easily find a credit card processor who doesn't accept AmEx instead of creating his little tempest in a teapot.

I shan't be surprised when I read that Parsley is no longer in business.

R.Freeman
R.Freeman

@IronyDiscovered Convenience is not the only thing customers are looking for. Anti-corporatism and local philosophy are two of the main draws of small business, especially in the service industry (which exists to do people favors). I can't attest to the reasons behind small business failure, however I think that your opinion is flawed. Judging by the manner of your post, I think the reasons small businesses fail are the inadequate representation of brand ideals and the amount of decision-making ability consolidated into one person (the owner). 

With that said, Parsley suffers from these problems. I think he's definitely over anticipated his niche audience. Every market has extremes.

IronyDiscovered
IronyDiscovered

@R.Freeman YOUR main draw is Anti-Corporatism and Local Philosophy to Small Business. Being anti-ANYTHING flies in the face of any business, development or progress. I support small business and entrepreneurs because it keeps the money that we all work so hard for, local. When money is kept in our communities it is, ideally reinvested in surrounding businesses and communities which continues to help our communities thrive. Small businesses who decide that one manner of their patrons' support is less desirable than another (which is exactly what declining their method of payment) will almost always move the money OUTside of our neighborhoods and communities.) In this instance, my neighbor of both my home and business (Parsley) will now result in me ordering my sandwich and/or salad in, lets say 80206. Cherry Creek, their local taxes, their business owners and their employees who will receive my tips. Not that its bad but 100% of the time now, I will not be spreading my hard-earned money around because a Golden Triangle institution has decided that they do not want my money... which, just guessing (now this is going to be a big stretch here....) flies in the face of one of the biggest arguments that Parsley is trying to make here: The "Big bad bank" isnt distributing its supposed wealth.

TheJeff
TheJeff

@R.Freeman@IronyDiscoveredIt's not really a "favor" if you're paying for it; it's a transaction.

This isn't about politics.  I'm as politically liberal as they come, but I'm completely turned off by this nonsense.  Businesses have to exist and find a way to function in the real world that the consumers they're targeting live in. 

If he wants to have a cash only policy, great.  Many successful restaurants in New York and Boston do it, and I have no problem with going to those places.  Just make sure you advertise that fact so that I come with plenty of green.  Also, be aware that you have to be an amazingly special place for people to put up with that.  It's going to make it a lot tougher to survive until you build a loyal clientele.

I can even kind of understand places that accept other cards, but not AmEx because their fees are somewhat higher and the store's margins are too small to accommodate them.  But asking consumers to let you cut up their cards because "American Express is a big, greedy bank" just reeks of smug, self-righteous bullshit. 

Reading the "about us" that @Colin James Floom linked, and the story that @Gen Hicks told confirms my impression of Parsley.  Ultimately, I agree with IronyDiscovered that businesses that wish to succeed in the service industry had better find ways to make their business convenient and accessible to their customers, even if it occasionally leaves a bad taste in their mouths.  As he says, you build that in to the cost of your product. It sure sounds like Parsley is more interested in selling their own ideals than they are sandwiches, and I can't imagine them lasting very long in that endeavor.

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