~On A DIME!!
So last Saturday I went to Jazz Alley for a show. The last time I was at Jazz Alley I walked in on my own two feet. A different day a different way. Ok so I’m not NEW to the game. I’ve been rock’ Team Handi for liked 4 years and some change now. When I made the reservation for the party of four I dotted the eyes and crossed the Ts. You know me! YOU KNOW ME!
Allow me to recap the night like I did for their management…
I was told by Jazz Alley staff to go to the 6th avenue entrance but no one was there to let me in. Tanya, one of the friends who was with me had to call Jazz Alley and ask staff to come let us in. When they let us in, that’s ALL they did! NO escort to our seats, NO welcome to The Alley NOTH’N! GREAT security (I say with a smile and wink). We could have been there LIGHT UP joint. You never know whose pack’N heat these days! That’s why the TSA searches me and my HOT ride. Ok so there’s NO clear walkway which resulted in us bumping into people while trying to maneuver the wheelchair through the crowd. I was about to GO OFF! I took a deep breath and smiled. I remembered we were at a black show in a white establishment. We were there to see Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard. So it was sea of blackness. I didn’t want to be the ONE pop’n off. Little did I know this was only beginning of the mess…
When we finally found someone to help us. I gave them my last name and they went to look my reservation up. They returned fast but they did not have the correct “Raney”. Staff insisted that we had seats in another section however; our correct seats were in 53 and 54. Another party also had the last name “Raney” but staff did not take the time to determine that it was not me. They just insisted that my seats were in another section. They could clearly see that I was in a wheelchair so it made no sense for them to think my seats were in an inaccessible area.
Fortunately, I had a printout of my reservation which showed the correct section. When I finally reached my party’s seats in sections 53 and 54, there was a booth on one side and chairs on the other side of the table. Jazz Alley staff told me to just move the chairs on one side. That’s easy enough right. RIGHT? Ok so my wheelchair did not fit under the table. Even if my wheelchair fit, there was no room for me to move around to see the show. Like zero clearance. Oh and there are four people in our party. If my wheelchair takes up two spaces where was our fourth person gonna sit??? NOW I could understand why the staff thought these seats were not our seats. But clearly they are the ones I bought no matter how inaccessible they were.
I couldn’t sit at the tables that I paid for. I had to sit in between two the tables. Fun! NOT! I planned to order dessert while at Jazz Alley. But what was I SUPPOSE to do eat on my lap? Y-E-A-H RIGHT at this Booshie event?! It was difficult enough to enjoy a glass of wine also because of this.
Studdard’s tribute to Luther pulled me through. MAN that boy can sing. So a couple days after the show I emailed The Alley my experience as a disabled person with their establishment.
Unfortunately these sort of experiences happen to the disabled all too often. But what happened next NEVER happens. At lease it’s a first for me. The PR person wrote back immediately. OH and no form letter or cover our butt letter. I’m gonna just cut and paste the high lights…
Jazz Alley— I practically fell off my office chair when I read your email this morning. Because the owner was not scheduled to be in today, I left him a voicemail message at home as I’ve not read or heard of a situation like this at Jazz Alley in my 15 years with the club. Everything about your experience is horrible and completely unacceptable on our end.
First and most importantly, know that we are DEEPLY SORRY. We’re very glad you emailed us about this situation. By notifying us, you are giving us the chance to apologize and dig into where the wires crossed on our end so this never happens again.
From there she told me the person that took my order DIDN’T note on the reservation I was in a wheelchair. Which about KNOCKED me out my wheelchair! I had like a 10 to 15 minute conversation with the lady. Then the she (PR rep) informed me the gal would be written up for the mistake. Lastly she invited me back and sent me four tickets on the house. I can use these on ANY show I choose. If that ain’t good customer service I don’t know what is. Nordstrom WHO?!
Over the past 18 years, this disease has dictated many different situations for me, not the least of which being confinement to a wheelchair for four years, and counting. As a result, this is not the first bad experience I’ve encountered, nor will it be the last. But Jazz Alley’s quick and thoughtful response validated me as a valuable part of society…my money is just as green as someone on two feet. I’m just say’N. Thank you Jazz Alley