9-May-2020 (Sat)
Wherein DNA Lounge brand Whiskey and Bourbon have arrived!

This took longer than we expected, but they have finally arrived! Available for pick-up or delivery from DNA Pizza!

Speaking of delivery, a few weeks ago San Francisco ordered the various delivery services to reduce their fees from their criminally extortionate 30% to a still-extortionate 15%, and I predicted that they'd find some loophole or some other way of keeping those fees high. But, to their credit, they all seem to be complying with the 15% cap. Or, if they aren't, they've hidden it in a way we haven't spotted yet.

But if you want to save us from having to pay them that 15%, please do call ahead at 415-626-0166 for pick-up!

"Wow, these companies are obeying the law!" is faint praise indeed.

But seriously, almost no time can go by without these companies doing something just ridiculously sketchy. Remember six weeks ago -- I know, it feels like a year already -- but a mere six weeks ago was when Yelp (who own Grubhub) decided to try to non-consensually funnel more business to their partner Gofundme by creating a "fundraiser" for you whether you wanted one or not. (Don't think they're trying to "help" here, it's so that they get the service fee on that credit card transaction.) Anyway, that resulted in possibly the finest quote I have ever given to the press:

SF Bar Owner to Yelp: "Fuck All of These People Entirely"

Like many business owners across the country, Jamie Zawinski, the owner of SoMa nightclub DNA Lounge, was less than pleased to learn that a partnership between Yelp and GoFundMe meant that the Yelp listing for his business now had a fundraising button on it that he hadn't consented to. "What the fuck?" he said regarding the move in an email to Eater. "Seriously, what the fucking fuck?" [...]

"I don't really have a lot to say about this," Zawinski told Eater, except, "Fuck all of these people entirely... Really, get all the way right up in there and fuck them."

Oh, but that was six whole weeks ago. What are Yelp / Grubhub up to today?

Yelp is Screwing Over Restaurants By Quietly Replacing Their Phone Numbers

Even though restaurants are capable of taking orders directly -- after all, both numbers are routed to the same place -- Yelp is pushing customers to Grubhub-owned phone numbers in order to facilitate what Grubhub calls a "referral fee" of between 15 percent and 20 percent of the order total.
Cool, cool.


22 Responses:

  1. Michael Kohne says:

    Can some lawyer-type explain how the phone numbers thing is not fraud? Pretending to be another business in order to extract money from their customers seems quite fraudish to me.

  2. Jason McHuff says:

    Someone who has been having trouble obtaining water in average times and then has the morals to reject some during a severe drought deserves real credit.

    Also, if you follow the links in the articles, there's more shenanigans that Grub Hub has been up to, including setting up (templated) Web sites for restaurants that only lead to Grub Hub.

    SF restaurants should get together and establish a collectively owned site/app (and maybe pool for other services like delivery and back end, too). If enough did, Grub Hub could be told to take a hike, or at least face real competition.

    • Jason McHuff says:

      Also, I donated $20 today (using your actual fundraiser).

      I have no interest in music or alcohol and have only been able to stop in for a slice on two visits, but I enjoy your orneriness (or whatever you call it, like your tirade on Yelp) and have a lot of esteem for your blog, including your diary, and your fight against city hall. Also, I think the Internet owes some for your work at Netscape and Mozilla, though at least one of those did get you a payout.

  3. Jens Knutson says:

    What's the difference between the American whiskey and the bourbon? Is the former made from wheat, or does it have a higher rye content, or...?

    • Dude says:

      US whiskey is primarily made from cereal grain. Bourbon is made from corn. (via Wikipedia)

      Also, "Bourbon" is a region-specific term, like "Champagne". Just what region has claim to term "Bourbon" is... slightly debatable. It's generally agreed that the US in general has claim to it, but other say it extends to just the Southern states. Kentucky really wants to lay exclusive claim to it, what with the majority of bourbon brands based there.

      • Jens Knutson says:

        Right; just calling something "whiskey" means it could be made from many different of things. It's not very descriptive, which is why I asked!

  4. Funneldust Aardvarkomatic says:

    I want to order DNA lounge liquor bit live out of state. Is there something I can do?

    • jwz says:

      I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to mail it to you.

      If anyone knows different, let me know!

      • margaret says:

        same question but in-state.

      • fantasai says:

        Send a message to username michael at domain wineryship.com. They're here in SF; mostly ship wine, but might be able to do liquor as well.

      • Sean C says:

        You can't ship alcohol via USPS because it's considered a hazardous substance for shipment, NOT because of legal issues regarding alcohol. USPS refuses other substances that contain even trivial quantities of alcohol, such as perfume.

        There is, of course, a completely chaotic matrix of laws surrounding state-to-state shipment of booze (https://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/direct-shipment-of-alcohol-state-statutes.aspx) but in practicality, I have no idea who would be able to enforce these laws - but this assumes you are honest and above board with what you declare on the shipping label. If the bottle breaks during shipment, and you have not declared it as alcohol, I do not know what would result.

        At a minimum, the following states can receive spirits definitively from overseas, so likely from CA as well (I've ordered whisky from the UK many times, and it has arrived safe and secure via DHL or FedEx, all above board and declared, even passing US customs):

        Alaska (Anchorage only); California; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Idaho; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Nebraska; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Wyoming

        So my guess is CA-to any of these states would not be a problem.

      • Drew says:

        Could you just sell the labels?

  5. Michael says:

    Well, for what it’s worth from someone north of the border, I really like the label design.

    If / when I am in SF next I’ll def. try to stop by.

  6. Thirsty Merc says:

    Heya JWZ. I'm wanting to buy some DNA branded scotch to be shipped to Australia. Please drop me a line on the not-fake email address.

    Thanks :-)

    • Big says:

      If there’s a way to do this, and shipping an extra couple of bottles on one order is less expense/hassle than shipping two seperate orders, I’d see if I can work out a way to split shipping with Thirsty Merchant. A(also a not-fake email address.

      @Thirsty Merc, if this is not a thing, I can probably get a bottle muled over here by my sister for you, when international travel becomes a thing again...

      • Thirsty Merc says:

        This could be doable. I'm building a bit of a syndicate - I want at least two of the scotch, could be convinced to get the whole set).

        I have a mate who's also followed this bog since the 90's (I'm pretty sure that's right). He's in for two of the scotch. Main issue is distribution. Central Queensland + Sydney. A fair guess would be that @Big is possibly at a third location :-)

    • Chris says:

      Same for shipping to NL :)

  7. Michael Kohne says:

    I don't suppose your license allows you to ship whiskey to other states does it? I'm not in the area, but a DNA Lounge bottle of Whiskey would be cool.

  8. Martin Lucina says:

    > Speaking of delivery, a few weeks ago San Francisco ordered the various delivery services to reduce their fees from their criminally extortionate 30% to a still-extortionate 15%, and I predicted that they'd find some loophole or some other way of keeping those fees high. But, to their credit, they all seem to be complying with the 15% cap. Or, if they aren't, they've hidden it in a way we haven't spotted yet.

    I'm curious as to how this extortionate business model came about? Here (Slovakia, post-communist Eastern Europe) restaurants either hire their own drivers, or the delivery services charge the cost of delivery back to the customer, i.e. add it to the cost of the order up front.

    • jwz says:

      There used to be services that simply did deliveries. You'd take an order, then call them to come pick it up and deliver it. The charge was a flat rate or based on distance. Then the investors realized that they could make more money by controlling the menu and ordering process:

      • Do the credit card transaction and charge a service fee;
      • Take a percentage of the order total, instead of a delivery fee based on the service actually provided (e.g., miles driven);
      • Force the restaurant to cover all of those fees rather than passing along the delivery fee to the customer, as had been traditional;
      • Control what ads are shown during the ordering process;
      • And probably most importantly: track customers and sell their data.

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