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Bay Cities Deli- bad attitude of the managmt

Over all, I have to say I really enjoy the good ingredients they have at Bay Cities despite the long lines and cramped parking. When I crave a good sandwich or need some ingredients for making tiramisu, that's where I head.

I recently had a bad experience there though. I bought some palmetto cookies and then took them back because they tasted very stale. The manager, who looks and acts like Mike from Sopranos (the deceased right hand man of Uncle Junior way back in early seasons) treated me like I was nuts and said that they were not stale. In fact, he claimed they were just freshly stocked. I showed him the date on the back being 1/07, hence past the recommended expiration date. He then claimed this was the production date, eventhough there were words "best before" above the date. He clearly was not interested in acknowledging the problem, so I left.

I've noticed that some of the employees at Bay Cities have an attitude like they know business won't suffer even if they don't provide examplar customer service. And now, I'm thinking maybe it's because they've adopted the attitude of their manager. However, despite the bad attitude of the management, I still go there because there really isn't another one like it close by. So I went back a few days ago. Well, would you believe it, I just picked up some palmettos that have the date of 1/08. Now,that can't be the production date, can it Mikey, seeing how it's still 2007!!!

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  1. Agreed! And why give someone a hard time for returning a box of cookies?

    1. Food should not be approached like a used car. No respect for the customer. I hate that.

      1. Totally agree with you! Can't stand places that take their customers for granted.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Liquid Sky

          I'm utterly and completely with you guys. I refuse to put up with bad service and attitudes. Any entity that can't respect my business won't get it, end of story -- regardless of how great their product is. And yes, I've had some painful foodie divorces as a result.

        2. You recieved obnoxious treatment from the manager and this lousy service has spread to other staff. Yet you still patronize the place. No sympathy from me. Find another deli!!

          8 Replies
          1. re: joefensterblau

            I wish it were that easy - great Italian delis/markets in the Westside are as rare as unicorns, and their more-favored sandwiches are not easily duplicated... maybe it's time for a letter or a phone call. I don't think "Mikey" owns the place - if that's the case, an attitude adjustment might be in order. If that doesn't work, then it's time for your tough love approach...

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Try Victor's Jr on Washington Blvd in Culver City. It's not Bay Cities, but it's got good subs and the staff are really nice. It's just a sub and NY style pizza place though -- no foodstuffs. For that you could go to Surfas or Sorrento; lots of other places to get what Bay Cities has, I think.

              1. re: NAspy

                Hey, there we go - always looking for more sandwich shops - good ones... what's the nearest cross-street? Thanks, NAspy!

                  1. re: tony michaels

                    I shouldn't take it for granted that so many places have a website... Thanks again, Tony...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      My office orders lunch from Victor Jr's pretty often. LOVE their chicken parmesan pizza and their meatball sandwiches.

                1. re: NAspy

                  I agree with going elsewhere like surfas or my favorite neigborhood place La Bottega Marina. This place is on Santa monica Blvd/Purdue next to Il Grano, in fact, I believe it is the same owner. Their sandwich are different then bay cities, they use a dense roll type bread and don't have an attitude.

              2. re: joefensterblau

                there are really only two italien delis on the westside: bay cities and sorrento.
                it would be very questionable if the stuff at sorrento was any better.
                the drive time between the two delis, depending on traffic, could range between 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (believe me this happened to me once!).
                it isn't so easy to find another italien deli that is reasonably close.

              3. I will not return to Bay Ciries for two reasons. I really did not like that stuff (relish?) they put on the sandwich.. i know I can ask that they not do it but why go to a place when there are so many others that make just as good of a sandwich without having to remember to ask that they not ruin it? Second, as I stood in line (the last two times) I looked real close and noticed that they have certain customers that they serve without having to wait in the line. That tells me I am second class and that ruins my sandwich almost as much as that crap they put in the sandwich each time I forgot to ask them not to.

                8 Replies
                1. re: JeetJet

                  Are you sure those other customers (that got served without waiting in line) didn't fax or call in their orders?

                  I liked this place the one time I went. I went with someone who was familiar with it and we placed our orders online. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the service, but it seems like other people have had problems.

                  1. re: alliebear

                    Actually, I have seen a few people walk in recently and speak to SOME of the sandwich makers in Spanish and get instant service...not a fax order, they ordered right there in Spanish. But I have no idea of all the details of what was going on and I don't go to Bay Cities expecting quick service so it didn't really bother me.

                    1. re: igj

                      It would bother me, you're standing in line waiting meanwhile somebody walks in doesn't have to waste their time waiting and you do....

                      Not for me.

                  2. re: JeetJet

                    You have to ask for "the works" to get the pepper concoction (which I think is one of the best parts of the sandwich), so you just need to remember not to ask for it unless you want it. The second part (preferential treatment) is indefensible, but I've been going for a while and never seen it.

                    1. re: JeetJet

                      Ditto on Mr Shoop. They get alot of fax orders because of the lines and because alot of their business is the local business lunch crowds. Not to say that what you expressed couldn't happen but that's been my experience as well. Some fax orders will be 10-20 items, and these folks come in pretty regularly - thus the appearance of preferential treatment.

                      Like the board and menu states, you need to order that stuff at an extra cost to ruin your otherwise great sandwich. I order it in spite of the fact that I feel they should just include it in the price... oh well...

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        I go at least once a week, and have for years -- never, ever, have I seen someone get bumped up in line. They also take email orders, by the way.

                        That cookie story is kind of unbelievable - why would the manager bother to argue? Over stale cookies?! Easier to just replace them! If it happened to me, I wouldn't go back, either.

                        1. re: yogachik

                          I never asked for the stuff they put on them. It came on the sandwich. I know what I saw -- two times. Eye contact, nod, wisper to another sandwich maker, wisper to new customer, presto -- sandwich made. Nuff said.

                          1. re: JeetJet

                            I believe you. I don't think there is anything special about that place...

                    2. I love Bay Cities, what can I say. But, I wouldn't have left there without a refund. That's crazy! So you left with your stale palmettos? Then went back?

                      Can you please do me a favor? Can you call the manager and tell him the whole production date thing, and get store credit for the stale palmettos? I won't be able to sleep at night. You should also print up this thread and take it in the store with you.

                      You're a lot classier than I am. I would have told him where to stick those stale palmettos. Then I would have dropped them on the floor and stomped all over them.

                      1. I've heard third hand that the management is very unhappy with "leakage". It seems that many, or too many anyway, folks indulge in free snacks from the shelves while they wait in those ludicrously long lunchtime lines. I'm in no way defending Mikey's actions but maybe this gives some insight into the attitude issue.

                        Things seemed different a few years ago, before the family sold out. The employees seemed to smile a lot back then but now they look like a pack of grumps. Though I too have never seen them give preferential treatment at the counters. They appear very strict about that as they should be.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: broncosaurus

                          I paid my first visit last Thursday around 3pm.The deli guys were helpful and charming.The checker was nice too. I enjoyed what I bought, the choices were overwhelming and loved the cookware too. I usually am in the area only on Mondays so it's not often an option!

                        2. I had a bad experience at Bay Cities about a year or so ago with that same manager. I bought a bottle of olive oil that wasn't good, it was stale or something. Anyway I took it back to the store, talked with "Mike" to see if we could work something out, whether store credit, refund even a partial store credit or partial refund--nothing, not only would he not do anything but he was a real jerk about it. I had my receipt mind you. Regardless the whole experience really turned me off to Bay Cities. Now Whole Foods carrys the same olive oil, so I buy it there.

                          I did go back recently and the staff was actually decent from what I remember, but strangely enough I've found other places that carry what I want/need and their products just don't interest me anymore. i.e. cheese, I'd rather go to the cheese store in Silver Lake or B.H. or Whole Foods; bread: breadbar, pain de quadian(sp)
                          ice cream: boule, gelato place in silver lake.

                          Once you lose a customer it's hard to get them back--I used to spend $80 to $100 per visit when I'd go to Bay Cities, not anymore.

                          1. I too, once purchased their cookies and found them EXTREMELY stale. Didn't bother taking them back - should have.. I think "Mikey" is a close relative of the owner as I heard him bark at someone who was complaining and they said they knew the owner. He became agitated and proclaimed " I KNOW THE OWNER!. HE'S MY UNCLE!" The guy always seems very stressed when I'm in there. While I'm kvetching... who is that girl that manages the hot deli dept? Someone tell her to take a happy pill. While it is a pain to park and shop there, I go back. It helps to meditate before I do though...

                            1. I'm too tired to relate my own bad experience at Bay Cities, but your experience does not surprise me.

                              I actually wrote a letter to the owner who took the time to write me back and apologize for the way the counterperson treated me.

                              I don't live near there anymore, but I would eat there again. The apology made up for the poor service and after that when I've gone it's been okay.

                              I like Rinaldi's better, though I don't live or work in El Segundo either.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: PaulF

                                Tell me, how did you find out the address of the owner, I cant imagine the rude manager would have told you, This would help the rest of us if we knew who to complain to. Thanks

                                1. re: malibumike

                                  I just wrote to the store address on Lincoln and wrote Owner on the envelope.

                                  I wrote something like:

                                  "I know how much business your store does, so you probably don't care about one disgruntled customer. But ... blah blah blah ... something happened and now I don't want to come in any more. It's my loss, because I like your food, but blah blah blah ..."

                                  And they wrote me back, told me the person who made my sandwich was wrong and that they would let the staff know ... blah blah blah ...

                                  What happened was I wanted a vegetarian sandwich and I asked them to put some eggplant on the sandwich, eggplant that they sell as a side. And I said I'd happily pay extra, but could they just put it on the sandwich for me. The counterperson told me that they wouldn't do it, I had to do it myself. I said if I do it myself, the sandwich would fall apart. And on and on ...

                                  Next time I went, it was no problem.


                                  Bay Cities is an interesting place. I like their sandwiches, but it's way too crowded to justify going their too often. And the parking lot is always full and the spaces are small and I drive a truck that hardly fits in them anyway.

                                  I used to prefer going to Werner's, now long gone unfortunately. Bay Cities had better sandwiches, but Werner's was less hassle.

                                  Let's be honest ... deli meat is not made in the deli. They use some brand ... like Boar's Head or whatever. You can get a sandwich with Boar's Head in Von's Pavillion sometimes. So, what makes Bay Cities better? The bread? Ok, I like their bread. But mustard, lettuce and tomato are mustard lettuce and tomato. Cheese is cheese. I like the peppers they put on, but I can buy some peppers. So, as much as I love sandwiches, I'm not sure I like waiting 45 mintues and walking a three blocks for one.

                              2. As horrible as it is that you had unacceptable service at Bay Cities, I am more concerned that neither my husband nor I can place Mike.... Was he an older guy? Just before Bobby? How did die? Cancer?

                                Back to Bay Cities, I think that the expansion and remodeling of the place also changed the vibe there. The worst addition is the new electronic sandwhich board. I can't figure out what possessed them to take away the old board and replace it with this useless glitzy nonsense. Another pet peeve of mine, now that you have me going, is the cheese samples. They are far from arm's reach. They are lined up at the back of the display case whre the salesperson is standing. She told me they are there on purpose so it makes it hard for people to get to. Gotta really want to try it, or else you can't have it. Sounds stingy and stupid.

                                1. i agree...that mike is a real stress-case. i've never had to interact w/ him, but i've seen him act like a jerk.
                                  but i must say, i do like how the deli guys always call me "gorgeous" and give me a wink when they give me my sandwich. hee hee. i think they do that to all the girls tho!

                                  1. I've tried to get a sandwich a couple of times but have always been driven away by the chaos and crowds. All this agita for Boar's Head cold cuts?

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                      It's that darn bread! It's so good! Cruncy on the outside, soft on the inside, but strong enough to hold all the sauces or condiments. I would totally just go in and get the bread, but why when you've waited forever for that parking spot and you need something on it anyways.

                                      1. re: bigtums

                                        Just as an FYI: you can get a roll in three sizes from the hot case. That hot case usually has a much shorter wait than the sandwich line - so if you want just the rolls and something hot, it is much faster.

                                        1. re: igj

                                          About the preferential treatment--I had a guy that would take me when he was done with his current order. I got him a few times in a row, was always gracious to him, and soon I started holding onto my number so that I would get him instead of the next available sandwich guy because once Larry left, he was the best sandwich maker and would make them huge and pick out the biggest rolls or tell me to wait a minute because fresh bread was coming out. Not long after, he'd take me when he was done with his current order because he knew I appreciated his sandwiches and didn't just see him as a laborer.
                                          So many people in Bay Cities have the rudest edge to their voice when they order. I wouldn't even want to make them a sandwich.
                                          Unfortunately, he's no longer working there but there are two guys there now that recognize my girlfriend and they take her order as soon as they're free.

                                          1. re: Wolfgang

                                            Bay Cities is by far the best Italian Deli I've tried out here. Everything from the Godmother, to the Mac and Cheese, to the chicken parm is fantastic. I live a couple of blocks away, and usually go on the weekends (when it is most crowded) and yes, it is a total headache. But worth it. And I'm from New York so I don't mind a little rudeness of service as long as the product is worth it. I don't think it's something you should take personally. It's just their attitude.

                                            1. re: Eczander

                                              my 2 cents... bread is good, not italian, but good. i have yet to find a nice semolina bread in LA but whatever. Being here from ny where i lived walking distance to 2 of the best italian delies on the east coast, this is my advice for how to get a real italian sandwich at bay cities...buy the bread, buy 1/4 lb or 1/2 lb of the proscuitto di parma, buy 1/4 lb of the imported mortadella, have them slice you some provolne, go home cut the bread and pile it on! if you need your condiments, get some hot peppers but use your own olive oil and balsamic. the less people handling my food the better. buono appetito!

                                              1. re: NYCnowLA

                                                Your sandwich idea is great. The only thing missing from it is Bay Cities' hot pepper salad. Would anyone know if it's sold in the deli, or even better, if it or a comparable is sold in jars?

                                              2. re: hazelnutty

                                                i hope this was not directed at me. my motto is kill them with kindness. i always have a smile and good attitude, especially when people are rude. on that note...have a wonderful night!

                                      2. you must have never tried to return a food item to Surfas, thety are worse than Bay Citties when it comes to pleasant service.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: eat_to_inxs

                                          There's at least one nice big sign posted at Surfas that says you'd better make sure you want what you're buying because SURFAS DOES NOT ACCEPT RETURNED FOOD ITEMS, PERIOD. If it's a pot or a pan or utensil, OK, just return it soon and bring a receipt. But as soon as any food item gets rung up, it's yours.

                                          Agree with that or not, it's their policy and they're upfront about it.