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Robert Rauch, who owns two hotels in the Del Mar area and teaches hospitality at San Diego State, says, “It is probably pervasive in full-service hotels, downtown in particular, and possibly at the resorts.” He doesn’t think the practice is necessarily illegal — “not different from a server who gets a cash tip.” He says, “The problem is that when a guest goes to a concierge, he should feel comfortable he is getting objective recommendations. So I do not allow my team members to recommend any business based on a commission. I can monitor it generally, but I can’t monitor every possible transaction.”

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Comments

Jane Belanger Dec. 21, 2008 @ 12:23 p.m.

I've always suspected this was the case.

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Don Bauder Dec. 21, 2008 @ 10:01 p.m.

Response to post #1: It appears to be worse than most suspected. Best, Don Bauder

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Barbarella Fokos Dec. 22, 2008 @ 6:23 a.m.

This is one of the reasons that, when I travel, I make it a point to ask random locals, and not concierges, for advice on where to dine.

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Don Bauder Dec. 22, 2008 @ 7:19 a.m.

Response to post #3: You know more about this than I do, but probably the best thing to do would be to go online and find objective comments from gourmands about restaurants in any given city. If you're paying $200 a night for a hotel, why eat mediocre food? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 22, 2008 @ 9:50 a.m.

Response to post #5: The Internet has completely changed the world. Of course, not everything you read on the Internet is reliable, either. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 22, 2008 @ 9:54 a.m.

Response to post #6: When you say "hairbrained syncophants," I assume you mean "harebrained sycophants." The word "punk-bitch" may be spelled correctly, but I confess I have never heard it before. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 22, 2008 @ 9:55 a.m.

Response to post #7: Yes, "Christmas" is a better spelling, but you could have always spelled it "Xmas." Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams Dec. 22, 2008 @ 11:13 a.m.

Christmas? Xmas? A cheap adaptation of the real thing:

Saturnalia!

"In Roman times, Bacchus, the god of wine, became the lord of these festivals. During the Bacchanalian festivals the everyday rules were turned topsy-turvy. The masters waited on the servants. All sexual prohibitions were lifted. It was a time of true good will towards all men. Erotic dances were performed with a large erect phallus being carried around in the dancing processionals."

http://www.carnaval.com/saturnalia/

I'm skipping Xmas this year...but anyone who wants to attend my traditional Saturnalia party, just drop me a note!

Io Saturnalia everyone!

Fred "Petronius" Williams

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Don Bauder Dec. 22, 2008 @ 2:26 p.m.

Response to post #11: Yes, Christmas originated as a pagan holiday. Our Humanist group had a party last night, and reminded ourselves that we launched this thing. We secular humanists are the enemies of humanity, according to the fundamentalists. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 22, 2008 @ 10:28 p.m.

someone PLEASE get johnny a breath mint so his family does not suffer this Cristmas.

By fumber 9:35 a.m., Dec 22, 2008 > Report it

"Cristmas".....classic!

Hey FUmbler, is Mommy giving you any presents this year?????

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JulieParrots Dec. 23, 2008 @ 12:39 a.m.

In response to post #11. WOW! Sounds like that "Saturnalia party" you speak of is straight outta "Caligula" the movie. Damn!! You excite me Fred "Petronius" Williams. :)

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 6:59 a.m.

Response to post #13: "Santorum-alia?" Please explain. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 7:01 a.m.

Response to post #14: Does anybody have any ideas for gifts for Fumber? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 7:02 a.m.

Response to post #15: Fred is one of our more exciting posters. Call him a poster boy. Best, Don Bauder

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Barbarella Fokos Dec. 23, 2008 @ 7:09 a.m.

Response to post #16: santorum is a dirty word, named after Rick Santorum as a response to his inanity: http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 9:25 a.m.

Response to post #19: I thought it might be named after Rick Santorum, but I was afraid to say it. Best, Don Bauder

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MsGrant Dec. 23, 2008 @ 9:40 a.m.

How about the Tourette Chia Pet? Or the Crapper? Crap on, crap off. Although these may be a tad too sophisticated for Fumbler, perhaps we can all chip in and provide a tutor as well. A puppy would be nice, but please provide the pork chop to tie around Fumbler's neck.

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 11:26 a.m.

Response to post #21: We need more great ideas from the likes of you. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 23, 2008 @ 11:35 a.m.

How about the Tourette Chia Pet? Or the Crapper? Crap on, crap off. Although these may be a tad too sophisticated for Fumbler, perhaps we can all chip in and provide a tutor as well.

You're killing me...!

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Don Bauder Dec. 23, 2008 @ 3:31 p.m.

Response to post #23: Nobody could kill you, Johnny. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 24, 2008 @ 7:54 p.m.

Response to post #25: We enjoy your writing, Fumber. Happy holidays to you, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Joe Poutous Dec. 29, 2008 @ 9:32 a.m.

From crooked concierges to an orgy in 11 comments - the Reader never disappoints.

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Don Bauder Dec. 29, 2008 @ 4:01 p.m.

Response to post #27: There are more crooks than there are orgies. But we will keep both coming. Best, Don Bauder

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Roberticus Dec. 31, 2008 @ 11:04 a.m.

Back to the article, that started this insult slingfest. I've worked in a number of restaurants in the Gaslamp over the years and some of the restaurants have bought cars for concierges, I've heard that some pick-up 'pay checks', and that they are on the 'pay roll' of these places. The hilarious thing is that some of the restaurants I mention are mediocre at best. They just have the ability to close down and 'sell out' at a moments notice, because no local would want to go there. The concierges 'open hand' behavior causes small and big operations, like the wonderful Cohn Group, and Lou and Mickey's too often put a cap on what a server makes in tips during a 'buy out'. Service should be based on the tip generated by the event, not some nebulous 'cap' the corporation comes up with so they can reap all the rest of the service tip as profit. There are small operators that struggle under the weight of this tax on their restaurants. It drives up prices for everyone. There are 'free dessert for two' cards that go out with the concierges initials on them, so they can have their kickback recorded properly. Do you think these people are paying taxes on this money? They make more than the service professional(after tip-out), in some 10% cases, and corrupt the natural selection process of location, reputation, atmosphere, cuisine and curb appeal. Restaurants in Hillcrest, La Jolla and other beach communities are involved as well, the practice is 'growing'.

CORNELL UNIVERSITY LAW UNIVERSITY website has this to say about kickbacks,

"kickbacks: an overview A "kickback" is a term used to refer to a misappropriation of funds that enriches a person of power or influence who uses the power or influence to make a different individual, organization, or company richer. Often, kickbacks result from a corrupt bidding scheme. Through corrupt bidding, the official can award the contract to a company, even though the company did not place the lowest bid. The company makes profit by having been awarded the bid and getting to perform the contract. In exchange for this corrupt practice, the company pays the official a portion of the profits. This portion is the “kickback.” Such a practice falls within a sphere practices often referred to as “anti-competitive practices.” Organized crime has been traced to using kickbacks for many years. Some also consider kickbacks to be a type of bribery.

See White-collar crime."

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Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2009 @ 8:17 a.m.

Response to post #29: "Dessert for Two" passes might be acceptable on the argument that concierges should be familiar with restaurants' food. Certainly, direct pay or bribery with an automobile are not. Best, Don Bauder

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