Bargain Debasement
I was very disappointed in Amy Silverman's article about Last Chance ("Possessed!" February 13). As the manager of the store, I want to assure every single one of our customers that the views presented in this article by one of our employees regarding our customers are not the views of our company and are totally unacceptable. In fact, they could not be further from the truth.

Last Chance is a division of Nordstrom, and its employees are Nordstrom employees and are expected to offer the same level of customer service that we provide in our full-line stores. There are no exceptions. Nordstrom is committed to providing a bias-free, professional work environment in which every employee and customer is treated with respect.

As a result of the statements made by this employee, we have begun a full investigation into the source of these comments. There is absolutely no place on our sales team for people with views so vastly different from the values of our company; they simply are not the kind of people that we want as employees. All employees are provided sensitivity and diversity training on an ongoing basis. We have arranged for all of our current employees to undergo such training again and to review the company's policies against any form of discrimination.

Finally, Silverman's claims that some Last Chance merchandise is not in salable condition are completely without merit. I can assure our customers that Last Chance carefully screens every piece of merchandise before it is sent to the sales floor. All shoes are refurbished, sanitized and deodorized. All apparel and accessories are inspected and only the highest-quality merchandise is presented on the sales floor.

Jackie Schell, store manager
Last Chance

Shell Shock
While I respect Howard Seftel's dislike of our atmosphere and employee uniforms at Joe's Crab Shack, there are several things that he reports that are incorrect ("Dungeness & Flagons," February 13).

Seftel states that "televisions are blaring everywhere." While we do have several TVs in the front of the restaurant, it is our strict policy never to turn on the volume. We have even gone so far as to disconnect the volume control on some TVs that are within reach of our guests so that the TVs are not inadvertently turned up.

It is stated that the coconut shrimp "sported a right-out-of-the-freezer-bag flair." Our coconut shrimp are hand-rolled in fresh coconut flake daily. Seftel may not have liked the taste; however, it was not because it was frozen product.

That "desserts come from Landry's" is also incorrect. Our desserts are made for Joe's Crab Shack by a very high-quality company in Texas. "Joe's Crab Shack doesn't bother with bread" is also not true. We serve fresh bread upon request that is baked for us daily by a local bakery.

Finally, Seftel states that our staff "inflicts a Happy Birthday punishment" on guests who come in on their birthday. We get a lot of people who enjoy the birthday festivities, and come here with large groups so they can have lots of fun.

I don't disagree that we are a large company and give tremendous value to our guests; however, I just want to make sure New Times' readers get all the facts correctly.

Tony Tahmosh, general manager
Joe's Crab Shack

Howard Seftel responds: Let's look at the five points Mr. Tahmosh makes:
1. Okay, mea culpa; the televisions aren't blaring. I should have realized they'd have to be louder than a Boeing 747 at takeoff to be heard over the din here. But I have a question: Exactly why does a restaurant need televisions playing with the sound off?

2. Yes, the lackluster coconut shrimp did sport right-out-of-the-freezer flair, even if they were made up fresh.

3. I got the (mis)information that desserts came from Landry's from obliging staff.

4. Mr. Tahmosh says, "We serve bread upon request." I have never heard of an on-request bread policy. All I know is nobody ever brought me bread, or suggested I could have some if I wanted.

5. Mr. Tahmosh doesn't like my assessment that the staff "inflicts a Happy Birthday punishment" on guests who come here to celebrate. He says the folks who come to Joe's Crab Shack enjoy it. I don't doubt it for a minute.

Parental Guidance Suggested
New Times was right to be outraged by the antics of Mel McDonald and his police co-conspirators in the covering up of the sexual molestation of two children ("Mel's Angels," Paul Rubin, January 30). But what I found more disturbing was the reaction of their mother to these events. First of all, who lets the teenager who molested her 3-year-old daughter [have access to] her 10-year-old son two years later? Is this mother guilty of a blatant disregard for her children, or just plain stupidity?

Another thing I found frightening: When her son wanted to go to the police in a failed attempt to gain justice, the mother told police that she didn't believe an investigation was necessary! Let's face it, in the fight to protect our children from harm, we as parents are on the front line. We need to recognize that children have rights. If we don't fight for them, who will?

Cheryl Zarvos

Pupil Haze
As a public educator, I take exception to most of Howard Stansfield's article "Enslaved by the Bell" (January 30). And most of what I take exception to is not what Janet Martin's stance is, but the "erudite crap" espoused by others in the article, who usually spend very little time, if any, in the public classroom.

I don't believe it is my responsibility to see that Johnny ate breakfast, or gets new glasses. Years ago, Johnny just had to do without, and, curiously enough, most parents took responsibility for their children's needs!

And no, David C. Berliner, I do not want "empowered, uncorrected kids" who possibly account for 2 percent of the student population, by the way. I do want "obedient kids" who can sit still for five minutes so some learning can take place. Most of us "obedient kids" from past generations have turned out well. About 40 percent of the students I see these days are nasty, undisciplined and uncooperative. The administrators are often not much help, either, because there is always an excuse why Johnny can't obey the rules, or even pretend like he can.

I've been in public education for 13 years, therefore I am thankful beyond measure that my five nieces and nephews are not or will not be attending public schools. Three sets of parents have the determination and respect for "old-fashioned" values to have them in private "Christian" schools.

My choice this year is to leave public education. Especially as more and more responsibilities and restrictions are being foisted upon teachers. Unless the public education system returns to the basics, and, most important, the morals and principles of years past, I don't see a very bright future for this country.

Brenda Savage


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