Being sucked into the Amy’s Baking Company vortex

My intention was to tuck the kids into bed and immediately get to work on a post about Dave Bing’s announcement that he wouldn’t seek a second term as Mayor of Detroit. Unfortunately, though, that’s not what happened. Instead of getting right to work, I decided to dip my toe into the sea of crazy that is Amy’s Baking Company. “I’ll just take a few minutes to see what all the fuss is about,” I thought. Now, four hours later, I find myself treading water in the middle of said sea, completely disoriented, with no land in sight, trying to figure out just how it was that I got here.

For those fortunate few who have yet to make the acquaintance of Scottsdale, Arizona restaurant owners Amy “You people are all shit” and Samy “Get out” Bouzaglo, here’s the episode of chef Gordon Ramsay’s reality series Kitchen Nightmares that brought the irate, delusional and paranoid couple to the forefront of America’s collective consciousness.

For what it’s worth, I don’t generally watch so-called “reality” television, as I don’t believe that those suffering from serious personality disorders should be manipulated and exploited for our entertainment. For some reason, though, I can’t seem to pull away from this. I keep telling myself that, fro the good of my soul, I need to move on to something better, but yet I continue to sit here, following links, mouth agape, reading up on the stealing of tips, the selling of packaged food items as homemade, and the history of fraud. From Amy’s epic social media melt-down that followed the show’s airing earlier this week, to the inevitable claims on behalf of the Bouzaglos that it had been the work of hackers, the story just doesn’t seem to want to quit… offering one lesson after another on how not to run a business in today’s highly-connected world. Today, a former Amy’s Baking Company waitress even took to Reddit, answering questions. And theCrazy Amymemes, as you might expect, have begun to propagate across the internet like mad. I want desperately to sleep, but I can’t make myself log out. Maybe it’s that I dream of opening a restaurant of my own one day, and fear that I might meet a similar fate, but I find all of this incredibly fascinating, and don’t want to miss a single detail… I just hope the internet lynch mob, which has been gathering on Reddit the past few days, knows when to let up. I’d hate to see this end in tragedy, and, as of right now, I’d say that’s a distinct possibility.

I think it’s also worth noting that I’m not taking any pleasure in the destruction of this couple, even though, on the surface, it would appear as though they’re deserving of everything that’s happening. For reasons unknown to me, I just enjoy watching how businesses operate. Other folks like watching football. I like watching entrepreneurs navigate difficult situations. It’s weird, I know. I just find it fascinating. And this a goldmine.

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  1. anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Every business owner should see this. It’s better than an MBA.

  2. Dennis
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Blogging is no different than reality television. Some people take their clothes off in a hot tub on television. Others film themselves painting Patrick Elkins’ fingernails. I am grateful, however, that we have been able to manipulate and exploit your personality disorders for our entertainment. I hope both you and Snooki never stop.

  3. Julia Roberts
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Luckily I had a video camera pointed at me when I was read Dennis’s comment.

  4. Edward
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The difference is that Snooki and company have prostituted themselves to producers who encourage them to engage in self-destructive behavior in order to attract ratings, with no consideration of the long term negative ramifications. In Mark’s case, he does the editing, and he knows how to present things in such a way as not to detract from his credibility. It’s one thing to be funny. It’s quite another to sell your soul and destroy your life for a shot at fleeting fame. (Did you read about the Teen Mom star transitioning to porn?) You’re right, though, there are similarities between blogging and reality television. That can’t be denied.

  5. Meta
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    From the Reddit AMA with ABC server Katy Cipriano:

    katycipriano[S] 2321 points 18 hours ago: “the episode was shot in december so quite a while ago and none of amy or samy’s actions were staged. people may have purposely sent back their food or falsely complained for a chance to be on tv, but that’s about it. everything else was 100% real.”

  6. double anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    From an online review of the restaurant:

    “Amy’s Baking Company is like a strange vortex of hateful negativity and incompetence that somehow squeezed itself through a sh1t-stained wormhole connecting our world to Restaurant Hell.

    As a diner, you can replicate this experience at less cost by hiring someone to loudly yell obscenities like a tourettes sufferer while you eat dirt and birdsh1t cake.”

  7. double anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    It’s also been suggested that the company is a money laundering operation.

  8. Kim Trent
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    This all started in 2010 when Yelp blew up with bad reviews for Amy’s Baking Company. Amy responded angrily, and it made the local television news.

    From what I’ve read, they reached out to Ramsay thinking that he’d come to their restaurant and prove their haters wrong. (They must have never seen the show.)

    It’s really sad. They’re completely delusional.

  9. Sparklemotion
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    However, now we all know the name of a restaurant in Phoenix. Remember, no publicity is bad publicity.

  10. Elliott
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    It worked for the Soup Nazi in NY, after Seinfeld. People wanted to go just to hear him yell. Maybe this will be similar.

  11. anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    All your tip belong to us.

  12. Elf
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Im sure that they are being approached about distributing their products and franchising their restaurant. I doubt the people approaching them are legitimate and well intentioned, but I know there’s interest in ABC as a result of this.

  13. TeacherPatti
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    We watched this last night…total entertainment for Boyfriend Ken & me (and the cat who happened to wander downstairs to watch with us). My favorite by far was the customer who Samy was yelling at and practically hitting…he was all, “Are you fucking kidding me right now?” and cool as hell. I also loved when Samy started screaming that he was the gangster to Chef Ramsey.

    I hope that the servers all got awesome new jobs because of this publicity.

  14. deleuzean
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I just had a meeting at work and, I kid you not, we are likely going to use this Kitchen Nightmares episode as a kind of customer service “How Not To Do It” training video.

    There are so many wrong things that are so perfectly and unambiguously illustrated by the behavior of these two. Sometimes people do some of the things that Amy and Samy do, but they do it to a less intense extent which may then be easier to defend.

    The extreme examples that this show presents should be great “how could someone handle that differently” discussion-starters. Best part is, because Ramsay quit on them, there is no closure – no “this is the right way to fix it.” It’s deliciously open-ended.

  15. karen
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    an amy’s baking company would be a welcome addition to water street.

  16. Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Holy shit, you guys…read their Yelp reviews. But go back to the earlier ones. Bonus points when you find the reference to the “camel toe mafia” pussies.

  17. K2
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes these internet stories really do take a turn toward the dark.

  18. Toadstool
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    We don’t need Amy. We have Karen Maurer.

  19. Meta
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    They’re reopening Tuesday with a cyber-bullying fundraiser.

    and Online Relations and closed down their Scottsdale eatery. But like an ironic phoenix rising from the ashes, it will reopen on May 21 for a “Grand Re-Opening,” according to a press release posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

    A portion of the proceeds will go to an unnamed charity “organized to bring awareness to cyber bullying,” a not-so-subtle reference to Amy’s assertion that the restaurant has been unfairly singled out on the internet.

    “We are very upset by what has taken place, apologize about the acrimony that has ensued but now must fight back to save our business,” Samy Bouzaglo said in the release. “We hope and believe much good can result from what has transpired. We ask the public to keep an open mind as we begin to tell our side of the story.”

    According to a Twitter page associated with Jason Rose, a principle at Rose + Moser + Allyn Public and Online Relations, the grand reopening event has already sold out.

    Read more:

  20. Posted May 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I find Kitchen Nightmares to be very informative. Shows exactly what not to do. I also think that Gordon Ramsay may actually be a hero of the people. Watching several episodes, he basically goes into a business and tells the owner that they’re assholes or stupid or should have never opened a business in the first place.

  21. eff
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    stop trying to play the “I ust glanced and now I can’t stop gawking” card. makes you come off as an idiot. you’re just as interested to see these people come falling down just as much as everyone else. get off your high horse. moron.

  22. Brainless
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, get of your high horse, Moroun.

  23. Arthur
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Mark just found it funny because he got high with a horse?

  24. Horse
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the righteous bud and the friendship, Mr. Maynard.

  25. spit roast
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Ramsey News:

    U.K. tabloid Sunday Sport recently introduced the world to Percy Foster, a 35-year-old dwarf porn star whose career was just beginning to catch fire. It was all because an observant production assistant on the set of Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It’s Up Your Arse We Go had noticed how much Foster looked like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. But just as Foster was set to join the rarefied ranks of celebrity lookalike dwarf porn stars, tragedy struck: The body of the 3′ 6″ performer has been discovered in a badger’s den, partially eaten.

    According to Sunday Sport’s follow-up account, Foster was found “deep in an underground chamber by Ministry of Agriculture experts ahead of a planned badger-gassing programme near Tregaron, west Wales.” They write that “expert CSI teams had to use fingertip technology to remove his body from the six-foot-deep burrow.” (I have no idea what fingertip technology is, but I imagine it’s akin to one of those claw cranes you find in arcades and drugstores.)

    Officials have not yet ruled out suicide, and adult film producer Dexter Yamunkeh’s comments — in which he intimates that Foster may have cracked under the pressures of being the world’s leading Gordon Ramsay-lookalike-sex-dwarf — certainly don’t invalidate the possibility:

    “Percy was a little guy with big problems. He was doing well but he was under pressure, 24/7, like everyone in this goddamned business.”

  26. Robert Davis
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Ummm, you really don’t believe this complete BS do you?

  27. anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Tell us the truth, Robert. Was the celebrity lookalike dwarf porn star really John Candy? Did you measure his ear lobe?

  28. Robert Davis
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    anonymous, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

  29. Robert Davis
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Science doesn’t lie, People do.

  30. anonymous
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    If nothing is real, and all the world’s events are just being acted out by actris playing parts, how di you know it’s not all just in your head? How do you know that all of this isn’t a dream taking place in the head of a cosmonaut?

  31. Robert Davis
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    anonymous, refer to my first post to you, a couple before this.

    Good Luck.

  32. camion sati
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    There’s also Sava! Italiano in Texas.

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