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Howdy, Gasmii! Happy St. Pat’s Day! If you live in Pennsylvania or are near a See’s Candy store, I know you’ll be enjoying an Irish Potato. These delightful confections – which, yes, look like little potatoes – originated in my hometown of Philly. See’s does a more upscale version with even more ingredients inside.
And now on to our ep. All through this ep, I kept yelling names at Tanya. If you saw the ep, I’m sure you can guess some of them. One is, aptly, associated with her dog day care/grooming business. Another was a bit shorter than that word. Fill in your own pejorative here:____________. Also, settle in, get some coffee or a drink or a delicious Irish Potato – this is going to be a huge cap since there was so much in this ep. And by “so much” I mean abuse and hate.
This week Tabs was at Barkingham Palace in West Hollywood. Based on what I saw last night, I’m going to email my friends – who like me live in WeHo – and tell them to never, ever patronize this place. Read on for why. The Palace is owned by Tanya and her wife, Tee. Tee is beyond enabling. I also noticed that when Tee and Tanya were together, and Tanya was speaking (which was most of the time), Tee often looked down at the floor or another spot. Based on what Tee said, that it’s difficult for the two women to work and live together, and that there are “conflicts”, I wonder if how Tanya treats Tee at home. Because Tee sure acts like someone who’s cowed.
Neither of these women ever admit – or even realize – that the sole problem with the Palace is Tanya. And that’s why Tabs couldn’t get them turned around, and why they will inevitably fail. And should, because Tanya is an abusive bully to everyone, despite saying the Palace is her “life”.
Tee says Tanya is “very direct”. So is Tabs, and yet people love her. Why? Because Tabs only speaks the truth, not fantasies fabricated in her mind, and does it with respect. Tanya — well, read on. The word “direct” is one of her favorites, by the way, and you’ll hear it a lot in the ep. Tanya is the kind of gal who hears a word or phrase, doesn’t understand it, but uses it repeatedly to seem – well, I think she thinks she’s clever, or using the right buzzwords, something like that. Instead, she looks like a fool.
Right here, I think there are too many people in this ep with names beginning with “T”. So I’m renaming Tanya “EAB” which stands, of course, for effing abusive b-tch.
Tabs calls the gals, and they come out to meet her.
Tee and EAB tell us that they mainly rescue dogs, and to finance that opened their business, reasoning, I suppose, how hard can grooming and providing day care for dogs be? Answer – very. Neither has any knowledge of grooming, or had any experience in this kind of business. So yet again, as we’ve seen in past weeks, we have an owner who knows nothing about the business they run. That’s never a good idea. Never.
Tee works as a personal trainer, and that’s their sole source of income; the gals don’t take a salary from the Palace. They think they need help with their employees, and that the employees take a “lackadaisical” approach. Brenda, a groomer, almost quit because she thinks EAB is – well, EAB. EAB says she tells staff things they don’t want to hear and they quit. Flee in terror, more like. Tee says she never loses her cool. Probably because you’re afraid of what EAB would do if you ever dared raise your voice. Tee has 70K of debt, and EAB 40-50K.
We see EAB refuse to give a prospective customer a tour of Barkingham. Probably because the dog play area reeks of pee. Tabs says she saw the play area unattended all day, with poo and pee on the floor. Tabs says she would never leave her dog there. We see Jason, a grooming assistant, just half-assedly “cleaning” after the dogs. EAB then cries – spoiler alert, she does this a lot because she is a victim, dontcha know – and says the staff doesn’t care.
Tabs points out that EAB was in her office doing her hair. EAB says multiple times – 3? 4? – that she was taking a break to eat granola. From the looks of it, that “break” lasted hours. Also, saying a lie a hundred times does not make it true.
We see EAB walking in the dog area, saying she “feels like an effing employee”. She then tells Tabs that she doesn’t think the employees heard and anyway, she wasn’t talking to them. Which in her twisted mind makes it all ok, I guess.
Then we see EAB spraying the heck out of the dogs with a water bottle. And I mean really spraying them over and over in a vicious manner. Those rescues she has at home must love her. Hope the rescue organization she works with sees this and cuts her off.
We go on to see Tee not being able to find info on a dog owner (whose dog was there for grooming) to which EAB says “you’re killing me” and then loudly weeps.
Tabs comments that it appears frustration is making EAB speak that way, to which EAB remarks that Tabs’ comment is “interesting”, with a sullen look on her face I totally want to slap off. Tabs immediately retorts that she won’t stand for it, doesn’t do passive-aggressive and only does aggressive-aggressive. So do I, and that’s one reason I love Tabs with a white-hot intensity.
The staff seem overjoyed to have Tabs there. Nik, one of the groomers, shares that Tabs will kick EAB’s ass. If only, Nik, if only . . . but even Tabs’ superpowers are not match for the Kryptonite that is EAB’s dark twisted soul.
Tabs says she sent in the clients who were there that morning, and brings them back in. Beth says she would have wanted a more defined tail on her dog. Tee says the dog was stressed out so they had to end early. Beth says her dog is very mellow, so she questions how that could be. Tabs asks the staff if the dogs pick up on the stress at the Palace, and they say yes.
Jennifer, another client, had come in earlier looking at the day care, and had a concern about a larger dog (we saw that in the Undercover shots). EAB’s response to that concern had been to say the larger dog had been at the Palace for years. EAB now interrupts Jennifer to say that she said the dog was 24 pounds, and their limit was 25. Which, you will notice, is not an answer to Jennifer’s concern. Jennifer is trying to speak, and EAB repeats the 24 pound remark at least twice. Tabs says she’s arguing with a customer. EAB says it’s hard to “stand there and nod”. Tabs says if you want the customer to come back, you listen. She shares that EAB is a “passive-aggressive kookoo bird”. Jennifer says she would absolutely not leave her dog at the Palace.
Commercial. Let’s talk training. I’ve owned 4 cats in my life, currently I have 2 male cats. And all my cats, notoriously not a species that takes direction well, have been very well-trained. What’s the key? It damn sure isn’t abuse. It’s setting boundaries, being consistent, being firm but fair. My cats know where they can jump up – or not. They know verbal and hand commands. I have occasionally used a water bottle, but only on their hindquarters (EAB uses it in the dogs’ faces and doesn’t care if it hurts their eyes) and only for a brief time to correct a behavior like chewing on electric cords. I find that a firm “no” or even an “excuse me?” works just as well. I also don’t overcontrol or ever get upset when they, say, throw up a hairball. They’re animals, they have no malicious intent even if they did just throw up in the middle of the bed. Back in my drinking days, I sometimes did that too. So really, glass houses.
EAB’s contention that only spraying the hell out of the dogs with water works, is just not correct. It’s also wrong. If I boarded a dog there, I would hate to know that it had been abused. Because that’s what it is, abuse, when done that way, that often. Despite her alleged “rescue” efforts, EAB has clearly never taken the time to get to know dogs, read a book about them, watch Dog Whisperer – nothing but act out of her arrogance and abuse.
Back to Inspection. EAB is slapping her hands and making movements that look like she’s tweaking. Somebody get her some methadone, STAT! Tabs says the carpet is gross and disgusting, that given their palace theme, the Palace smells “like the middle ages”. She asks why there are only 3 beds if they board 10-15 dogs a day. There’s no real answer to any of Tabs’ queries.
Staff meeting. Nik says they do the best they can, but the setup doesn’t allow them to be a clean as they could. Groomers must groom plus help customers, answer the phone, etc. EAB is mostly in her office. Tee pitches in when she’s at the Palace, but EAB is a “princess”. The groomers do not like the water bottle and say it’s made some dogs hate water, which makes it difficult to bathe and groom them. Tabs says the staff looks scared and miserable. The staff say EAB loses her temper and fires people.
Tabs asks the staff to write anonymous questions for the gals, and the gals will write some for the staff. Then, Tabs, the gals and the staff meet.
Question – EAB, why is it ok to be stressed and angry. How is that conducive to the zen environment we are trying to create? Remember this is an anonymous question. EAB turns to Nik and says “it’s not ok and I’ve apologized” in her usual arrogant, bullying tone. She shares that Nik is “disrespectful” but EAB “knows” Nik loves her. Oh right, like the way Polish folks “loved” Hitler after he invaded.
Question – why won’t Tee confront EAB? Tee says it’s not appropriate in front of the staff. Tabs says the staff are confused because the gals aren’t on the same page. There should be standards and consistency.
Question – how can the gals motivate the staff to be better. The staff say they want to be valued more. Tabs asks how they’re not valued, and the staff talk about EAB’s silent treatment, slamming things around, refusing to interact with them. And now I wonder, is EAB my mother in disguise? EAB lets her mood affect how she treats people.
EAB then interjects to Nik, “how i treat YOU, not ‘people’ “. All through this ep we see EAB repeatedly talk trash about and to Nik. What she has against Nik is anyone’s guess. Nik doesn’t say or do anything to deserve it – not that anyone would deserve abuse – and EAB is just vicious in her attacks on Nik. It’s really scary, because that is not normal behavior. Nik needs to get the hell out of there!
EAB then shares she’s working on her self-esteem (um, not the problem here) and that the staff matter to her. Tabs shares that EAB is a “manipulative cow, and this business is jacked”.
EAB says her directness comes off badly. Let’s stop here. Direct is not rude and abusive. Direct is to-the-point, based on facts and truth, and said with respect. Nothing EAB says is “direct”. It’s bullying and abusive. I know I’ve said that before, and I’m going to continue to say that throughout this recap, because those are really the only words that describe EAB’s egregious behavior. Well, there are other words, but Flipit won’t let me use them in a recap.
In past eps, many owners have done a turnaround after listening to the staff. Not EAB and Tee, though. They’re like Brian from 2 weeks ago. This does not bode well.
Tabs says that they are going to a place that models consistency and standards. Everyone goes to LA Dogworks, a successful grooming/dog day care facility. I’m hoping, as has happened in past episodes, the gals really listen to the owner and decide to make a change. Need I tell you that doesn’t happen?
Andrew, the owner of LA Dogworks, is going to meet with the gals while a senior groomer, Casey, will assess the groomers. EAB shares that she thinks Brenda will do a good job, but knows Nik won’t. Cow.
Andrew shows them the indoor dog park he has. They use an organic enzyme solution immediately after a dog pees or what have you. Tee likes what she sees.
We return to Andrew telling the gals LA Dogworks sells live animal care, so they must have the best possible customer service. Tabs asks if Andrew models that, and he says yes. He also remarks “we’re only as good as we smell”. Tee says little dogs mark more and that creates some kind of endless cycle. Andrew says, train them. I have now added Andrew to my list of people I TOTALLY LOVE. EAB says “can you imagine trying to train all the dogs to pee in one place?” Andrew says, yes. Again, TOTES LOVE THIS MAN.
Tabs then asks Andrew his opinion of water bottles. He says it’s unnecessary. Teach the dog its name and the behavior you’re requesting.
EAB has her usual hostile sullen face and then puts up one hand to “clarify” why she uses water. Andrew responds that tone of voice and body language are more effective than water. (As I mentioned, that’s what I mostly do with my cats. Cats, people!) He says water is a constant negative reinforcement.
EAB retorts that many times she just has to hold the bottle, not actually spray it. Andrew says “so you do have time to teach”.
EAB replies, I meant teach them to potty and Andrew says “it’s the same thing”. EAB says she doesn’t want to argue, in her usual hoity-toity manner and Tabs says “are you doing anything wrong in your business or is everything great?” EAB ignores that and says she’s just “explaining the situation”. She shares that she questions a lot of what Andrew said and doesn’t think her approach is wrong. At this point I threw something at my TV. Thankfully it was just a pencil. Wouldn’t want to miss the rest of this ep.
Tabs says let’s go see the groomers. EAB says that Brenda will be more accurate, and Nik won’t do as well or finish on time. Tabs says you expect low standards, and the gals say yes. Tabs asks Andrew if he’d keep an employee with such low expectations, and he says no.
Casey says Brenda did a great job. Nik shares that the gals think she’s a “f-ckup”. Casey praises Nik and says she finished on time, too. Tee shares that since they now know the groomers are doing a good job, it’s what they feel at the Palace that prevents them from doing it there. She has hope. Poor, deluded sap. EAB says something idiotic like it’s good that they’re good. Tabs still thinks the staff doesn’t feel valued or appreciated.
Tabs, Tee and EAB meet. Tabs says the staff are craving a leader who comes out of the office, rolls up her sleeves and pitches in. EAB retorts that she’s at a “supervisory level”, to which Tabs responds “so you sit on your ass”. EAB says she does more than the staff but they won’t admit that. Tabs says they do admit that, about Tee – and her staff says that about her. EAB says she’s not doing her nails and eating yogurt. What is it with this chick and food? Tabs says everyone says it, so it must be true. EAB responds “ok, perception is reality” in that dismissive tone she constantly adopts. She then shares that she’s a horrible boss and the business is ruined, and cries. (That’s the third time, and we’re not halfway through this ep).
IF ONLY that were an actual breakthrough. Mais no, mon cherie. Mais. No. EAB again says she’s “direct”. No, you’re not. You’re a – let me quote you, honey – “horrible boss”. Tabs says EAB has to change, and EAB says “no problem”. Right, because all sustained and major change happens just by saying it will in an offhand manner.
Tabs then meets separately with Tee. Tee says it’s very difficult to work with her spouse. I question why Tee hasn’t changed any of that, including EAB being her spouse. Because really? There are so many cool women out there who are actually loving and respectful. You live in WeHo! Just walk outside! Tee says she does address issues with EAB, just not in public. Yes, you shouldn’t do that in front of staff, so good job there. But it seems EAB doesn’t listen at all, even in private. Tabs asks Tee point blank if she thinks EAB can change and Tee says yes. Tabs points out EAB is the biggest problem in the business, and if she doesn’t change nothing will change. Tee says she’s willing to change and “knows” EAB is too. Um, no. EAB is willing to lie six ways from Sunday to get Tabs off her back and the makeover of the space done. That’s all.
The next morning everyone shows up at the Palace. EAB is wearing a sparkly tuxedo t-shirt that she’s likely owned since Robin Williams was Mork. They all work on tearing down the interior space, moving old furniture, stuff like that. Tee shares they have to let go of the past. No, Tee. They – EAB in particular – needs to remember, learn and change, not “let go” which is really saying “everyone forget what a B EAB is”. Tabs asks the staff if they are ready to make great experiences for dogs and humans alike, and they say yes. Tabs then tells Tee and EAB they are expected to be on the same page and lead by example. I just sigh because I know how this will end.
Commercial. So as I mentioned in the Minicap, the blasted LA Marathon is on this Sunday. It runs through/disrupts most of the city, for no legitimate reason any of us can discern. LA has track fields built for the Olympics, but we can’t use those. No, we have to run this horde of sweaty intruders through the entire freaking city, closing so many streets we’re all stuck in our houses. Nice. This year, it’s going to rain. I intend to go out with a bottle of Dawn, squirt some on the street, and watch the hilarity ensue as the bubbles and the slipperiness make everyone roll down the hill like some old-timey Keystone Kops movie.
Back to Reopening. The place looks great.
There is a new play area, new dog beds, puppy grass, and no water bottles, just a disinfectant. There are new tools for the groomers, and better lighting. Tabs makes her usual preopening speech, and we’re off. At one point Tabs talks to Nik about EAB. Nik says she hasn’t seen EAB in her office all day, which is a good sign. However, she thinks it won’t last. Nik, of course, is right. Although you don’t have to be Kreskin to know that will be the outcome.
EAB has decided to lay into Nik again, though, and tells Tabs she wasn’t happy with how one dog was groomed. So EAB, Nik and Tabs meet, although Tabs shares that EAB, who isn’t a groomer, shouldn’t be bringing complaints to Nik unless customers complain.
EAB says the dog,Newton, had “one straggly piece” of hair. Nik says he looked prefect to her. EAB then says in her hostile manner, “oh I was wrong”, and Nik says perhaps you just ruffled his hair, trying to inject some levity into the situation. EAB then says she doesn’t think Nik believes a word anyone says. Nik responds – and this just breaks my heart – “did I do more wrong?”
EAB then says “I don’t even recognize you right now”. Well, we recognize you, EAB, and you’re an effing —-. Nik says she doesn’t understand, and Tabs asks why EAB said that to Nik. Nik tells EAB not to accuse her. EAB says “so you’re just mad at me in general”. Holy f-ckballs, what the hell is up in this chick’s sick mind? Tabs angrily tells EAB not to dismiss Nik, Tabs won’t stand for it. EAB says it’s not a “dismission”, and Tabs points out the word is “dismissal”. Nik says she feels like she’s being baited for a fight, and Tabs agrees. EAB says this is one of the “most real engages” (yes, “engages”, not “engagements” or “encounters” or any other word that makes sense) she and Nik have had. Tabs asks Nik if that’s accurate, and Nik says no. Tabs tells EAB Nik is confused. EAB had to make it all right for an employee to come and talk to her. EAB shares that Tabs shone a “beam of flashlight” on her character defect. For all the good that’ll do. Also, did EAB grow up in a foreign country? Because her command of English is strictly ESL. Just sayin’.
And of course her command of sanity is nonexistent.
Later, Tee tells Tabs she thinks EAB did all right. Tabs reports what happened with Nik. Tee says there’s a “disconnect” and EAB comes from a “good place”. Tabs says the staff stepped up. At Tabs’ request, EAB actually gives a half-assed compliment to Nik.
Final recommendations. Tabs says they have groomers who care and are good at their jobs, so the gals should promote loyalty, let staff know expectations and consequences – her usual speech. Tabs asks EAB how her style has changed. EAB says she’ll respond directly and incorporate Tee’s POV and let the staff respond, although she still maintains Nik gave her “attitude”.
Commercial. Let’s talk Nik. She’s just the cutest gal ever! If you’ve been reading my recaps for a while, you know Nik is my type of gal. And not only is she cute, she’s good at her job, has a great demeanor, and is sharp. She’d be an asset to any employer who wasn’t all CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs. Nik, if you’re reading this, you should totally interview at LA Dogworks! Or at any place with an employer who does not need major psychotropic medications.
We’re back, but we’re not. The staff are talking, and Nik says EAB has become a better actress. The entire staff want to trade EAB for Tabs because Tabs “gets it” and EAB doesn’t.
Commercial. And now we’re at the end of the day. The usual “people did well, watch that you sustain the change”, keys back.
6 weeks later. Nik tells Tabs it’s the “same old same old”, and quickly went back to how it was pre-makeover. EAB is again turning everything into a fight. The staff are demoralized.
EAB has new hair, and speaks to Tabs in a tone that I think is supposed to be like the gal from Best in Show, but coming from EAB it just sounds super creepy and psycho. She says that Tabs’ makeover was “really difficult” for the staff (really? the same staff who want Tabs as a boss?) and as a result “they really resented me a lot”. Tabs says if you don’t change and speak to people you won’t have a business, and EAB as usual ignores her.
Tabs meets with Tee, who says EAB will always be “intense”. Tabs makes another recommendation – I think this is the first time ever in a 6-week followup – and that’s to hire a manager to put a buffer between the staff and EAB. Tee responds that EAB is a “work in progress”.
Stepping outside, Tabs says Barkingham is going to the dogs.
Well, that’s finally the end of this very taxing ep. Let’s hope next week is just more garden-variety mismanagement. Please.
See you next week!!
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