An Open Letter to Blythe Oade (General Manager of The Rusty Mug)

Dear Blythe,

I know you love your dad Jeff Oade dearly. 

I understand that you are extremely loyal to him and his legacy. 

I think it may be time to go out on your own and get a regular job. Your dad gave me similar advice.

You cannot count on him forever and it seems as though you are very poor at managing a business. 

I sent multiple messages and you gave up therustymug.com and rustymug.com due to incompetence.

You claim I asked for compensation when I repeatedly said in the messages that you could have the domains for free. 

I’m not sure if you showed your dad all the messages or explained things before he called me to cuss me out and threaten lawsuit and physical harm, but I feel as though your incompetence probably led to more misunderstandings. 

Resign your position and give it to someone that actually is going to look out for the business. 

Or you could talk to your dad and make him apologize, or you will be helping to destroy every bit of his legacy. 

Here is our first communication…

Sent August 30th 2019 at 3:45pm 

“Hello Jeff or Blythe, 

I called the Saginaw Highway location and left a message for Jeff, but I wanted to reach out here to let you know as well. 

I built therustymug.com and would like to add more information about your new restaurant as well as make the site exactly the way you two would like it to be. 

I’m moving out of the area in about a week and wanted to meet up before I was 4 hours away. 

You can call me to discuss meeting in person. Thank you.

Anthony 

702-577-0303”

I got a response at 4:19pm on August 30th 2019. 

“I will get back to you after the weekend. Thank you! 😊”

My reply at 4:21pm 

“Sounds good. You’re welcome.”

Here is my next message on September 4th 2019 (Labor Day Monday at 7:05pm)

“I just wanted to let you know my internet is ending today because of the move. That phone number I left you is a Google Voice number and I’ll be able to get voicemails as well as messages here on Facebook. 

I probably should have gotten ahold of you sooner, but just haven’t had the time to work for free and had a lot of bad luck when asking for money for my services the past year. 

Basically I’m taking a step back to reevaluate life in the Manistee National Forest because it’s free as long as we move around every 2 weeks. 

I will be able to make some minor changes to the site by connecting to hotspots, but a complete overhaul won’t be possible for awhile because I can’t even afford a phone right now. 

I’m really not sure what to do because I was hoping to meet up before running into this issue. 

Here is the appraisals page GoDaddy set up. 

https://www.godaddy.com/domain-value-appraisal

TheRustyMug.com appraised at $818 and RustyMug.com appraised for $941. 

I’ve also built websites for $1,000-$2,500 multiple times. 

But most people have websites now and I’m shifting away from the business because I won’t have much access to internet any longer. 

Again, I’m really not sure what to do, but with each passing day I have less and less that I can do. 

We move on Sunday. 

Thanks,

Anthony”

I got a response September 6th 2019 at 12:16pm. 

“I’m sorry. I guess we are a little confused. Because we had someone build us a website before we even opened. And neither of us remember talking to you about this. I apologize for the inconvenience and not getting back to you sooner. We are very busy with running both places.”

I responded at 12:33pm

“I apologize for the way I went about things. I’ve never been paid or in contact with you guys before now. I did this on my own after you opened. 

I was a freelance web developer and started pitching local companies in Lansing. I had bought a bunch of domains for local businesses that hadn’t set up websites. 

I set up some websites and tried to give free domains to others. I kept getting horrible responses and lost my apartment in the process. 

I wanted to reach out to you guys, but didn’t have internet to even help you and then temporarily had it and lost it again. Now I’m on a hotspot that lets me send messages but not much else since Wednesday night. 

Because of how negative I had been treated by others, I preferred to just leave the free website up rather than get yelled at for buying the domains or hung up on etc. 

Of course I want to make money, but I’ve never wanted to charge people that can’t afford it or don’t want a website. 

I reached out to you guys with the hopes that you would take the sites off my hands so I didn’t have to worry about them over the winter because we are going homeless into the National Forest in a travel trailer. 

Part of me was hoping I could build the website for the new restaurant and be paid, but I really just wanted to help you out. 

Now would be a lot more difficult to build a website because I don’t have stable internet connectivity and only a few more days left at this place before we have to head up to the Manistee National Forest. 

I’m not sure who you paid, but it wasn’t me. 

Now I would need to charge up front to do more website work for you because I would have to stay at the Lansing campground. 

Anyway, I’m not sure what you want to do or what you are willing to pay. 

I would need $2,500 which is more than fair, but may be more than you are able or willing to spend. 

Otherwise you can have free use of the domains and use the web developer you already paid. 

I don’t need a penny if you have already paid someone that can do things for you. 

I’m sorry for the confusion. 

– Anthony”

And this additional message at 12:41pm

“I wanted to meet in person so I could explain all this. I know you are busy, but so am I so we need to get this resolved as quickly as possible. 

I honestly didn’t think you were doing very well because the second restaurant wasn’t opened and when I went to the one on Saginaw Highway it was dead and there was a lonely drunk guy in there talking about his depression.(true story) 

I just wanted to give you guys the gift of the website.  

The website was getting 1-2 hits a day, with some spikes, but then it started getting 10-50 a day after the pulse article ran with the website address. 

It’s slowed down, but I figured that it was something that you would want to get figured out since I don’t have anything on the new restaurant.”

I sent this next message on September 9th 2019 at 7:55pm. 

“Hello, I’m sorry to keep bothering you, but I need to know what to do. 

It’s been a week since I was anticipating on hearing back from you when all I wanted was to have a 15 minute conversation about your website that I built for free. 

I’ve invested a lot more hours than you would believe in researching your business and building the site. That included going to the Saginaw Highway location and actually buying food. It also included going to the other location and seeing the building permit about to expire without the new restaurant open. I genuinely thought you weren’t doing well and just wanted to help with the website. That was months ago(I believe in April). 

But that comes from lack of self confidence and it’s why my business failed. I did a ton of free work for people that didn’t want it and now am sinking myself financially trying to do the right thing. 

I did it for fun and for some goodwill. 

I haven’t asked you for any money for the work I did. 

I built the site, refined slight parts, and have a basic site that could be a great site with some adjustments alongside you. 

All that being said, I don’t even know if you want the website. 

You said you already had someone else build one so we should just point the domain at that. If they didn’t build it then we need to come up with another solution. 

My hosting is past due for the server your site is on and I’m probably just going to shut it down to save money. 

You can purchase WordPress hosting really inexpensively for like $5-$10 per month. Or get a square space website or wix site. The particular server your site is on is shared and is costing me considerably more than that. 

You can even do it all yourself in many cases. If you want me to handle it or if you want your website person to handle it, either way is fine, I just need some answers. 

Otherwise your website is going to go down. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but if you have been getting more DoorDash orders over the past couple months, that might be from the website. 

If the site goes down, you are going to lose the Google ranking that was built up over the past few months, which might not matter to you. I really don’t know how much business it has translated into. 

A lot of people also go to the website just to look at the menu, so you may lose customers stopping in after viewing the online menu. I know you have it on Facebook and other sites, but I just wanted to let you know that it could affect your customer’s experience. 

None of this is about money other than I don’t want to keep spending money and want to get this under your control. 

Companies like HugeDomains.com buy up domains like I did and then sells them for $1,000+ each. I tried to give them for free and create goodwill and potentially get some business. It didn’t work out, I stepped back from building websites to focus on other things and it’s costing me money to not make any. I just don’t want to shut your site down without giving you the option to move it to your own host. 

Please at least let me know if you have someone else to do the website, if you want to meet within the next day or two before I leave, or if you just want me to shut the site down and let the domains(rustymug.com and therustymug.com) go to auction. 

Thanks,

Anthony”

Then on September 16th at 7:34pm I sent this message. 

“I guess you don’t want the domain names so I’m going to put them up for Auction on Wednesday or Thursday. 

I was offering them for free, I find it hard to believe you have been too busy to respond.”

I received a call from Jeff on September 20th 2019 at 5:11pm

I would say that Blythe doesn’t read very well because this was her response to me on a review. 

“We never asked you to make a website or perform any services for us. And then you asked for compensation.

However, if you want a good sandwich I highly recommend the Jam On It! Take care!”

Please explain what I did wrong and how I could have possibly done anything different?

Jeff told me to take his name off of TheRustyMug.com because I simply posted that they wouldn’t return my communications and I needed to know what to do with the site. 

Jeff cussed at me, threatened a slander lawsuit for simply saying he wouldn’t return communications, and then threatened to physically harm me if someone else ends up with the domain and does something he doesn’t like. 

So now I created this site and will continue my efforts until I get an apology. 

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