The problem: I won an auction item at a charity event — a cooking class for 16 people. I talked with the restaurant owner on the phone, then e-mailed her with the date and time I picked, which she confirmed. When we showed up, she wasn’t ready. No party! She told me my e-mail confirmation wasn’t enough. What? We did stay for drinks (she paid for the first round) and my friends are excited about returning to cook with such a great chef. I’ve heard that she’s struggling to stay afloat, so wouldn’t you think she’d be more eager to please willing customers? I feel burned and not inclined to follow through with the cooking class.

Low road: You could write a negative review on Open Table or another feedback site, encouraging people to avoid her restaurant. The problem is people already are avoiding her restaurant. 

High road: I empathize with you and can imagine how horrified you were when your big foodie party fizzled in front of your besties. You bid on this item, which I’m guessing was expensive, because you wanted an evening of tasty food with great friends. Why cheat yourself out of that?

It sounds like she’s frazzled and forgetful trying to stay in business. She likely offered up that very generous class in hopes of creating renewed buzz about her place.

Put your ego on the shelf, and give her a chance for a redo, because it might be one of the last good nights she has in this obscenely difficult profession. But no more e-mails! Call her. Pick the date and time and, like every annoying doctor’s office, hairstylist and pet groomer, call her again the day before to confirm.

Consider that first night a bonus happy hour, and who wouldn’t want one of those? Bon appétit! 

Gail Rosenblum is a features columnist. Send questions about life’s little quandaries to