Talking of service …

Saracen just made the point (entry below) about how on the High Street, “stock, price and service sometimes leave a lot to be desired”, which is why he buys much of what he buys online rather than in the shops. There’s one field in which this can’t be done, however: food. Of course, you can order a pizza and certain other types of fast food and have it delivered, but it’s not the same as paying for food and not doing the washing-up, and sitting and reading the morning papers over a cappuccino in a café. That’s why I go to them, usually a place in Kingston called the Meditteranean.

Trouble is, the staff at the Med have a funny idea of what constitutes service. The Med used to be owned by Algerians, but then the owner sold out to a Ghanaian called, I think, Michael, who has told one of the Algerian staff that he may start selling alcohol in the near future, which will mean goodbye to that staff member and at least one other. I’ve written about this here in the past, but there are two things I hate which have happened to me recently in that place.

One is being asked to move in the middle of my meal. Now, I’ve always thought that asking a paying customer to do this is not good service, ever since seeing the bit in Fawlty Towers wherre Sybil Fawlty tells Basil off for asking a family to move so that “Lord Melbury” could sit where he wanted. Perhaps I falsely drew the conclusion from seeing this. But I’ve been asked this by staff at the Med.

Second, I hate being told that something I have complained about does not bother anyone else. This happened to me today, when I was sitting in the side bit reading my paper and trying unsuccessfully to stop the pages being blown over by the wind, which was blowing straight through the front of the shop because both the door and the folding window were open. And it was windy, and cold. When I asked Michael to shut the door because it was blowing my paper over, he first left me to wait while he finished his phone call, then came over and had me repeat my request. When I did, he went over and asked the two ladies who were sitting (and not reading) by the open folding window if the wind was bothering them. Because they were not reading newspapers but rather talking, it was not. Michael then came over to me and told me that having the front open was good for business and that if I wanted to read my paper, I should move to the back of the café.

Sorry Michael, but telling your customer that his complaint is not valid because “nobody else has complained” and that he should move all his stuff to the back in the middle of his lunch is not good customer service. For one thing, he might tell all his friends that your “service” is crap. I’d advise anyone looking for service with a smile in Kingston to avoid the Meditteranean, because the service is crap. (For that matter, I’d advise anyone looking for halal food to avoid Kingston, because halal food is very thin on the ground here.)

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