The other day I was listening to a radio phone in about service in cafes. It got me thinking about an experience I had recently in a cafe in Rangiora.
A few weeks ago Mr RR and I went for brunch with the kiddo. As the parent of any preschooler will tell you, going out for something to eat and drink isn’t always a relaxing experience when you’re trying to keep them on their seat and behaving. But generally our boy isn’t too bad. Time it right and make sure he’s hungry and he’ll sit and play with my keys or wallet till a muffin turns up and then he’ll be focused on eating.
However, the one thing he does like to do is play with the little sugar packets that are usually on the table. He doesn’t suck them or stick them up his nose or anything disgusting. He just likes to take them out of the glass or pot they’re in, shake each one and listen to the sound it makes. Raw sugar for example sounds very different to sweetener. Not my idea of entertainment, but hey it keeps him happy.
He doesn’t open the packets or make them unusable in any way. And when he’s shaken each one he simply places them in a pile on the table. We always make sure they are all back in the container before we leave. And no cafe staff have ever seemed to have a problem with it.
But the other week at a local cafe, we were waiting for our brunch dishes and the boy was doing his sugar shaking thing. Taking each one out of the glass they were in, shaking them and then placing them carefully on the table. Along comes the waitress with a glass, snatches up the sugars from the table, stuffs them in the glass and places it at the back of the table against the wall. She doesn’t say a word to us.
We thought it was really rude. It made us feel uncomfortable and tainted our experience. About ten minutes later she came over again and plonked some plastic toys on the table, again without speaking, and walked off.
If it was a problem for the kiddo to play with the sugar packets, then I can understand that I guess. But why not come over with some plastic toys and suggest, in a pleasant way, that he might like to play with those instead. It would have left us feeling better about the place. As it is, I probably won’t go back there with my kiddo.
I didn’t say anything when we paid the bill. But I wondered whether I should have done or was I simply being over-sensitive? Perhaps she was having a bad day.
Have you had a great or terrible service experience locally? Did you complain or just pay the bill and vow not to go back?
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