How to Buss a Business (Trini Style): Pt. 1

I have become increasingly appalled at the poor customer service offered by establishments in Trinidad & Tobago.

Here are but a few of my lousy experiences with local restaurants (fast food and fine dining):

  • East meets West Chinese Restaurant

Scenario: (after having a reservation) Being seated at a table – in an areas relatively inaccessible to wait staff (blocked off by another table), right next to the night’s entertainment (somewhat off-key piano player), under a leaky air-conditioning unit, with an incomplete table setting (missing a knife). But there is more…

Buss a Business Moves: 1. Waiting 15+ minutes to get our drinks order taken by a hostess who explained to us that she was doing our “real” waitress a favour 2. Waiting 15 more minutes to have someone come to take our meal order 3. Being asked to pay for the drinks we barely tasted after we had decided to leave the service-challenged establishment 4. Having the supervisor come all the way out to our car to ask why we had left and having her apologize to us by saying that this was a “busy night” and that they were “short-staffed.”

Note: We did not pay for the drinks, nor did we return to the restaurant.

  • Habituals Café

Multiple Scenarios.

Buss a Business Moves: 1. The only two staff members are making food/drink and no one is at the cashier’s station to take your order 2. Having to change your order several times because of the unavailability of certain items 3. Finally having your order taken and getting ready to pay, only to discover a previously invisible handwritten note, next to the Linx machine, which indicates that it is out of order 4. Being (jokingly?) asked “buy a piece of cake for me nah” by a staff member 5. Oh I made tuna for you instead of chicken, do you want it instead? 6. Being accidentally hit on the head from staples flying out of the staple machine that was being used by the cashier and not receiving an apology.

  • Nanny’s on the Blvd.

Scenario: Impoverished university students who have gotten together for lunch in the basement, realize when the bill comes that they have just enough money to pay the bill, but do not have enough for a tip.

Buss a Business Move: Being given a lesson in the difference between service charge and tip by the male cashier, who then insisted that we find that tip money for the waitress (singles and coins will do, travel change be damned).

  • Pizzeria on the Blvd.

Scenario: ordering 2 drinks and a small fries, waiting for the latter for 20 minutes and having to leave without it (I had places to go, people to meet).

Buss a Business Moves: 1. the 5 sullen-faced workers liming by the service counter, not checking up on the status of outstanding orders in the kitchen 2. the toothless driver that leaves the group with an order in the delivery bag and a pack of “cheezies” held in his mouth (his snack or an unsuspecting patron’s?!) 3. the person at Head Office that took my telephone complaint who said that she was “not surprised” and did not know “what else to do” as the company had tried “everything else” but the employees just did not seem to want to work.

  • “The Answer to Every Quiz Question You Ask is No” Sub Shop

Multiple scenarios.

Buss a Business Moves: 1. Being told every single time you go there that they are out of ingredients or main menu items 2. Being told in a hostile manner “But I just said that we don’t have these things!” when the staff member had most certainly directed any comment to that effect to the customer in front of you 3. Reaching the cashier and having her tally your bill on a manual calculator as opposed to using the cash register. When asked about her reason for doing so, the cashier claimed that people often got upset when they saw the total and that she would rather not enter it into the system until they agreed to pay…

Note: Buss a Business Moves 1 and 2 are also true of “Greasy Fried Chicken” outlets throughout the country, to such an extent that if I do happen to go there (out of desperation), I would think up of a number of alternative orders beforehand (things that I will have if something is unavailable).

  • The Yachty Inn

Scenario: Parent has taken children out to dinner and has carefully budgeted for the event. Meals are selected with thought (personal tastes and price).

Buss a Business Moves: 1. The bill comes up to several hundred dollars more than it ought to, given the price in the menu 2. When this is inquired about at the cashier’s station, we were summarily told that the menu was in transition and that the prices had not been updated to reflect changes in the food market.

Note: No indication of this was given to us by our waitress before we ordered, nor was such information prominently displayed (if at all) on the so-called faulty menu.

I am not just “bad lucky” people. I think that this is a reality that many customers may face when going to any eatery in TnT.

Mango
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~ by mangoandmosquitoblog on December 4, 2007.

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