Sunday, March 8

Mucho Moan

On Sundays we usually go into Chichester for a mooch and a coffee before moving on to our weekly food shop. Since young boys have been employed in Costa we have stopped going there as the tables aren’t being cleared very quickly so customers have to pile up the dirty crockery, my cappuccino has been lukewarn 2 weeks in a row, while they discuss their social lives and lark about.
Over at Maison Blanc our pastries didn’t arrive until after we had finished our coffees – they had forgotten apparently. And the warming of pastries has been very hit and miss of late. And the tables could do with a spot of Cif.

If I boycott them there is only Starbucks and I object to drinking out of a builder’s mug and stirring my beverage with a wooden stick.
I know I could complain; I can fire off emails to head offices but I don’t want to become a female Victor Meldrew I just want basic good service – am I asking for too much?
In what we are told is a global recession when almost everyone is cutting back on spending I would have thought that service would improve because businesses would want to hold on to existing customers – I am clearly wrong.

Photo: Victoria Sandwich from East West Bakery, Arundel


  1. But if you (and anyone else who is dissatisfied with their service) don't tell them, then the people in charge may not be aware of the situation. They should, of course, but are they? It's such a shame when bad service puts you off a place. At half term the Wrinklets and I joined some other families for a pub lunch. The place was quite busy, but they didn't clear our plates at the end of our first course. So I just stood up, started collecting up the dishes and piled them all up on an adjacent table. I wasn't going to sit there looking at dirty plates, I didn't think it was right.

    Service can make or break our enjoyment - as you say, you'd think in times such as these, they'd make doubly sure it's good.

    Did you bake that cake? It looks scrummy. x

  2. now that is a good looking slice of cake..
    t x

  3. I love the hate drinking out of a builders mug and stirring with a wooden stick comment!

    Love Emma xxxxx

  4. Keep your comments a coming you do (as I've said before) make me laugh out loud....
    P.S I love using Cif....!!

  5. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Oh sister I know your pain. Whilst you were on cat sitting duty I went to a trendy yummy mummy cafe in Clapham this weekend - full of rug rats - not by choice I add!! But whilst I applaud the business brains behind selling a weak coffee and a crumpet for £10 to London trendies - FOR THE LOVE OF GOD - wipe the bloody tables occasionally!! The Nxxxx

  6. I hate bad service and it's such a shame a few can let the side down.
    We have quite alot of coffee shops and tea shops in our area.
    At least four of them are independant and very good.
    When I stay with my sister in London there is a tea shop near where she lives and all the cups and saucers are vintage.
    It's so lovely!

  7. I don't go into Starbucks for that very reason.
    It's very disappointing and aggravating when we are dished out poor service.
    Send 'em a letter!

  8. Here, here!
    there is some appalling service about, I don't think there is anything wrong in complaining, as long as it is done in a polite and discreet way, may be an informal anonymous note, addressed to the manager would draw their attention to the problem without you having to having to feel like victor.

  9. Totally with you on this one. I used to be a MAJOR Starbucks fan - I would frequent the one in Henley pretty much every single day of the week and got to know the people working there really well. Then the manager left and things went downhill rapidly. I stuck with it for a while, but sitting amongst dirty cups, plates and food detritus really isn't a great experience so now I go to Caffe Nero or the one independent coffee shop in town where things are much cleaner and tidier. I've not written a letter of complaint but have decided instead to 'vote with my feet'. I've even heard rumours that the Starbucks could be closing - perhaps I'm not the only one taking their money elsewhere.

  10. To be honest I find that when times get tough service gets worse. We have a supplier who made 60 redundancies two weeks before Christmas, it now takes them a min. of 48 hours to get quotes to us when it was once a max of 4 hrs. Hopeless we go elsewhere.

  11. Oh dear, I know the feeling and I think you absolutely should complain, surely they would like to know why they are losing your business.

    I am married to a serial complainer and it has sort of rubbed off....

  12. I remember visits to 'The Green Cockatoo' with my Gran in the 1970s.When we went for afternoon tea, the waitresses wore black ,with starched white aprons...they brought out cake stands to the table,filled with a mouth-watering array of stodgieness.I don't think anything had changed since the 1930s!
    Every time I grab a cuppa now,its always slightly disappointing!

  13. I think you're right. Service is so important and you'd think it would be at the top of the list at the moment.
    The victoria sandwich looks yummy.

  14. Anonymous5:15 PM

    I won't go into Starbucks on principle, and I find Costa very much as you describe. Letting their head office know how you view their outlets won't make you a Victor Meldrew - unless you repeatedly contact them :D

    As for me, well I can highly recommend Pret ( if you have one near you. We don't have one near us, but whilst out shopping recently (Bicester Village :D ) I stopped off for a coffee and it was fab. Great service, lovely food and I emailed them to let them know, and the lovely head office staff emailed me back to say thanks and then sent me a voucher for a free coffee next time I was in the area. How nice was that!

  15. Well I miss the good old fashioned tea shops with there mixed bone china cups and home made cakes. The big coffee chains have taken over and I agree, they are all muc of a muchness now.

  16. I totally agree that this countries services need a HUGE shake up. Just where are all the considerate,hygienic coffee/tea shop assistants??

    I would LOVE to ope a tea shop I would call it 'We're NOT on every High St'
    PS Thanks for the big madelines tip.


  17. Hear hear, and I agree with the previous speaker about Tea Rooms - I would much rather drink tea or coffee in a place that relished its Englishness than in an outpost of Seattle. There used to be a proper tea room on every high street, now you only find them at garden centres, if you can get past the plastic flowers and crystals that is.

  18. Anonymous8:31 PM

    I don't know who Victor Meldrew is and I'm too lazy to google - but I feel I am definitely the Victor Medlrew ilk.
    I write my complaints - and then I boycott - usually it does no good whatsoever, but if I simply boycott without them knowing why - it seems a bit pointless.
    Mind you, this is only for places I frequent regularly - not just for any old stop offs. God, if that were the case I'd have severe writer's cramp :-)

  19. I have to totally agree service seems to be getting worse. It doesn't make sense to me either, I thought that shops would be trying harder to get more sales not the opposite.

  20. It's odd isn't it.....I'm always amazed that people who provide a service don't realise that being polite, clean, tidy etc is part of it.
    It's the same in shops sometimes.....those who work there chat on their mobiles and look put out when you ask a question or want to be served!!! madness.
    As for coffee shops......I don't mind the builders mugs but hate the service...the clearing you have to do...the fact that they don't care.

    Ok, rant over!
    We need more lovely, friendly samll privately owned tea shops and cafes....I'll let you know when I open one!!!

  21. Anonymous3:00 PM

    I agree with you. I used to find the same when I lived in England. Poor service seems common. You would think that service would be more important now and I cannot stand dirty tables either, who wants to eat surrounded by other peoples leftovers? It is just not acceptable. Here the service is always great, although I don't get out much at the moment. I would quite like to hibernate until Spring officially arrives.

    I love the new banner by the way.

  22. you hit the 'nail on the head' as usual, some businesses aren't going to survive if they don't pull their socks...

  23. Perhaps we should be concentrating on the places that do provide great service, & rewarding them with our custom. How annoying that there isn't anywhere near you.
    I had a lovely coffee at Gloagburn Farm Shop near Perth yesterday where they didn't mind that I hogged a table for half an hour having arrived very early to meet Lisa.
    Places with great welcoming service, good food and clean tables do exist we should seek them out and celebrate.
    If you remember many small coffee shops went out of business when the chains moved in - that was because people perceived Starbucks et al as offering a better service and bought their coffee from them.
    I would write in - at the very least you should get a free builder's mug of cofee and a nice new stick.
    J x

  24. I demand excellent cake, coffee and service so shame on those who cannot provide!!!!

  25. Genuines Works of Data Entry, Copy Pasting, Add Posting, Clicking, Web Surfing, Website Visiting, Article Sharing, Data Sharing, Google Business Plan and Much More Business Plans


Thank you for leaving a comment - I will reply within comments but you can always email me should you wish to keep it private.