Thursday, 19 September 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Are you being served?

What’s the most dreadful (or wonderful) experience you’ve ever had as a customer? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SERVICE.

Market Party Solothurn 2007

Being served at one of our local market festivals is never a big problem, and waiting for someone to serve is more a enjoyment than a bad experience. You meet people, have a catch-up talk and generally enjoy the atmosphere. You go with good humour and it is generally fun.

The worst experience we ever had was many years ago when my eldest was at the beginning of his teenage years, the other son being five years younger. Family Angloswiss decided to spend the day in Lucerne, one of those Swiss tourist places complete with a lake, lots of souvenir shops and a very picturesque place to visit. At the time we were a young family and livelihood still had to be earned. It was not just a matter of jumping in the car and driving off for an hours journey on the motorway. It was connected with costs.

The gas tank in the car had to be filled and as our visit would be a day’s outing, we would be eating in a restaurant, two adults and two children. We were not poor, but Switzerland can be an expensive country for family excursions. We arrived in Lucerne and parked the car in the local underground car park, expense No. 1. The weather was good and walking around the town, combine with the lake, bumping into British tourists every five minutes was an experience.

Lucerne is the centre for the British visiting Switzerland. Something seems to draw them there. They sit on the benches around the lake eating their sandwiches and hamburgers and if it would rain they are immediately to be recognised, all dressed in their so-called pac-a-macs, transparent plastic raincoats in various colours of the rainbow. I remember them so well, it was the average uniform of the working class tourist at the time. I grew up with them. We even had special plastic head covers, looking like a plastic parachute with a silky band on each side to tie them. This was just the tourist atmosphere of the day. The special neoprene jackets, the all-weather modern attire was not yet invented.

Eventually we all felt hungry and so family AngloSwiss decided to find a restaurant for a meal. This had been planned to a certain extent. We just wanted a normal meal, not cheap and not expensive, just average. It was not very often that we took a day out for a family adventure.

There was a restaurant with enough room and we entered. We were greeted by the waitress straight away, something which can take minutes, half an hour in some restaurants. I was always wary as it had often happened to Mr. Swiss and I, if we just wanted a drink. We chose our food, each one of us having something different. I remember today what I chose, it was to become a memorable occasion, I have a taste for lamb, and chose lamb chops with all the trimmings. I cannot remember what the trimmings were.

Eventually the waitress arrived with the food, almost. She brought everything except for my lamb chops with the apology she would be right along with them. So I waited, and waited and waited. In the meanwhile my husband and the children were finished with their meal. I was left with a feeling of third world hunger and had visions of the cook visiting the local farmer to see if he had a lamb to spare. Eventually, with an apology the waitress brought my lamb chops. I am not a fan of well done, like my meat to be tender and perhaps a little pink in the inside, but I do not like it swimming is a red liquid to be defined as blood. I also noticed that the inside of the chop was still cool from its efforts to thaw out.

Mr. Swiss called the waitress and asked what that was supposed to be. She was dreadfully sorry, I think she was near tears. The cook had an argument with his assistant (was it her blood on the chops?) and had completely forgotten to thaw the frozen chops out. It had been noticed at the last minute, and in a weak try to serve (whilst Mr. Swiss and my two sons were digging into their food) it was brought to the table as quickly as possible, resulting in half raw meat, I think it was still breathing. Mr. Swiss lost his temper, with support from me asking how she expected his wife to eat this raw offering. She tried to rescue the situation by saying she would bring something else straight away. Unfortunately this straight away was now half an hour after my husband and my children had finished their meal. We left the restaurant. Of course, we did not have to pay for my meal, but that was not the point. You feel it all the more when it is a day out which does not often happen being a matter of cost. A day in another town and a meal thrown in means a lot to you when you know it is more an exception than the rule.

Yes, it was a dreadful experience, a disappointment. It shows how the bad temper of a cook and ignorance can spoil a family day out.

 Just a little epilogue. I just reminded Mr. Swiss about this occasion (he reads my works of blog). He scanned his olden goldie brain and remembered the occasion. He even remembered the red Simca car we had at the time. Today it would be referred to as a pile of rust, I believe even the lamp fixture rusted through eventually. They were cheap and moved from one place to another. I did not realise all this at the time, I had not yet decided to become a threat to all on the roads, and did not have a driving license – yes, those were the days.

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1 comment:

  1. Although I don't have children, I have experienced something similar when going out for a meal with someone special. The whole occasion can be ruined.