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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pub landlady runs amok on Tripadvisor

A while back I did something really bad.I thought I'd gotten away with it until yesterday lunchtime.
You see,I was provoked into registering and responding to a customer review on Tripadvisor.
Getting drawn into an emotional exchange on a public forum is something to be avoided at all costs.
In my opinion,responding to a review on TA can never result in a positive outcome,all it does is draw attention to the complaint.The best approach is surely to give the whole thing a wide berth thus avoiding giving any credence whatsoever to the validity of the site and the unreasonable motivations which usually precede a bad review.Yes,best let the reader draw their own conclusions,adding your own ha'pence worth can only cloud the original issue.Anyway the last thing you want to do is give the impression that you actually give a fark about what people think who actually go on there.
Unless its a positive review of course...
Anyway,Id read the review which was imaginatively entitled  'not good at all',which kind of gives away the tone and content of the feedback.I was able to work out who the couple were.They'd tipped up on a Sunday lunchtime without a booking.Which is fine,but if you don't ring ahead to book a table the chances are you  might not be able to be accommodated,after all the world and his wife and their extended relatives all go out for Sunday lunch every week.As it happened we did have one table free,the only reason it was available is because we never book it out in advance given that its quite a 'snug' table and the chances are you wouldn't be happy if you had gone to the trouble of making a reservation and were squidged in the corner on this particular table.So,what we do is offer it to any 'walk in' who hasn't booked,after first explaining that we are fully booked but if they wanted to they could eat at 'this' table. The effect of this is that the customer themselves make the decision whether or not they want to sit there.People sit at it every week,surprisingly people often choose to sit there and are quite happy,grateful even, that we've quite literally 'squeezed' them in...
All of the above was explained to this couple but unfortunately they couldn't quite grasp the fact that they couldn't sit at the other empty tables due to them being reserved and diners arriving very soon to sit at them.After a few false starts at musical chairs,I tried explaining again,finally they begrudgingly sat down at the indicated table.Unfortunately this experience coloured the rest of their visit,ultimately resulting in the unfavourable review.

Initially I wanted to just respond with: 'I'm sorry,but as we explained on the day you were unable to sit at a table of your own choice due to the tables all being fully booked' I decided this might come across as a bit sarcy, so instead I composed a 'blah di blah di blah' crawling style response culminating in the stock line 'I'm very sorry you didn't enjoy your meal,had we known this at the time we would have endeavoured to offer an alternative'
This is where the response should have ended but unfortunately my fingers were itching and ran amok on their own,adding(before I could stop them) a caveat which unfortunately had the effect of making the entire response appear sarcastic and disingenuous'
This is what I wrote:
'PS I note you visited us on the 19th June,yet submitted your review on 11th June.Who are you??Marty McFly?.....'
I know,this is disgraceful very unprofessional.As soon as I'd clicked on the submit button I was wracked with regret.Though admittedly not enough that I went back and edited it..
I didn't bother telling Chef what Id been up to,not that he would have complained but I'm always telling him what's good and bad PR,especially when diners moan and his standard response is 'Just tell them to get out....' so I didn't really fancy a ribbing.
Anyway,this was months ago and by now there's been more reviews so the offending response is no longer on the front page,effectively its disappeared into the interlubes forever.Or so I thought.
Then,yesterday as I cleared some plates from a table a gentleman enquired 'Are you the owner?'
'Yes I am' I say 'was everything ok?'
'Yes lovely thank you,we had to come and see who was responsible for the Marty McFly comment on Tripadvisor..'
I felt the colour rising in my cheeks.I mumbled a bit.
'Absolutely brilliant,we came especially because of it.. absolutely fantastic'
He patted me on the back.I could see his wife nodding her head in agreement and grinning at me.

One has egg on ones face

Posh Boy was over on the bar,his eyes narrowed suspiciously clearly wondering what the craic was.
'Biff..what was that all about???'
Me : 'Nutin.. nutin at all'

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Its your Birthday so you can darn well have whatever I decide you can have...

Yesterday lunchtime a group of four were booked in for lunch, they'd requested a 'nice' table as it was a Birthday celebration.(You'd be surprised how many diners ring up and make this sort of request,I'm often tempted to respond with 'oh I'm very sorry we only have nasty tables').
Anyway,I sat them on the biggest table in the centre of the pub in full view of the bar,fireplaces and blackboard menu.All bases covered.
The Birthday Boy was how can I put this pleasantly? Quite senior,and not very quick on his feet.
As they perused the menu the wife was overheard to say:
'Well ..its your 87th birthday today so you have WHATEVER you want,have a look,WHATEVER you want I say'
When we went over to take the order the old boy asked for the sausages.I was just  making a note of this when the wife pipes up:

The old fella looks back up at the blackboard, frantically searching for something else and feeling under pressure I'm sure, as the other three had by now ordered.
The wife raises her eyebrows and says:
'You can have a rump steak, that'll be a treat,cooked medium to well done please'
As the order went to the kitchen,I was already fearful.
In our experience many older people tender to cope better with easier textures.Generally, even with fish they favour the bottom feeders,flat fish with tender flesh as opposed to the meatier varieties,so how an 87 year old was going to cope with a M-W done steak was mildly alarming at the very least.
I was also mindful of  the Danish Chocolate Biscuit cake incident and the 90 year old tooth which was unfortunately displaced.Shudder.

Not long after the meals were served,an unearthly gutteral sound began to emanate from the party table.The Cynical One and I looked at each other without speaking.We knew immediately what was happening.I wished the sound away. I'm good in a crisis but medical ones aren't my forte and anyway I have no training in the Heimlich manoeuvre.Diners at the other tables put down their cutlery.There it was again and they were bloody centre stage due to having the winning ticket on prime table jackpot.There wasn't a single person there that couldn't see what was happening.
The wife seemed unconcerned.She continued chatting to the rest of the party.The Cynical One admirably went over and enquired if everything was allright and would they like a glass of water.
At this point the wife whacked the old boy on the back with some force,at the same time saying very loudly: 'BREATHE'
Thankfully this seemed to do the trick.Thank God.I had already visualised the headline in our local rag:
'87 year old chokes on birthday tea at local Inn after winning prime table jackpot'
We can purée if required.

As the plates were cleared we noted Old Boys napkin had been placed over his food(always an ominous sign)none of which had been eaten,well some briefly then obviously returned to the plate.
He apologised.

As the pudding order was taken,the wife turned to the Birthday Boy and said 'I don't think you should have anything else,we don't want to overdo it do we?'

I could have cried,a bit of ice cream might have soothed his poor old throat..


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