It was an overcast day and rain was imminent.
I was meeting a coaching client for coffee at 11:00am at one of the local trendy cafes.
I signed in and waited to speak to one of the three attendants, two of whom were engrossed in their own conversation and a third who had been cleaning tables.
“Do you have a booking?” she asked.
“No, I’m meeting a friend and we’d like coffees please.”
“I’ll just find out where I can seat you.”
The other attendant gestured to a table just near where I was standing.
“You can sit here til 11:45am, then you’ll have to leave because we have a lunch booking.”
That didn’t suit me because I wanted to meet for the full hour.
“I’d like to stay til midday please.”
She motioned me outside.
You can sit at any of these tables outside and sit for as long as you like.
She pointed to a couple of tables and chairs under two umbrellas.
“The best spot to sit is here under the umbrella for when it rains”, she suggested.
If you want coffees, just go and order them at the takeaway bar over there.
“Wow! I couldn’t sit inside. I had to go order from the takeaway booth and she knew it was going to rain.”
And it did rain. And I did get wet. And I did have to move to the bench where my client was sitting.
As I looked inside the café, there were at least 6 empty tables. The wait staff were looking straight at us as we battled with the water dripping from the umbrella and blowing in from the side.
Not one of the waitstaff motioned for us to come inside. Not one of them approached us.
I was amazed. The behaviour of the wait staff was not congruent with my definition of hospitable.
I won’t be going back.
I couldn’t help but think that over the last 12 months with COVID and many of the hospitality establishments being closed or closing, that the employees would be grateful to have the work and really look after their customers.
Am I being unrealistic? Are my expectations too high? Have I got the wrong definition of hospitality?
Let me know what you think.
Would you have invited us back inside to escape the rain or would you simply have watched us as we sat under the umbrella in the rain?
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