Monday, 25 August 2008

The grass is always greener.

The one thing we all complain about in Ghana is the lack of customer service. Whether it's waking a secretary up from her desk at the Ministries or telling off a waiter for giving you the wrong food for the third time, we all experience bad service and notice the lack of staff training. Usually this leads to moments of reminiscence of the good old days in London, the States or any part of Europe where you'll eat at a place full of witty, efficient waiters and waitresses who bring you your correct food order within minutes of placing the order.

Well, on Saturday evening, Virgo, SQB and I went for a meal at Bella Italia in Bayswater. Out of the five staff it was clear that two were senior and the other three completely new, had probably never set foot in a kitchen before and were just about to learn English (they were Italian).

After being sat at our table, we had to gesture wildly before receiving menus and placing our order several minutes later. As we made our order, we heard glass breaking in the background: one girl had bumped into a tray and dropped all the glasses. A few minutes later another new girl spilled a full glass of beer into the lap of a man she was serving.

Once our starter arrived we waited several minutes before finally catching the waitress' attention to bring us cutlery to eat with and some olive oil and napkins. The cutlery came, the rest never arrived. Later, we had to gesture for the dirty starter plates to be removed and the main course to be brought in. Although our cutlery was taken away, the staff was more interested in laying the empty table next to us while we adored our food with nothing to eat it with. Never mind, the food was at least tasty.

Today Virgo told me of how he and SQB went for a meal in a restaurant on Oxford Street yesterday. After waiting for fifteen minutes without even being given a menu, Virgo got up to check, only to find their waiter in a corner eating his lunch! A plate of kenke and fish and it would've been a scene straight out of Ghana! When Virgo went to find another waiter, he found one sleeping in another corner. As they finally got hold of someone to serve them, another table called on the waiter: it was clear they had obviously been waiting even longer. Virgo and SQB waited a few minutes longer before leaving after realising they would never even receive their menus.

Service in Ghana worse than anywhere else? I think not!

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