Right, it's sounding off time. After a day traipsing round the shops with my mum we stopped at Costa Coffee for a refreshment stop. Costa's coffee is really good, and their raspberry and almond cake is worth a try, but OMG.. the service is dire. It's not just the Blackpool branch that employs drongo's, it seems to be a nationwide trend at Costa Coffee. Here's the job requisite/description for working at Costa...
1. Are you young?
2. Will you wear a tight black shirt?
3. Will you chat incessantly with your colleagues?
4. Will you ignore customers and a growing queue whilst wiping round?
5. ...chat a bit more with colleagues?
6. ...allow tables to be left overflowing with cups and plates and saucers?
7. ...ask 3 times what you had just ordered?
You lose the will to live by the time you get your toytown, Early Learning size cup of espresso and fight past prams and tables strewn with dirty crockery and sit down for two minutes whilst in two gulps, your coffee is gone. And you pay heavily for that privilege. You then yearn for the days of tea or coffee houses where you have a private booth and staff are trained properly, are quick and serve you at your table. A bit like the rest of Europe and North America where this seems to happen with consummate ease and speed.
And then we went to H&M to pick up some jeans for my nephew. Jeans selected.. find the tills, two staff serving and one customer ahead of us. Couldn't be simpler? Think again. The lady ahead of us talks incessantly to the shop assistant and gets into a big discussion over her credit card that had disappeared from her purse. And if by magic, the other sales assistant skulks away to fold jumpers. After 5 minutes of queuing the veins of my neck are throbbing. After 9 minutes and I'm at breaking point. I then go into full strop mode and tell the sales assistant to get back on that till NOW before I start unfolding all her jumpers and jamming them in her NVQ level 2 in Twatty Sales gob. Through gritted teeth I kindly asked her why she chooses to ignore customers queuing, and to kindly remember that in a global recession, money through tills and customer service is a tinsy-winsy bit more important than folding size 8 acrylic jumpers. My mum then told me to calm down and told the now sulky gobshite that her daughter is a nurse, has a very stressful job but is usually very nice. And lo and behold, the jeans go through the till at their full price and not the sale price as advertised. I then go into full Krackatoa East of Java mode and demand the sale price NOW. Sulky gobshite goes off for proof and I swear she went off to the staffroom for a quick fag and a quick read of Heat magazine before coming back to unsmilingly put them through the till at the sale price.
Maybe my expectations of good service are a tad too high. You know.. the expectations of having staff meeting the till ratio.. of having staff who smile and say hello or sorry to have kept you... of staff who look interested and serve you quickly and with good manners. Did all that really finish in 'Are You Being Served' in the mid 1970's. I kind of think it did....