BURO Sweet Service and V&A Waterfront Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Chrisna Kok of BURO in the V&A Waterfront, upstairs next door to Woolworths, a shop selling Apple-complementary products such as phone covers, and stylish laptop carry cases. Chrisna assisted in changing an iTunes account on an Apple iPhone, and setting up the apps again, and offered practical and understandable technical advice without charge, an exceptional service compared to the Apple store in the Waterfront, which forces one to make an appointment for technical assistance.  She has offered additional help, with an open door for questions relating to any Apple products.

The Sour Service Award goes to the V&A Waterfront for its poor handling and lack of co-operation in the search of Wilkes McDermid, who ‘disappeared’ in or around the V&A Waterfront, having last been seen leaving the Cape Grace hotel on 26 December. McDermid is a food and beverage blogger in the UK and is very active on Social Media, and it was his lack of Facebooking and Tweeting that raised the alarm. He had been at Orphanage the night before and had Tweeted about his experience there. McDermid is a good friend of whisky aficionado Bernard Gutman of Cape Town, and he raised the alarm about his friend’s disappearance.  As we found too, the whole management of the Waterfront was on holiday from about 18 December until the beginning of this week, and therefore Gutman could not obtain permission to view the Waterfront’s security camera footage, and it was not made available to the police.  In simple terms there was nobody on-site who appeared to have any proper authority’, wrote Gutman. An acting manager could not contact any of the V&A management, saying that she would be fired if she were to contact any of them while they were on holiday! For days the Waterfront’s PR Manager Carla White interacted with Gutman, stalling, and stating that the matter was ‘subjudice’ and therefore Gutman was not allowed to see the footage from the claimed 1000 security cameras in the Waterfront.  Gutman expressed his concern to the V&A about the UK media interest in the story, but this did not appear to be of concern to Ms White. Gutman believes after this experience that the Waterfront overclaims the extent of its security and protection of its property, and that there are blind spots‘ in the security camera coverage, which would make it dangerous for parents to leave their children at the Waterfront. He believes that the V&A did not want to hand over the footage to prevent the security breaches from being exposed. The V&A Waterfront’s Tweeter Emma Jackson unsympathetically Tweeted that they could not help Gutman as she worked for the Marketing department, which does not deal with missing persons!  She was out of her depth in managing a crisis in the V&A.  Gutman is relieved that McDermid was traced via his cash withdrawals and credit card payments, and appears to have been in the V&A every day since he ‘disappeared’, but this was not picked up by the Waterfront’s security cameras at all!

POSTCRIPT 12/11 The V&A Waterfront has retaliated to this blogpost and the Sour Service Award, by blocking us on Twitter!  We are regular shoppers at the V&A, so this is poor service indeed.  Surprisingly, they did not protest their tenant BURO winning the Sweet Service Award.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

11 replies on “BURO Sweet Service and V&A Waterfront Sour Service Awards!”

  1. Nigey says:

    Wilkes most probably got mixed up with the wrong crowd in CT and landed up gooing on a booze and drug binge hence his wanting to be ‘icognito’. So why the heck should the Waterfront management go out of their way to help find him. And if he was a local instead of some tourist, the cops would have cared rocks!!

  2. Dear Nigey

    At the time that Wilkes went missing, one did not know what had happened to him. The V&A Waterfront was best placed to assist the police, as they would have been able to trace his movements once he left the Cape Grace hotel. His friend and Sour Service Award nominee Bernard Gutman makes the point that there are black spots in the V&A’s CCTV coverage, which would not make it safe to drop one’s children off there unsupervised, because they too could disappear into thin air!


  3. Hi Nigey.

    I understand your comment, but such a wild statement needs an answer. Firstly, Wilkes did not go on a binge of any sort. No drugs and nothing than an occasional beer. My mate was in a very bad way, and needs support. The reasons are private, but I hope that you and those close to you never, ever, experience the pain he is going through.

    Secondly, as Chris says – V & A systems, procedures and management were wholly inadequate. They need to sort this out, before there is another tragedy. A couple of weeks ago there was a drowning. Apparently some of the security guards cannot swim nor administer first aid in the event of a water based accident.

    Up to this incident I used to let my kids, aged 12 and 15, walk around the Waterfront. I felt they were safe, with all the cameras and security I had heard of and the Waterfront boasted about. I can no longer do that.

    I don”t know what motivated you to make such an outlandish statement without any personal knowledge, but suggest that before you comment, you try find out the real position. This saga does not need more unfounded speculation.

    Bernard Gutman

  4. Mark says:

    On the subject of V&A management, my partner and I went to the Waterfront last Thursday evening to dine at the new Harbour House at Quay 4. We parked at the clock tower and walked through to the restaurant. On the way we encountered at least two or three uniformed V&A ‘parking attendents’ and then a few more’security’ personnel all messing about, acting inappropriately and doing everything BUT their jobs. During the same walk, and on our way back to our car two hours later, we were constantly harassed by an assortment of beggars, street children, druggies and down and outs. We felt uncomfortable and threatened. I fully realise that we live in desperate times and some people have it very bad in life etc etc BUT the V&A is private property and we paid a small fortune to park our vehicle on their property too. Surely this should give us the assurance that we can visit the place safely and without being harangued and harassed?
    Any suggestions as to how I take this up with V&A management Chris, or am I wasting my time?

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience Mark.

    I too have seen this, and have tried to find security staff in the shopping mall, to no avail. I have been assaulted, and am still waiting for the security staff feedback whether they found the person, who was noticeable in pushing a pram. The security is outsourced.

    Best is to contact the CEO David Green, although it is very difficult to get his office to return calls!


  6. Mark says:

    Thanks Chris

    Perhaps it’s time to put a (small) bomb under the V&A management. I’ll drop David Green a line and, if I don’t receive a satisfactory response (and evidence of some positive action) I’ll take it to the next level.


  7. I am happy to receive a Sour Service Award nomination Mark, if you don’t have a satisfactory response from the V&A.


  8. Mark says:

    Hi Chris

    48 hours in and not a peep out of V&A CEO, David Green, or his PA, through whom I directed the email. Not even an acknowledgement of receipt (in case they’re not bright enough to respond off the cuff and require more time to fabricate an answer).

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised? Just who exactly do these people think they are? Well they’ve picked on the wrong person here.

    I’ll keep you posted. Believe me, a Sour Service nomination from me is the LEAST of their problems!



  9. Thank you for sharing your experience (or lack of) with the V&A Waterfront Mark.

    I too have not been able to speak to Mr Green, and was told that my complaint about having been blocked by his company on Twitter was delegated to head of Marketing Chantelle Cole, who initially appeared very curt and unreasonable in her correspondence regarding the matter. They refused a request for a meeting. In the 11th hour before receiving a second Sour Award last Friday, they unblocked us on Twitter, without explanation or apology!


  10. Mark says:

    Hi Chris

    I’m delighted to report back that yesterday morning I received a very comprehensive response to my complaint from the V&A’s Adri Roux. This was followed up later in the afternoon by a telephone call from “Bobbie” (I neglected to get her surname, although she did give it to me) who also thanked me at length for taking the trouble to contact V&A management, and explained at some length, what further steps they will be taking to address security issues. I was even invited to come down and be taken on an inspection of the facilities and systems that they have in place! I was very impressed with the responses and had all of my expectations exceeded. I’ll obviously keep an eye out on regular future visits to the V&A but, far from considering nominating V&A for a “Sour” Award, I’d be very happy to nominate them for a “Sweet” Award.



  11. That’s excellent news Mark. Perhaps the V&A is getting to understand that it’s better to work with rather than against clients!

    Please e-mail your Sweet Award nomination to whalecot@iafrica.com


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