Friendly 7 Eleven Sweet and Cape Town Tourism Sour Service Awards


The Sweet Service Award  goes to Friendly 7 Eleven at Regent Road, Sea Point, and was nominated by Rosemary Gough.  “On Monday morning I went to draw cash (R1500) at the ATM in the Friendly 7 Eleven.   I had 3 staff members urgently waiting for the cash, so I didn’t even check the amount which I received – being more worried about giving out to my workers.  On Thursday morning I went back into the shop to get a coffee and after I left one of the staff called me back to say the manager wanted to see me.   It turns out I had left R100 in the machine and one of the staff had noticed and handed it in to the manager. When the staff member saw me back in the shop he alerted the manager to who I was and they gave me back my money.  This is something I never thought possible in today’s world, that people could be that honest”. 


The Sour Service Award  goes to Cape Town Tourism and its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, who has taken our criticism about her over-optimistic evaluation of the state of the tourism industry over the festive season, and her incorrect definition of the period when Cape Town will next experience a peak, demonstrating that she is out of touch with our industry, personally.  She made the errors when she commented to journalists about the festive season whilst on a two week holiday in Pringle Bay, in a period in which Cape Town was at its busiest, and during which Cape Town Tourism members suffered due to snow-stuck tourists staying away.   Cape Town Tourism did not comment on this devastating event and its effect on the hospitality industry to its members, not while it occurred nor subsequently, as if it never happened.  Mrs Helmbold has retaliated to our feedback by posting an attacking blogpost on the Cape Town Tourism blog; posting a detailed defensive comment on our blog, which we published; wrote a libelous and defamatory Tweet on Twitter; censored us by removing us from the Cape Town Tourism media list; and blocked us on Twitter.  In her newsletter sent to Cape Town Tourism members yesterday, Mrs Helmbold acknowledged her error in her definition of the next peak season, without an apology or acknowledgement to us.  Whale Cottage Camps Bay is a member of Cape Town Tourism, and Mrs Helmbold’s actions are personal retaliation and unprofessional, given her organisation’s duty to market Cape Town and to build relationships with the media and its members.   Her colleague Skye Grove, PR Manager of Cape Town Tourism, received a Sour Service Award in October, for similar unprofessional behaviour.

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   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 website.

11 replies on “Friendly 7 Eleven Sweet and Cape Town Tourism Sour Service Awards”

  1. Rosemary says:

    Thanks for sharing my sweet experience. It’s great for people to know that there are still places where honesty is a valued virtue.

  2. Kath says:

    Hi Chris
    I read your earlier post on Cape Town Tourism’s unfounded comments and now to read the response you received makes me even madder!

    (So mad that I blogged about it –

  3. Mariette du Toit-Helmbold has quite a miserable reputation from our experience for a long time. She lured us years back into her “exclusive” scheme of “into the Cape and beyond…” and while defrauded us of 4.400,- Rand as a 50 % deposit to promote us (amongst other Guest Houses) which we never were refunded after her new aim was to step into higher spaces of Cape tourism. All attempts to receive any monies back were fruitless and at the end the sum was not high enough to take any legal action. Instead of easing this failure of unprofessional conduct and inviting us into a new idea of Tourism promotion all our attempts get into contact with her were completely fruitless. In a way it does not make me wonder about her attitude regarding the present situation. This lady is totally absent of our common ground.

    Anyway, this without sour feelings but lessons from the past and recognition of real unprofessional people in this industry

    Christoph Neumann
    Lézard Bleu Guest House

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience Christoph.

    I am not sure what is happening at Cape Town Tourism, and with its CEO specifically. I have always had the highest regard for her.


  5. Dear Kath

    A very belated THANK YOU for your support, and blog post.

    Very much appreciated


  6. Dear Rashid from Future Cape Town

    I appreciate that you are a supporter of Cape Town Tourism, but this is my blog, and when you disparage me and my blog, I will not publish your comments.

    If you have something positive to contribute, I will gladly publish it.


  7. Kath says:

    Hi Chris
    It was a pleasure – good fun to cause a bit of a stir! Although its reasonably ridiculous how personal everyone gets. Hope you’ve got a thick skin 🙂

    Have a good day 🙂

  8. The personal attacks are a very sad side of what I call “unsocial” media!

    And yes, the skin grows thicker by the day.


  9. David Elton says:

    Mariette du Toit-Helmbold opined in a Travelwires blog, that Cape Town’s appointment as host city for the Loeries, SA’s ad industry awards, proved conclusively that Cape Town is the creative capital of South Africa (I’m not decrying Cape Town’s creativity) conveniently forgetting that the event celebrates nationwide creativity.

    My comment on that blog, that Cannes never hails itself as the world capital of creativity, just because a worldwide creative jamboree – the Cannes Lions Festival – is held there for a week each June, elicited no response from Marie-Antoinette du Toit-Humbug.

    I suppose after next week’s mining conference in Cape Town, we’ll all be wearing hard hats with lamps on the front.

  10. I love it David!

    I look forward to regular contributions from you – keep going.


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