The Sweet Service Award goes to the Grand Café in Robertson, and its owners Simon and Wendy Bernstein. Four times in the past month we have passed through the town between Franschhoek and Plettenberg Bay, and have found their service to be friendly, the cappuccinos are excellent (the beans come from Strictly Coffee across the road), they offer good value, and we discovered the time-saving benefit in ordering from the car, half an hour before arrival. Wendy organised a photocopy of their menu for us to keep in the car. On Wednesday we arrived at the coffee shop at 16h00, the closing time, unbeknown to us, but Wendy and Simon showed their customer care in staying open for an extra half an hour.
The Sour Service Award goes to Kodak Express in Stellenbosch Square, and is nominated by Erica Meles-Liebenberg (we have edited it to shorten it): “Having gone there for an Australian passport photo I was very clear on the specifications, the most important being that the facial dimensions on the print be no less than 32mm and no more than 36mm in length. The young lady taking the photo disregarded my instructions, stating that “we take passport photos all the time”. I explained that this was not a local passport photo, but she shrugged my comments off, and insisted that I remove my scarf and all traces of hair from my face; neither of which are stipulated in the specifications from the Australian High Commission in Pretoria – and the latter of which is impossible given my short fringe. When I objected she asked if the photo was for a Schengen visa, at which point I repeated that the image was for an Australian passport. When the photo was finally taken I was sent away while it printed, and when I returned to my dismay the facial length was less than 28mm. When I raised my concerns she insisted that this was acceptable for passports, at which point I said that I would not pay for the image. Her supervisor came over and said he would arrange a larger reprint as the image was clearly too small. I instructed him about the correct dimensions – he too explained that this was their core business and he knew the correct dimensions. Again I explained that this is an Australian passport; he replied that they frequently take photographs for such passports. He returned with a photo with a facial length of 30mm and when I refused to pay he said “look, if you don’t pay, the staff will have to pay”. I lost it and said that R38 hardly compared to the courier fees should the application be returned, not to mention the lengthy delays and waste of time for all involved. The store proprietor stepped in and suggested that he reset the machine to a maximum length of 36mm, but the final print was still only 31mm in facial length. I gave up and paid, thinking that perhaps I could scan the image in and resize it correctly myself – which has proven futile, so the images have been binned. At no stage did any of the members of staff apologise, nor acknowledge my attempts to explain why strict adherence to the guidelines was so important”.
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 email@example.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.