Entries tagged with “Post Office”.

The Sweet Service Award goes to Tease Hair & Beauty, and its owner Vida Croeser, for her generosity in sponsoring a hair cut and colour without charge, kindly organized by Marina Nestel. Vida has 30 years’ salon experience, but this is her first own salon, which also offers a beauty salon service. Tease has just opened in Green Point. The day after the colour treatment I was one of a number to attend the media launch of Tease. We were sent home with a goodie bag of sample products : Redken All Soft shampoo, Redken All Soft conditioner, The Colossal Volume Express mascara, Label.m Protein Spray, Label.m sunglasses and pouch by Jean-Pierre Braganza, a collection of Agadir and SuperPlex Haircare products, and a voucher for a cut and Redken Chemistry Treatment.  TEASE salon is open seven days a week. 


Incredible Connection 2The Sweet Service Award goes to Incredible Connection in the V&A Waterfront, for offering a keyboard I bought at a reduced price, given that the price on their system was lower than the price on the box!  The computer retailer has a bad reputation for being expensive, in my experience, and I have never had the pleasure of paying less for anything over the years of buying there!




questionnaireThe Sweet Service Award is shared by Woolworths and Multichoice, the latter having one of the worst customer service reputations! Word must have finally got to management about the shocking service levels, and they now send an e-mailed questionnaire once one has interacted with a staff member, referring to various aspects of the interaction with the staff member, mentioned by name and surname. One would have thought that the lady I spoke to did not know about the service (more…)

Pot OfficeThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Post Office in the V&A Waterfront, and its staff member Jacques Jordaan. I went to the Post Office to check why a ring, which I had lost at a B&B in Brockenhurst in the UK, still had not arrived, 6 weeks after it had been posted. I had a tracking number, and was told that it was sitting at CapeMail, the postal head office for our area. Jacques called them, and said that the customs officials there needed a purchase invoice, before releasing it. As I had inherited the ring from my late mother earlier this year, there was none.  I had to go to the Waterfront branch to present my passport in proof of having been in Europe in June/July! The ring was then sent to the Waterfront branch, costing R20 to receive! All the way through the process, Jacques kept me informed by email, with amazingly quick response time to my emails. I had not received any communication from CapeMail that my ring was with them, and that they needed the invoice! (more…)

ABSAThe Sweet Service Award goes to ABSA in Garden’s Centre, for printing out our August bank statement at no charge, as it has not yet been received due to the ongoing postal strike, and was required  to complete the VAT return!  Werner Kleingunther, the branch manager, came to my rescue in printing out the statement from his office, in what threatened to become a half an hour wait in the very busy branch last Saturday, with one staff member short at the Enquiries desk. (more…)

Franschhoek Literary Festival 'It's News to Me' panel Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the Franschhoek Literary Festival I attended a one-hour panel discussion on ‘It’s news to me’, with heavy-weight panelists weighted to print media, a well-attended session.   Ironically the complete communication failure in Franschhoek yesterday meant that no one could Tweet or share via any other form of Social Media what the eminent panel had to say about press freedom.

Ray Hartley was the panel chairman, and works in the Times Media Group, having previously been the editor of the Sunday Times.  He resigned from the position, took a sabbatical, and now has a senior position in the Group.  Much of the panel discussion focused on press freedom, ethics, and the depth of research of journalist’s stories, which were felt to be getting thinner on accuracy and content, much of the material of newspapers coming from Twitter and Reuters feeds. Hartley impressed with his humility and good chairing of the panel. He raised a laugh when he welcomed all the attendees who clearly didn’t get into the sold-out session addressed by Archbishop Tutu.   The topic clearly was of interest, with the Franschhoek High School hall being full.

Janet Heard is a journalist wunderkind, her father Tony having been a well-known and highly regarded editor of the Cape Times.  In 2010 she went to Harvard on a prestigious Nieman Journalism fellowship, and said she returned from the USA surprised about how much transformation had taken place in the newsroom at Independent Newspapers in the time that she was away.  She resigned as deputy editor of the Cape Times earlier this year, and has been appointed as parliamentary editor of all the Media 24 titles.  Heard praised South Africa’s media as being robust with good media voices asking (more…)

As a member of Slow Food Mother City I received an invitation to attend the Green Renaissance workshop on ‘Be Inspired… to forage in your city’ last Thursday in an unusual venue: Heaven Coffee Shop inside the Central Methodist Mission on Greenmarket Square.  It was a most inspiring workshop, and impressed in that other than paying for the hot chocolate, marshmallows and other snacks as well as the talks by the four speakers were all free of charge. It was hosted by Green Renaissance to encourage Capetonians to forage foods on their doorstep, having noticed that foreigners are much more likely to forage in our city.

One would have wished every restaurant chef in the city to have been present, and Chef PJ Vadas of Camphors at Vergelegen expressed regret on Twitter that he had not known about it.

Green Renaissance is a ‘little production company that wants to be inspired by nature’ , its co-owner Michael Raimondo said when he introduced the ‘Be Inspired’ workshop series, its second in two months, and wanting its attendees to leave the workshops inspired to implement what they have learnt, in connecting with nature.  A lot of material was covered, and many botanical names were used, without notes provided, so its was speed writing to take notes.  In between each speaker’s talk, Green Renaissance played a short video it had produced to tie in with a theme, e.g. mussel hunting and cooking, waterblommetjie collecting and stew preparation, mushroom collecting and cooking, the preparation of nettle soup (which is rich in proteins, calcium, and iron, and helps to detoxify the body), and chestnut gathering and preparation. Each one of the videos was short and to the point, using titles only, beautifully shot, each ending with the pay-off line ‘Go Gather’!

(Bruno) Julian Mori, a winemaker, told us that there are so many edible species of sea food on our 2500 km coastline but that little use is made of it.  He warned that one should be careful, never turning one’s back to the sea, one should identify what one eats, and one should be careful about red tide, the mussel growers in Saldanha being the most qualified to provide information on this toxic effect on sealife, which is only safe to eat three weeks or longer after the end of red tide.  Any seafood with a smell should be left in the sea, one should not take risks, and one should harvest at low tide, below the water mark. All food removed from the sea requires a ‘bait’ licence, bought at a Post Office.  He raved about sea lettuce, periwinkle, whelks, ‘alikreukel’, limpets, brown, white and black mussels, sea urchins (which are high in zinc), and clams.  He said that Cape Point and the West Coast are the best places to forage sea food. Contact: julianmori@yahoo.co.uk

Loubie Rusch (right) was a passionate (and fast) speaker, referring to a host of bushes and trees in Cape Town (focusing on the Claremont, Newlands, and Kenilworth area where she appears to live), showing photographs of Wild Plum, Water Berry, Num Num (Natal Plum), and Eugenia, all of which she uses to make jellies and cordials under the KOS brand.  She also gathers ‘spekboom‘ for salads, ‘surings’ for stews (have a fresh sourness), ‘veldkool’ (for soup and stews), wild rosemary, wild sage, ‘suurvye‘, wild fig, geranium flowers, nasturtium (‘kappertjie’) leaves and flowers, nettles, dandelions, many of these ingredients going into pestos or salads.  Making KOS, cell 082 314 7200.

Gary Goldman is known as ‘The Mushroom Hunter’, who has been foraging for eight years, supplying Italian restaurants (Il Leone, Constantia Uitsig) in the main.  When he sees chestnuts fall, he knows it is time to forage mushrooms, to be found in a 50km radius around Cape Town.  He spoke about poisonous mushrooms, saying that those with a sponge (porcini in the main) are safe while those with gills are poisonous. He explained that one should twist the mushroom out of the ground, and push back the soil to close the hole, to allow new mushrooms to grow.  One should not cut the stem with a knife.  Gary was not very complimentary about South African mushroom guides, saying that the original ones with drawings were more reliable than the later ones with photographs.  Porcinis can only be found under oak trees, and sometimes under chestnuts, conifers, and beech trees.  Not all species of oak trees look like oak trees, but they all have acorns, which helps one to identify mushroom growing areas.  He advised that one can air-dry mushrooms, and then place them in the deep freeze, where they can be kept for up to 30 years, maintaining their flavour.  One can keep mushrooms in a brown box in the fridge at 4°C for a few days, but one must not remove the soil until one uses them.  Truffles are problematic, in that it takes 40 years to grow the oak trees that are inoculated with truffle seeds.  Our soil also does not freeze over in winter, which truffles need.  He added that plants surrounding truffles die off.  Contact Gary: gary.goldman@cybernet.co.za.

Bridget Kitley specialises in medicinal herbs, having a nursery outside Stellenbosch from which one can buy a number of plants (she spoke quickly and mentioned mostly botanical names), including sage (which stimulates memory and therefore is good for Alzheimer patients, is used for hot flushes, can whiten one’s teeth, is good for hormonal problems, and heals sore throats). Wilde Els is also used for Alzheimer patients, and can be drunk like a buchu tea, helping to reduce temperatures, and to treat coughs and flu.  Wormwood is good for stomach pain, and helps prevent or heal malaria.  Comfrey heals cuts, chilblains, arthritis, bruises, and prevents migraines. Pennywort helps with ADD, lack of concentration, and stimulates the growth of collagen of the skin.  Potager Gardens, Cell 079 499 2209. www.herb-nursery.co.za

Slow Food Mother City has circulated details of two forthcoming foraging events:

*   Olive picking at Francolin Farm, Alphen Drive, Constantia, tomorrow at 14h30.  Cost is R13 per kg.  Book: leeleith@mweb.co.za

*   Delheim Wild Mushroom Forage on 17 and 18 June at 10h30, at R250 per person inclusive of lunch, led by Gary Goldman. Book: restaurant@delheim.com

The speakers at the Green Renaissance workshop enthused the audience to do their own foraging of free and healthy foods, which are abundantly available in Cape Town and the Winelands!

Green Renaissance, 73 Rose Street, Cape Town. Cell 082 290 0197. www.greenrenaissance.co.za Twitter: @GreenRenaissanc

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Sweet Service Award goes to the Post Office in the V&A Waterfront, for being open on Sundays, and until 19h00 on weekdays, extraordinary business hours for the Post Office.   These customer-friendly business hours are useful to businesspersons who work during the day, and who only are able to get to the V&A after hours and over weekends.


The Sour Service Award goes to the V&A Waterfront and their regularly malfunctioning parking payment machines.   Usually only two of five payment machines work on the movie theatre side, and often the machines do not accept notes but only coins. On a recent Sunday morning, with a busy shopping centre, both booms at the busiest exit to the parking garage did not work.  It took 10 minutes for a staff member to come to frustrated parkers’ assistance, to lift the booms, and to let everyone out of the parking garage.  The new owners of the V&A Waterfront have not made any maintenance improvements yet at what is South Africa’s top tourist destination!

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

The Sweet Service Award goes to Begum Harris of the V&A Waterfront branch of the Post Office.   Not only was the customer impressed with the Post Office being open after 17h00 (the Waterfront and Canal Walk branches stay open until 21h00!) but was surprised about the friendliness of Begum and her colleague, delighted with the speed of her service and impressed when Begum proactively asked if she could certify the photo-copies made of an ID document! 


The Sour Service Award goes to the City of Cape Town’s Solid Waste department dustbin staff, who are disturbing residents of Cape Town with requests for Christmas box donations, as well as to their call centre.   Early last month the bell was rung by three different collectors over two days, as well as yesterday, and the illegal collections were reported to the City of Cape Town call centre.   The Call Centre demanded information about the wording on and colour of the truck and the vehicle registration number, to ensure that they were not bogus collectors.   One wonders why the City does not have inspectors in the suburbs in which dustbin collection is taking place, to check on the behaviour of their staff.  The resident was advised to photograph any further collectors, and to send the photograph to the City, so that it can prove that the collectors do indeed work for the City, and so that disciplinary action can be taken against the staff!   The call centre staff are most unhelpful, and treat one as if one is not telling the truth.   One is not allowed to speak to the Solid Waste department directly.

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.

The Sweet Service Award goes to the Greek Fisherman restaurant in the V & A Waterfront, which generously hosted members of the Camps Bay Accommodation association, as well as other guest house owners, for a dinner earlier this week.   Partnering with Asara wine estate, who sponsored the wines, the restaurant kept a steady flow of Greek specialities such as souvlaki, calamari, mussels, spinach and ricotta ravioli, haloumi cheese, and prawns coming to the tables.   Efaristo!


The Sour Service Award goes to the V & A Waterfront, for its lack of customer care.  As if its lack of concern about the regular feedback in newspapers about its high parking fees, and the resultant public declarations from locals that they will not return to the shopping centre, is not enough, it now has a new way to ensure that Capetonians will stay away from the Waterfront for the next month.  An upgrade of its airconditioning, which commenced last week without warning to customers and tenants, is scheduled to last until 16 November.   During this period an operational level of 20 % airconditioning has been promised.   On Sunday evening a customer picked up the incredible heat in the passage near Melissa’s, as if one had entered an oven, and was told by the Melissa’s staff that the airconditioner was broken.  Thereafter the customer bought a movie ticket for the 3,5 hour long ‘Last Night of the Proms’ at the Cinema Nouveau, and was not told by the staff that the airconditioning was not working there too.  The staff referred the cinema-goer to the notice from the Waterfront’s retail management company Lexshell 44 General Trading (Pty) Ltd., which was stuck on each movie house door.   The Manager at Cinema Nouveau, Liziwe Maningjwa,  was not interested in discussing the matter with the cinema-goer, and in fact told the customer to go to the media, as she was not interested in sorting out the problem.   A visit to Belthazar on Wednesday evening was unbearable, in terms of the extreme heat inside the restaurant, despite all efforts by the restaurant to open all its doors to cool things down.  The restaurant’s biggest concern is keeping its customers, but also importantly its large and expensive stock of wines, cool.  A call from the V & A Marketing department expressed surprise that the customer’s message should go to the media, and communicated that a media campaign is to be launched, to explain to customers that there is a problem with the airconditioning, and that the retail center will set up 25 temporary airconditioners for the next month.   These units have yet to be installed!   The aircon problem affects the whole of the “old” section of the shopping centre – i.e. the wing that was developed originally.  This includes the Red Shed, the food court, both the Nu Metro and Cinema Nouveau movie houses, the offices, restaurants such as Belthezar, Cape Town Fish Market, Krugman’s Grill, Haagen-Dasz, San Marco, Sevruga, Santa Ana Spur, Wang Thai, 221 Waterfront, and Ocean Basket, the Post Office, and all the shops in this wing.   Not only is the V & A Waterfront ripping customers off in terms of parking fees (it cost R 30 for the parking fee to see the movie), but now one can also endure a free unwanted sauna in the V & A Waterfront!

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.