Last night Eat Out presented its 2016 Western Cape Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eatery Award winners, the second year that the awards have been presented provincially (previously presented nationally), and are less controversial than last year, with one exception! Continue reading →
The Sweet Award goes to Paarl Motors for effortlessly dealing with a customer’s car for a service, in collecting it from and dropping it off in Franschhoek, returning it beautifully cleaned, and charging an affordable price for the service, even though the vehicle is three years old. The customer sent her Garage Card along for payment, and it was returned safely, and payment taken efficiently.
The Sour Award goes to Boulder’s Beach and its management, the National Parks Board. Penny Klann, a registered tour guide, writes as follows:”National Parks is paranoid about letting people in without paying at the penguins at Boulders Beach (and at other tourist attractions such as the Cape Point nature reserve) and have instructed staff at these paypoints to check the tour guide’s i.d. card to make sure that they are a bona fide tour guide. Tour guides go in for free, as we ideally like to accompany our pax to see the penguins in order to give information to our pax about these fascinating birds. I have been going there on a regular basis as a tour guide for 15 years, and in the past year it has become irritating to say the least to be treated by these pay-point officials as if I am trying to get in illegally. For a while I had a tour guide card i.d. which had expired, but I had already paid up my new membership and was waiting for the new card to arrive. I explained this to the woman at the gate (who was intent on wielding her authority and blocking my access, as well as the 40 German tourists I had who were champing at the bit to get in to see the penguins, not to mention other tourists also waiting in the queue). As she would not accept that I was a paid-up official tour guide (in spite of my badge and the fact that my 40 tourists all obviously were with me), I showed her my Wild Card. This should have allowed me in without paying, even without a tour guide card, but – no – the woman insisted that I should show her my ID document to prove that I was the correct card holder. Unfortunately my Driver’s Licence was in the coach, parked some 400 metres away… and I tried to explain this to her, but she was determined to undermine and humiliate me in every way she could. She forbade me from going in with my pax, which meant I had to wait outside the gates and let my 40 German tourists go in without me. They were absolutely gobsmacked, and I felt like I was a criminal. These pax had had me guide them around the whole of South Africa for 2 weeks, and now their guide was being barred from entering a site of prime importance on their tour itinerary! Yesterday I was at the penguins with 2 high-profile VIP guests, and the woman at the gate studied my Tourist Guide ID card for a long time, and then said “You are not registered for the Western Cape”. I realised that she was looking at the back of my card, which lists the provinces for which I am registered. In my case, because I am a National Tour Guide, it states “All provinces”, which was obviously too complicated for this woman to understand. She got very uptight when I explained to her that the reason she didn’t see the province Western Cape mentioned is because I am registered for all provinces. Do these officious-minded people who work at this pay point have nothing better to do than be sour, unwelcoming and downright pathetic? They should be glad to have a job at one of the world’s most popular, charming tourist sites. They should be making the tour-guides who bring them paying customers feel welcome, not be intent on humiliating us in front of our pax. Why would we tour-guides want to get in for free in any case if not for the service of providing our pax with commentary? We tour guides have all seen the penguins countless times!”
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.