What is it with customer service and worst of all call centres it was my luck to have two problems on the same day.
I trundled off to The Five Rooms Restaurant at the Alphen Hotel in Constantia on Thursday night to listen to visiting expat Capetonian composer and saxophonist Mark Ginsberg, who’d let me know he was to be playing at the venue, a place I’d not visited in ages. On arrival I was greeted with a warm, friendly smile by the hostess who asked where I’d like to be seated, as I was alone I said the bar
would do fine. The atmosphere was warm and was busy. After a while I finally got the bar persons attention to get a beer to slake my thirst, but was disappointed to see the only beer on tap was Castle or Pironi, not being a Castle fan of long standing, there was little choice as when I’m in a pub I always like to enjoy a draft. It’s a real shame being forced forced to settle on the Pironi rather than the Castle or bottled beer. I would have thought the Alphen Hotel would have had a couple of Craft beers on tap at such an lovely “Olde World” pub.
The band started off and what a band it was, Mark blowing the sax with Andrew Lilly playing the keyboard Mike Campbell plucking the electric bass with Kevin Gibson keeping the beat behind his drum kit, all well season jazz musicians, and the standard showed in the they music
played. The standout tune of the first set for me was Winston Mankunku Ngozi’s Yakhal’ Inkomo,
Mark seemed to have been channelling the late Winston, it is a sublime rendition to my way of thinking as memories flooded back of hearing and interacting with the impish Mankunku so many times in the living years, there was even a tear brought to my eye. The band played as if they’d been playing together for years.
I looked at both of the menus and settled on what I wanted to order from the Lounge Menu, in the meanwhile I was seat smack dang in the middle of a busy thoughrafarewith waiters and the manager sculling all over the place and not one asked if I needed assistance. The lounge area and other rooms were where all the attention was focused. I don’t for a minute believe any of the staff didn’t see that my intention was to order. Musically I enjoyed the evening and with two drafts down, I was hungry so decided to head home and on the way, stop off at the
Steers at the Engen Service Station close to home in Claremont, another huge mistake. On arriving at the service counter the staff were milling around nattering away to one another taking no notice of me as a customer. After a good 7 minutes or so one of the counter servers finally decided to take my order on a Hero Roll medium rare with Chips, second mistake. Then another crowd of staff arrived and yep you guessed it another round of story telling. Waiting patiently for my order and not a manager in sight I eventually the food, and headed home. On the way home I munched on the hot chips and arrival I plated the
Hero and remainder of the Chips. The Hero was a soggy mess so sauce laden, the roll just fell to pieces on being picked up with the steak, lettuce and tomato going all over the place. Then got a Knife and Fork to try to eat the thing after washing all the sauce off my hands. The steak was very overcooked and like cardboard which I could not eat and in disgust disposed of. Steers claim to have the best chips of all burger joints by using real potatoes but they tasted rancid like the oil had been used 4 or 5 times too long. A horrendous night out and on a really terrible rainy night of which I think the rain and the jazz was the best thing.
I complained to both organisations managements and have not heard much from the Alphen Hotel, the restaurant manager who I called the day after to register my dissatisfaction did not even bother to say that they’d get back to me with an update on the status of my complaint, all she said was she hoped that I would give them a try again. After a really torrid time in trying to get the contact details first from the Steers Call Centre, I finally managed to find the phone number of the regional Steers office from the Steers corporate website, note, not the actual Steers website and left a message for someone to call me. That happened around two hours later the management person was sympathetic and helpful and said the regional manager would call
me to update me on the status of my complaint. That was Thursday evening, a night to remember and to forget. that jazz was really try good and the only redeeming thing of a wasted night, I look forward to the weekend rain and all, and will get the Klutz In The Kitchen to make a huge pot of to keep on hand so as to have something nutritious handy when something of the nature occurs again.