At home I can make six cups of filtered coffee in four minutes from scratch. Pick ‘n Pay catering take fifteen minutes to pour a coffee already made, and only then after the customer has gone to the counter to force service.
What is sad and frustrating is that this sort of poor service quality is very common. What is as common is the blank look of disbelief when you remark the service is slow. The manager even took the time to come over to me and explain that “they were short staffed”, and indeed told me so three times during a conversation I did not want to have. Thus it is also very common for a person who has no excuse to repeat the only “excuse” they can come up with several times, as if repetition would make if more understandable explanation. What they really need to understand is that staffing levels are not a customer’s concern: service is.
Perhaps Pick ‘n Pay management would like to send its staff to Europe for a year of training to acclimatise to true quality service, and to be embarrassed into realising just how bad and inept they are. And while I am picking on Pick ‘n Pay, why is it that the till staff have to have animated, chatty conversations with each other across the customer’s air space?
Shopping for me in South Africa has become generally an unpleasant experience. It is almost as if customers are seen as a nuisance, a sort of unnecessary interruption in a self-centred staff experience. There are an increasing number of effective online shopping services available – a sort of occasional escape route. But there will always be reasons to visit shopping malls, restaurants and the like. Maybe reduced activity in the shops might improve competition and encourage better quality services.