I am bewildered.
In the next little while, we will be travelling 1384 kilometres to Sydney, and while we are there, amongst other things, we will have some tea.
We will be having that tea with a dear friend who is traveling 14474 kilometres to get there.
So, having travelled a combined distance of >17,000 kilometres, we obviously want to make sure we select a venue where we get an excellent cuppa.
So, I did the obvious thing, and checked with a blogger I know in the area.
His suggestions – he had two – consisted of one place I hadn’t heard of, and one I have been connected to on Twitter for years. So, I messaged the latter:
“Long time no chat, but we might well be coming your way shortly. flying to SYD to catch up with another tea blogger. From the US”
And I got a nice positive reply. So I followed up with:
“Can I book a table for 3, <date> at 2 pm?”
I must admit, I was stunned by the reply:
“Hi Robert. We’re not geared up for taking bookings at this stage but you shouldn’t have too long a wait (if at all) when you visit.”
Hmm. Now, some people might have thought “OK, fair enough”.
I didn’t. In fact, I was furious. I mean, I’ve told you guys that three tea people are traveling over 17000kms combined, would like to pop in for an afternoon tea during our short few days together, and you think we should just turn up and see if you can squeeze us in?
I keep going back and forth. Am I being too unreasonable? Do I need to get over myself? Is expecting a busy tea shop to go to all the trouble of writing ‘reserved’ and sticking it on a table asking too much?
I guess for the answer to that, we need to look at the reaction from the other Tea Shop that was recommended. I messaged them on facebook, introduced myself and made the same request. Here’s the reply:
“Hi Robert, yes we have availability on <date> at 2.30pm and can book you in. We don’t serve any light lunches at the shop. We only serve cakes and tea and hope that is still ok? We look forward to meeting you and your guests. Hope you are having a lovely week. Thanks amber”
I think that’s a stark contrast. I then added:
“Cake is the only light lunch worth having. I think we will now be up to 5 as we have invited another tea blogger and his lovely wife.”
And the reply:
“Ok sounds great. I will put you down for five. See you all then”
On reflection, I found the first response can only be explained if we were dealing with a “hospitality” operator who believes they are there to serve their own needs, not their customers’. It’s nonsense of Alice In Wonderland proportions.
So, I think no further comment, except to say that we are visiting “T Totaler”, and we’re sure we’re going to the right place.