Running a business, big or small, nation-wide or local, is no easy task. Teashop, tearoom, and café owners deal with an especially tricky set of circumstances. Some are odder than others, as shown here. They also can behave a bit odd themselves.
Bugged by the Competition
That’s ‘bugged’ in the literal entomological sense, not the electronic or emotionally irksome sense. Diane Bryant and Magda Wencel opened a tea shop in a smart Berkshire village, hoping to attract some of the area’s celebrity residents and up-market clientele. The shop came complete with a letter slot in the door for the postman to slide letters and small packages through. Apparently, someone thought that 50 cockroaches would be a nice “welcome to the neighborhood” present to slide through the slot, but the owners were less than pleased. (I have no idea how long it took them to round up and count those cockroaches nor if they may have missed one or two.) Talk about good intentions gone awry … or a competitor trying to create a bad situation. It certainly generated some press coverage here.
A Sporting Chance
Have a favorite sports team? Own a tearoom? Why not bring those two interests together? That’s what Caroline Dwen, owner for almost 15 years of Rosy Lee’s Tea Room in Loddon, UK, did. She invited the Norwich City Canaries (a football, aka soccer, team) to have breakfast there as a show of support (the team isn’t doing so well right now). She and one of her waiters are die-hard fans. She even offered to serve a lighter alternative to the tearoom’s classic full English breakfast so they wouldn’t be violating their training regimen. No word in this article about whether the invitation was accepted or not.
When the Gentle Touch Doesn’t Work
New York City has quite a reputation for rudeness. So, it seems, do the owners of a tearoom/café called Temporary Measure in Keswick, Cumbria (the Lakes District of Britain). The Smalleys (Emma, brother John, and mother Jacqui) say their curmudgeonly ways are expected, since they are from and living in the northern part of Britain. Customers complain of not feeling welcome (rather important to the British) and of generally poor service. Complaints have been posted repeatedly online, prompting Emma Smalley to respond, saying in essence ‘hey, that’s who we are.’ Her brother John is the quiet moody type who tends not to chat with the customers. Frankly, I prefer serving staff that don’t get chatty. Her full reply to critics is priceless – see it here.
The list could go on and on, but the main point is not to be surprised by what you encounter in a teashop or tearoom near you.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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