Sunday, August 26, 2012

I don’t care who you are sir, please wait your turn!

Today, while on the queue at the Lekki Toll for almost 15minutes my friend indirectly tagged me a liar because she couldn't understand/believe how my car could be number 4 on the queue for 12 minutes.

I wasn’t lying, I was actually on the same spot for 15minutes because some people didn’t see the need to queue at the back but decided to jump the queue as if the rest of us of on that queue didn’t have important places to go.

There are more and more impatient Lagosians surfacing, people who cannot join or form a proper queue. Some of these people actually look very responsible in nice cars but deliberately refuse to remember the reason the queuing system was invented.

I learnt how to queue early in life right from primary school when we had to stand in line at the assembly ground and file in a single line to our classrooms, in secondary school when we had to queue to do every single thing such as; walk to school from the boarding house, buy snacks during break and meals during lunch. This is why when I went to school in the UK I didn't have any issues with the queuing system at all. In fact I loved it because it eliminated chaos and one is certain that at some point it will be ones turn. This is probably how the phrase “taking turns” came about.

It disturbs me a lot when people act as though they cannot understand the purpose behind queuing. They want good service but are not ready to put themselves in the position to receive it. Why should one be on a queue and other people try to cheat their way through by jumping the queue. This can be very very annoying. If you want good quality service, you should get yourself ready to accept it by doing your own part.

I was on the queue at Barcelos to buy a loaf of hot bread , then came a man frowning and stylishly walking to the front and next thing I heard were people shouting " Oga (in this context, a gentleman in which one is not so acquainted with), can't you see there is a queue?" I mean, why embarrass yourself?

At the cinema on Tuesday, while we were on the queue waiting to buy a movie ticket, a lady just walked her way to the front ignoring the queue totally. I remember hearing somebody say to the cashier “excuse me please can you attend to those on the queue first?".. I can write a book on different scenarios of people jumping queues and yes! on several occasions I have joined to either give them a “don’t even try it” look or just sarcastically say “there is a queue please”. It annoys me.

I heard some people complaining the other day that Nigerians are sometimes treated as goats, but I am sorry I think at times we put ourselves in that position by not adhering to simple rules.
Do we need to be flogged with koboko (whip) before we can obey rules?

I don't know if other people feel the way that I do about this queuing issue? What are your views on people who jump queues and how do you usually react?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bungalow….Waiter goes "Boss" crazy

On a very rainy day just as my friend and I were getting ready to leave church, I got a message from my dearest saying “ hungry? we should do lunch”. I was over the moon considering that I had left the house early in the morning with no food in my stomach and the service at church was running much longer than I had thought, I was very excited to reply “yayyyyy”.

Contemplating on where to go for a nice lunch, my dearest suggested we went to Bungalow. At first I wasn’t really sure just because I hadn’t eaten there in 3 or 4 years. I didn’t know what the place would be like now in 2012. But I remained hopeful.

We got inside the restaurant and thanks to my very sensitive nose, the first thing I smelt was raw sea food. Well, I am not sure if they had just recieved a delivery or hunger playing games on me and my nose, whatever it was that I smelt, I didn’t like and that just made me more anxious about the food I was going to eat for both lunch and dinner.

We were welcomed by a waiter who took us to a seat that I instantly complained about. It was right in front of the air-conditioning unit. The waiter was very smart (he read my lips), he turned the AC off and I relaxed a little bit.

He brought the menu but I wasn’t quite sure of what I wanted to eat. Two different pastas on the menu caught my attention and I decided to ask the waiter what the difference was.
He answered vaguely “the ingredients” I thought “right, thanks for not helping”.
I placed my order. A few seconds later I took the menu again and turned to the last page. What I saw excited me and I changed my order from pasta to prawn teppanyaki and chicken teriyaki(delicious picture above). That was the best decision ever!

Our drinks and starters rolled in very fast. We had succulent chicken wings, calamari and delicious spring rolls accompanied with some in-house sauce , finger licking, they were lovely. As we were finishing our starters, our main meal came. Our food looked beautiful. We dug in, and it tasted as beautiful as it looked(the picture above).

Everything was right, nothing was wrong. The portions were very generous, I was overjoyed. Happily, I munched away. The food was fantastic. I asked the waiter to pack both our leftovers. As I sat there I was already dreaming of eating both leftovers for dinner.

The waiter was ok but he kept addressing my dearest as “Boss”. I wasn’t sure what I thought about that.
Why couldn’t he just say “Sir”? is “Boss” professional?
Anyway the whole service was nice. It would have been nicer if the waiter was able to make an effort to suggest something for me to eat when I needed his help.
Also the way he kept saying “ yes boss” “ok boss” “how is your food boss?” irritated me

I am not really a fan of over familiar waiters. It is nice to address customers as “Sir” or “Ma” and if they are real royalties “Your Royal Highness”, the president? “Your Excellency” but keep the "Boss" tittle for your “boss”

Apart from the waiter going “Boss” crazy, we had a lovely meal and time at Bungalow, just like old times.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Starvation at a wedding...

Yesterday I went for a traditional wedding. It was a very very elaborate one with almost four to five thousand guests and a lot of prominent citizens including governors and first ladies. Everyone was talking about this wedding; I didn't want to be the only one missing out. I wanted to see everything life! So I made a huge effort to look nice and be there.

My friends and i got to the wedding at about 4pm and were impressed about how nicely decorated and spacious the venue was, the planner took time to create enough passage space and the whole place didn't look over crowed. There were ushers beautifully dressed standing at every corner and already I was happy to be there. We got a nice table and sat there after we took a few minutes to say hello to other people we knew.

Ok so thirty minutes passed, we sat and looked, no waiter or usher had approached us to ask what we would like to eat or drink. One hour passed... No waiter still!. A few minutes after one hour a waiter came offering me a drink. I took a can of sprite reluctantly just because I wasn't sure when something else to eat or drink would come my way again.

Two hours later we were still sitting there no waiter no food! My friends and I were getting very hungry. This made me think back to when I was a little girl and my dad used to make sure I ate something even if it was a little before I went to a party. He would say "just in case you don't get offered any food there, at least you won't starve before you come back home". I don't know why I didn't take to this advice on this very day. I was very hungry

My hunger for something to eat caused me to begin to lose interest in the party. We finally found a waiter and asked if we could have some food. He told us there wasn't any more food. The food was finished, he explained. I was shocked! How could we be invited to a party such as this and 2 hours after we got to the party no one had offered us something to eat and when we finally found a waiter he said the food was finished!

The ushers just stood there looking pretty in their fancy outfit. The only thing they were good for was just decoration for us to look at. My friends and I started talking about parties and how people spend so much money decorating and getting fresh flowers, crystals and artists to perform but forget to emphasis on the fact that their guests must be fed. Why invite people to a wedding and leave them sitting there starving? The bride and groom's family spend so much on caterers but at the end of the day what happens? People end up not eating.

After about 3 hours of waiting and lamenting, we finally found a waiter who my friend gave some money so that he could bring us some food. And guess what? He brought us food! The food looked nice but wasn't all that tasty, but I was so hungry I didn't even have a choice. We told the same waiter that if he could get us some small chops we would give him more money, you can imagine what happened, the fresh small chops came rolling in piping hot, in fact we had more than enough to eat.
We had to pay a waiter to get us food at a wedding!

Most parties I have attended, ushers came to meet you and made sure you were okay, they try to get you some food and made sure that you had enough to eat and drink. They literally acted as hostesses (don’t know why they call them ushers)
But not this party, the ushers were just standing there looking like statues.

Honestly I am not sure who to blame, the family footing the bill or the event planner?
Some event planners take on events that are too big for them to manage. I honestly think that this isn't fair. At the same time some people give out five thousand invitations for their wedding then order food for only four thousand guests! What are the remaining one thousand guests suppose to eat, the fresh flowers on the table?

I mean, I believe in cutting ones coat according to the available fabric. Only invite the number of people you can cater for or instead of ordering those extra mood lights or chandeliers why not put that money towards more food for the guests. Guests like to come to a nice place, but how can they even enjoy the nice place if they are hungry?

When a guest honours an invitation, they must be treated well. They leave their homes and get themselves all the way to the venue; it’s only fair to give them a good reception. The event planner should treat guests like customers; give them whatever they want so that they are comfortable (as long as it is available at the party and for the guests). If for some reason the food finishes, then as a planner you can make other plans. Give the guest a drink, cake, fruits or something. Just act like you are doing what you were paid for.

What’s the point of being a smiley faced planner if the guests at the party you planned were unsatisfied?

The best thing is to eat before leaving your house you can leave a little space in your stomach just in case you get served something nice. But apart from that never go to a party that you or your family didn't organise, expecting to be fed.
Now I understand why some of our mothers carry a big cooler of food to their friend’s party, at least if the food finishes, there would be something to fall back on.

What are your views on elaborate weddings but no food for guests? Who should take the blame, the wedding planner or the family footing the bill? Do you have a favourite event planner?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mr Biggs...gone to sleep?

Mr Bigs is a household name in Nigeria, a brand that is very famous for it pastries and food. when i was much younger, Mr Bigs was where i loved to go. My parent wanted to give me a treat? they gave me money to go there and have a good time. I loved Mr Bigs as a young child.

What about now?

Nowadays, some people say they can never be caught dead at Mr Bigs, to them it is very low class and would be degrading if spotted there (rolling my eyes) i dont feel that way!

The only problem i have with Mr Biggs is it's many inconsistent franchises especially this particular one close to my office.

The food in this particular one is appauling, the pastries are sometimes stale, infact this type of franchise is the reason why people say the service and food at Mr Biggs has deteriorated.

On several occassions when i sent my office assistant there to get me some pastries he always came back with stories, either they had run out(which i knew was not true, they probably didnt make any that day), their generator was faulty or they were just simply not making scotch eggs for that day. Imagine! a franchise where rent has to be paid, utility bills and salaries too, why didnt they want to make money, what are they there for if not to produce pastries?

The other day i sent my assistant there again, he came back with a susage roll that tasted bad, that roll must have been at their resturant for atleast 2days, they had probably been re-heating and re-heating it till it got to me the final consumer and upon the hot state that it reached me in, it still tasted off. I was so angry, I spat it out and threw the rest in the bin.

Meanwhile i have had pasteries from other Mr Biggs franchises that tasted really really good. Infact there was one scotch egg i ate about a month ago from another franchise that was fantastic . It was honestly the best scotch egg i had ever had. Come back to the one close to my office, their slogan should be
"we deliver crap all the time".

Yesterday, i sent for scotch eggs and guess what they came in? serviettes!! they probably ran out of those white little bags so they sold them in servittes.
Two scotch eggs sold and wrapped in one serviette.
Why didnt they just wrap it in old news paper then i would have really gotten the message.

The horrible thing is; i love Mr Biggs's scotch eggs and this annoying franchise is the closest place to my office to get one. Like a typical Nigerian, i keep accepting crap and re-purchasing it. Anyway, i wont be buying any more pasteries from that Mr Biggs because at this rate they might really hurt not only my emotions but my stomach. So what i have decided to do now is, buy 10scotch egss from that franchise that make good ones then freeze it so i can take one to work everyday.

The Mr Biggs next to my office needs to shut down or wake up, they are a waste of space. Even the roasted corn seller down the road does a better job delievering good service, atleast she sells fresh corn.

What do you think about Mr Bigs? do you think they have really deteriorated? would you be caught dead eating their products?