Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Tasty cakes, poor service

Sometime in June I traveled to Arusha by road through the Serengeti fielding a baseball cap to protect me from the dust kicked up by the cars on the unpaved road. I forgot that cap in a café in Arusha.

On 3 August I found a receipt from the café and, in anticipation of another visit to Arusha in eight days, I called them to find out whether they saw my cap. They did and had kept it. On my next visit to Arusha, I was told, I had only to ask for Faith, the manager, and I would happily be reunited with my cap.

On 12 August, on my 51st birthday, I showed up at the café and was told that someone would be sent to the office to collect the cap and bring it to the café. And to a highly anticipated reunion, I thought. I returned that evening and none of the employees on duty had heard of any cap, not to mention a reunion.

I began to sense this was a birthday I would write about. Furthermore, I sensed I was beginning to lose my composure. So I asked the waiter serving me would he please relay a message to whoever has my cap to bring it to the café the following day. He assured me he would.

The next day, about 24 hours later, I showed up at the café to claim my cap and, again, no one had ever heard of a cap, a reunion, or a waiter who guaranteed the previous day that there would a cap and a reunion. The cashier on duty said she would try to call the manager, and I sat down to order the one item that drew me to the café in June: a scrumptious Black Forest cake and an oversized mug of coffee.

Forty minutes later I had paid my bill but it seemed that a vision of manager, cap, or reunion were unlikely this century. The manager could not be reached on the phone.

Incredible, I told the cashier:
  • I called you eight days in advance to announce my arrival
  • I traveled 700 kilometres to reach Arusha
  • I came here yesterday twice to tell you I am already in Arusha
  • I have come back today for the third time in two days

Since I do not live in Arusha, I pleaded with her to accept ten thousand shillings from me to pay for mailing my cap to me. She said she could not accept the money. She pleaded with me to have some patience [and faith?] and wait for Faith, the manager. I said I could not, and walked away.

As I explained to the cashier, the cap had no value to me. I had responded to their telling me that they had it, and I was only furious because they had made me waste my time by failing to fulfill their own promises.
A street in Arusha.
There is no way that the incident will prevent me from enjoying my Black Forest in Arusha, but it won’t be at the same place. I am afraid that the constant reminder of their appalling ability to communicate amongst themselves would make me choke even if I just sat at the café to breath. Faith and company swept away any faith I had in them when they initially assured me they had kept my cap.

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