Monday, 27 January 2014

Locals vote with their feet and run away from 'The Deck' Currumbin




Living in a tourist destination is all very well. I am minutes from the 'Best beach in the World' and if I was into Theme parks then I would be in ride heaven. There are lots and lots of places to eat and drink and I am definitely spoilt for choice about where to swim for the 9 glorious months of swimming weather.

The Goldie has a permanent population of more than half a million people. Now most of these people, like me, have come from somewhere else, and many do not call it home for ever. Yeh it is a fairly transient group, but a sizeable group nonetheless. The residents are the folk who keep small businesses going during the lean months when the tourists stay at home and educate their kids or ski the slopes, so wouldn't you think that it would be wise to treat the locals with at least a little respect as you go about grabbing their cash.

I suppose I must be a bit of a loon to go to a café very near the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary - a popular destination for Goldie visitors. Expecting that any proprietor near here gives a bugger for the locals, is just plain bloody stupid. But stupidly I headed off to The Deck for breakfast because the view is spectacular and Dog can sit under the table if we sit at a footpath table. It always seems a bit expensive so it doesn't pay to spend too much time looking at the prices.

Today we had bacon and poached eggs $14 ea and mugs of cappuccino $5, so a bit less than 40 bucks for breakfast, why not for a treat. Steve went to pay and as no bill was issued he was busy working out the charges in his head. $3.75 for something and then a whopping 16% surcharge because it is a public holiday, all up $48 and some change.

Now there were no doubt some locals there ( I reckon a dog means local ) but there were lots of foreign accents and aussies from afar. The foreigners, I imagine when standing next to the cash register would be busy doing a calculation back to their native currency and so would  not be  too worried about the dollar maths and when on holiday, maybe you get more blasé about it all.

I reckon NOT issuing a bill means that the punters are not given time to question the charges and most of us are unlikely to stand there and do the math in our heads and make a fuss. So the place wins more often than not.

I got shitty about all this especially after an altercation at the pictures on Saturday over a $6 post mix diet coke. So I rang the café on our way home. The owner / manager was too busy to come to the phone. She rang me back and my first impression was that she had not been slapped too hard with the manners stick. She didn't bother introducing herself. She said she wouldn't have charged me $3.75 for the teaspoon of jam and that if I fancied driving the 50 km round trip she would give me $4 back ( this didn't cover the surcharge, but I let it ride) She told me she was entitled to charge whatever she wanted and that she had a sign up for  a week or so and that there was a notice somewhere on the menu. I agreed that she was entitled to charge what she liked and I was entitled to vote with my feet and go elsewhere.

Really she needed some lessons in customer service. Her manner was brittle and dismissive and rather unpleasant.

The beach at Elephant Rock is beautiful and Dog loves going there, so we will be back, but next time we'll try The Shack just a few hundred metres away. That's the thing about a tourist destination, there is always another café / restaurant / bar not too far away.