During the past couple of months, two bad to bitter experiences led me to reaffirm to myself that I am getting to old for this S#*t.
Episode 1 A PR and SM agency that I knew sent me an email asking me to visit a pub lounge in Juhu. I responded with details and then co incidentally a plan happened so informed them that I was meeting colleagues at the place that day. I received an email asking all details and was informed that they would make a reservation. No reservation! Nobody knew anything. We went, had fun, paid, left. Visited multiple times. But till today neither the agency nor their client have even bothered to come back about the invite and subsequent screwup.
Episode 2 Another agency sent an email asking me visit with friends a place in South Bombay – again a pub and lounge. Time was confirmed, landed up there. We were the only guests there. The servers bunched around as usual were polite and seated us. The supposed manager who was awaiting us, was in one corner hammering or surfing away. We asked for him, spoke, tried out some stuff. Finished and asked for the cheque as I normally do AND am always told that this is on the house etc elsewhere. Here, it was presented immediately with a 75-100 off for a small portion that we had consumed. Friends were shocked but I quietly paid up and we left.
On the way, I responded to the email received from the PR agency, who called up, did not understand and so somebody else called, who said that she herself was a food blogger and why did I ask for the bill? If you ask, restaurants will give? I tried patiently to explain the logic to her; finally was told that she would ensure the owners speak to me the next day and also money would be refunded. I told her ‘Please just leave me alone, lets not prolong this any further’. But, apparently I could not be disappointed so they would organise.
Being a little off due to this exchange, decided to ask other food bloggers, that I am informed:
- As a blogger you’re not supposed to ask for the bill. You asked so they gave.
- My reaction – During my long career, I’ve always asked the manager/agency person and they tell me “It’s taken care of’ And I always leave 10-15% token for the wait staff.
- I was informed that this is not how it works these days; you should not ask.
- What if the staff who do not know (like this place, only the manager knew about it) accost me on the way out.
- Why could the manager not come over when I asked for the cheque
- What is the current scene 🙂 Am I getting old and such etiquette is not required. I am confused.
The answers ranged from – yes that is how it is done (from a person who I respect) to another who said, you should call up the agency and asked them to sort it out. But majority agreed that it was serious miscommunication and should never happen.
I guess this is where Food Bloggers get a bad name. No self respect, as long as there is free food. I get it that this may appeal to the youngsters, but seriously does not.
Attending openings because PR calls, tweeting and instagramming the shit out of the place and then never visiting with your own money is not how I bounce.
The reason of my taking these episodes together: Both the PR and SM agencies are different, BUT the owners of the establishment are the same. Both agency and client have yet to get back to me (forget the refund:)) .
It looks the DNA of the establishment is suspect as far as I’m concerned.