Monday, June 12, 2017

The Fat Malusu Drooling Waitress

When I sat down, her lips were drooling malusu on the bar counter, eyes wide open and focused on the television set pinned to the wall. I couldn’t see what she was watching but going by the dialogue, it was some soap of sorts.

A minute later when she registered there was a customer, she frowned and screwed up her face – almost like I had walked in at the most inappropriate time and if she came to tend to me, she would miss out on the plot. So her lips stayed drooling malusu on the bar, her eyes narrowed and she continued to watch. And I sat there muttering a string of tumbavu’s under my breath.

Normally I would have walked up to her and not only assured her, but also given her a lecture on the importance of customer care, but I wasn’t in the mood. “Not today TB” so I told myself.

Waitress at Work. She is not the one depicted in the story
Customer care in Uganda is wanting. Few of those pretty but extremely daft girls that corporate companies hire to front their businesses have an understanding about it. Once in uniform, they stand there with a bland look that reads: “Please don’t come to me. Go to the other girls. I have not had lunch and I need 2k for boda to take me home which, I don’t have.” Hmm!

Getting back, when Waitress eventually clawed her lips from slavering malusu on the counter, she slithered over in the slowest of slow motions, stood before me and you will never guess what her first words were - not ‘welcome’ or ‘good afternoon’.

Rather, it was a loud shrill of sook’ojje (first come) and directed at Hawker walking by. After getting him to show her dozens of hair bands and accessories and haggling with him for almost five minutes, she briskly told him she doesn’t have the money and sent him packing. Then she turned round to me, swirled the opener on her index finger and stared at me. So I stared back at her. After a two minute standoff, she turned on her heels and in slow motion took her very large butt back to her soap where I distinctively heard her telling colleague that: “Customer is not telling me what he wants. What am I supposed to do?” That calls for an ‘hmm’ don’t you think?

But not all customer care stories are horror stories. I was at Nampeera’s in Soya and glued on the door is a poster that reads: “Premium Quality Offer. Buy 4, get 1 Free” - a promotion that runs every Friday and Saturday. I reminded Maria who works there, that I was there the previous Friday and had bought four beers but didn’t get my freebie. In her defence, she said it was not her fault but that of the UBL who didn’t deliver the freebie drinks. She also advised that I to talk to Young Lady who was replacing posters.

Promotion: The Offer at Nampeera's

When I explained to Young Lady who works for UBL – Valerien Namuli, she didn’t give me one of those “so what do you want me to do” looks. Instead and with purpose, she went and had a chat with Maria, came back and profusely apologised stating that there was a communication breakdown then offered two TMLs on the house to sooth my ruffled ego.

The other day, I was having a chat with Charlotte Beauvoisin, a travel writer, who told me of her experience in an Uber cab. That no sooner had she sat down than greetings were forthcoming including offering her a variety of magazines and newspapers she could read during the trip. Plus he also offered her complimentary bottled water and hand wipes!

Uber Experience: Charlotte Beauvoisin
Now, Namuli and Uber Driver, certainly have the right approach to customer care! 

Pictures: New Vision, Charlotte Beauvoisin    

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