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to think this woman is unreasonable and a bit of an idiot?

(30 Posts)
TandB Thu 08-Sep-11 10:01:07

DS's nursery is in a leisure centre which also has a cafe. The cafe is privately run but obviously under the terms of a contract with the leisure centre who own the space and all the fixtures and fittings.

The owner of the business is, quite simply, a thoroughly unpleasant woman who appears to take positive pleasure in annoying and inconveniencing her customers. She has a massive bee in her bonnet about anything being brought into the cafe area (which is open plan and sort of merges with some non cafe seating if that makes sense) that she hasn't sold, and she is regularly extremely rude to customers who bring baby food with them. A friend of mine offended her hugely by arriving at the cafe with her baby, fully intending to buy food from the cafe. About a millisecond after she put the baby and her bags down to look for her purse, the cafe owner came dashing over and started having a go at her and telling her she had to move because she had a half-drunk bottle of water in her hand. Needless to say she lost a customer at that point. I have seen her do similar to other people - she seems to have no concept that people can actually carry what they damn well like as long as they don't sit in her cafe and eat/drink it!

The main bone of contention however is the issue of tap water. I can quite understand her not providing tap water on demand to people who are just passing through, but she categorically refuses tap water to paying customers. She has twice refused me - and she makes up stupid stories. One day she will say there is no tap in the kitchen area, the next she will say the leisure centre water is unsuitable for drinking. Her staff will provide water quite happily if she is not there. I know several people have made complaints about this - particularly since there are a lot of pregnant and breastfeeding women using the cafe due to the various antenatal and baby swimming classes. Yesterday I was feeling dreadful (I am 5 1/2 months pregnant and have developed a wheezy cough and a back problem which is giving me serious problems with walking any distance - so not in the best of moods all round!) I dropped DS off and then had a 45 minute drive so I decided (against my better judgement as I don't like putting money in the pocket of someone rude) to have tea and a muffin before setting off. I also asked for water as I was coughing almost constantly. The manager was sitting nearby with a friend and told her staff member to refuse. I spoke to her perfectly politely and explained that I was feeling unwell and really needed some water. She smirked (which she always does when being awkward) and told me I could go upstairs to the changing rooms and get some there or I would have to buy a bottle. A friend of hers (who always seems to be there and often butts into arguments between customers and the owner) then got involved and said she didn't see why I couldn't walk upstairs - the friend got a fairly sharp response!

A member of staff from the leisure centre was nearby as I was hobbling back to the table and offered to go and get me water which was obviously very kind. He then came and asked for my contact details for a complaint to head office as the staff had "concerns" about the manager's behaviour and there had been previous complaints.

One of the staff at the nursery knows this woman to speak to and she mentioned it to her. The nursery staff member told her she had been entirely unreasonable and was damaging her own business - there are large numbers of people who use the nursery and the leisure centre who now refuse to use the cafe because of the manager. The cafe always used to be full and there is now hardly anyone there whenever I pass through.

Now if you are running a business which is entirely dependent on a set group of people - no passing trade- and upon the continued goodwill of a hosting organisation, AIBU in thinking that you must be a complete idiot, or someone who really, really likes annoying people, if you keep doing something so basic when you know that multiple complaints have been made and that your landlords are unhappy?

SarahStratton Thu 08-Sep-11 10:03:58

Sounds like she has delusions of power. What a bitch, complain, complain and keep complaining.

AKMD Thu 08-Sep-11 10:06:29

YANBU, she sounds like a right charmer. I don't buy things from places where people are rude to me yes,Sainsbury's,that--is--YOU--that--has--lost--out--on--££££--of--my--money and have no problem telling them that when I walk out their shop.

itisnearlysummer Thu 08-Sep-11 10:07:34

YANBU. She is both U and also a bit of an idiot.

CoffeeRevel Thu 08-Sep-11 10:09:51

Good grief, what a nasty attitude for her to take. Complain and encourage others to do so. Its sad when people feel the need to act like that. Sounds like she may not be long for that lease though...

PattySimcox Thu 08-Sep-11 10:10:20

I take AKMDs approach and vote with my feet - anyone who is rude or gives rubbish service doesn't get my money.

I can't imagine why she would think being rude will help her business

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Sep-11 10:10:35

She sounds like an absolute cah. However, we have a similar issue in our local soft play - they don't have a seperate tap and sink which can be used for only drinking water so they aren't allowed to hand out water. But they are allowed to use the tap they have for making up diluting juice which people buy (by the jug). I know it sounds utterly, utterly bonkers and makes me mad each time (I have to buy water as DS doesn't like juice) but the softplay owner is really sweet and I have no reason to doubt her - so that may be why you couldn't get the water. The same thing happened to me in an M&S cafe too and I was given the same response.

But she's still a caaaaaah!

eaglewings Thu 08-Sep-11 10:11:13

Yes she is both
Isn't it illegal to refuse tap water?

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Sep-11 10:11:30

I would actually complain to the leisure centre ever single time she's rude - sounds like they're trying to build up a case against her so they can get rid, from what staff member said.

whattodoo Thu 08-Sep-11 10:18:18

What a fool. She'll be sorry when her bosses come down on her like a tonne of bricks. She's going to have to pull her socks up or risk her job.

Surely she's got sales targets? She'sdriving custom away, but no doubt hoping that the economic climate will be excuse enough when her management ask why sales are dropping.

It costs nothing to provide a simple glass of tap water to a pregnant lady who needs it, but she's now lost your future custom.

I wonder whether she's been in this sort of role long? She either needs refresher training in customer care or a boot up the backside.

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Thu 08-Sep-11 10:22:11

YANBU at all. Is she the owner or manager? If she's the owner, she'll soon be the woman who used to own a potential goldmine. If she's the manager, she'll be the woman who used to work in the cafe.
I am another who would complain. Each and every time she was rude to me.

Sn0wGoose Thu 08-Sep-11 10:24:09

eaglewings No, it's not illegal to refuse free/tap water -- restaurants have to be able to provide water to customers iirc, but are allowed to charge for it.

YANBU but I'm not surprised (which is sort of sad)

tvfriend Thu 08-Sep-11 10:25:32

OP- do you live in SW London by any chance??

ForYourDreamsAreChina Thu 08-Sep-11 10:27:31

Definitely complain.

I have just taken great pleasure in emailing Clinique about the atrocious attitude of their sales assistant in a John Lewis (of all places!) yesterday. She shoved my elderly mother (who is still someone who spends wads on posh make up and skincare) out of her way and didn't even stand still to answer my question about makeup as she faffed round tidying her display.

We went to Debenhams and spent £150 each there I let both JL and Clinique know that their old trout lost them £300 in one whoosh.

plupervert Thu 08-Sep-11 10:27:41

If she's based at the leisure centre, they are presumably getting a percentage of her takings, so her pissing customers off impacts on the leisure centre. The more complaints this woman generates, the better! The centre will be able to cancel her contract, and get a better cafe manager! It sounds as though they are already starting on that campaign. Help the leisure centre by getting all your friends to complain!

TandB Thu 08-Sep-11 10:32:38

It is only illegal if you are a licences premises, but it is pretty bad practice. She is a bit fuzzy on the law anyway as she informed me that she didn't have to offer it as there are taps elsewhere in the building.

As far as I know she is the owner of the business but the premises and furnishings are owned by the leisure centre. I don't know whether they take a share of the profits or whether it is purely a rental arrangement. They do seem to have some sort of active interest in it from what I have seen.

tvfriend - I live outside London now but work part of the week in SW London hence using the nursery there. [looks over shoulder in paranoid manner]

KittyFane Thu 08-Sep-11 10:36:41

Compain to the leisure centre- she may be the owner of cafe but she will rent off them. Say that she is putting people off going there etc.

tvfriend Thu 08-Sep-11 10:53:47

Only ask because it all sounds suspiciously like DS's nursery in a leisure centre with a cafe!

Rowena8482 Thu 08-Sep-11 11:16:05

Picturing tvfriend and panda furtively picking up their Dcs from nursery and peeping beady-eyed at all the other mothers trying to work out just who is the other one.... red roses and copies of The Times anyone? we can all sit on seats just out side the cafe, with packed lunches brought from home, and great huge 5l buckets of water bought elsewhere, and watch through eyeholes in the papers, like spies grin

Pippaandpolly Thu 08-Sep-11 11:31:01

I used to work in a lovely cafe when I was a student; it got taken over by someone new who, among doing other idiotic things, used to refuse people tap water. After a couple of months of him being an idiot and horrid about many things, all the staff he'd inherited quit, and within another couple of months he'd sold up because he lost so many customers and got a terrible reputation. He was an ex policeman and for some reason I thought that would make him more of a sympathetic/empathetic person but he was incapable of seeing things from staff/customers' points of view. Keep complaining - she won't last long!

WilsonFrickett Thu 08-Sep-11 11:34:05

oooh excellent stealth-outing there!

ForYourDreams - shock Nothing bad ever happens in John Lewis! <feels like the axis of her life has tilted>

TandB Thu 08-Sep-11 12:03:52

I am happy to out myself. I am the six foot blonde-haired, size 6 goddess with glowing porcelain skin and hair that swooshes like in the adverts.

My child is cherubic, highly advanced and perfectly behaved at all times and his clothes are always co-ordinated with my choice of glamorous, beautifully fitting outfit for the day.

Hope that helps identify me. grin

PattySimcox Thu 08-Sep-11 12:14:41

Totally off topic but kungfupanda have you had any more encounters with rude lady on single track road lately?

TandB Thu 08-Sep-11 12:23:00

I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since the final showdown. I think she might have changed her journey time. I am not looking forward to tomorrow though - it is my first nursery run since the schools went back. It has been all quiet and lovely over the summer and tomorrow will no doubt be back to sitting in the hedge for hours while car after car sweeps past without a thank you.

mistlethrush Thu 08-Sep-11 12:23:04

I was just going to caution tvfriend about her use of the car park - and not to fail to back to the nearest parking place if appropriate! grin

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