Avoid: Astonishingly Rude Owner
We had quite the ‘unique’ experience at the Sandbar Cafe! We were a group of three adults and one infant. We were a little sleep-deprived (because that’s what having a 6-month-old is like), and two of us had been up surfing since dawn. We were generally exhausted.
We fancied a coffee and some breakfast, so we walked into the Sandbar Cafe. The menu looked okay so my friends grabbed a table while I looked for the loo. The waitress explained that it was only for paying customers. I reassured her that we wanted to order some drinks, so she showed me the way.
We then took our table. We didn’t realise this at the time but it’s not table service. You have to order at the bar. The reason we didn’t realise was because we saw no signs to this effect, and because nobody told us. We were the only people in the place and, since the waitress already knew that we wanted to order, we assumed somebody would be over shortly. So we sat there chatting for a few minutes, waiting to be served.
Then it went a bit wrong. My friends’ infant son kicked off. We tried to calm him but we couldn’t. We decided to step out for a minute to get him moving and get him to sleep so that we could sit back down again.
We left the cafe and had barely taken a few steps when the owner came to the door and beckoned me over. “Can I ask you a question?” he said. Thinking he might want to take our drinks order, I went to speak to him. He then proceeded to rant at me. It was loud enough that people sitting upstairs in the lovely cafe across the road turned their heads to see what the shouting was about! What he said was along the lines of: “LET ME EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW A BUSINESS WORKS! I’M GONNA GIVE YOU A LITTLE LESSON IN HOW ALL THIS WORKS. I DIDN’T SPEND 6 FIGURES ON THIS PLACE SO YOU COULD COME IN HERE AND USE MY TOILETS FOR FREE! THERE’S PUBLIC TOILETS NEXT DOOR BUT YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO SPEND THE 50P ON THEM SO YOU THINK YOU CAN COME IN HERE AND JUST USE MINE?!”
I tried to interrupt him to explain that we only stepped out for a minute, but he wasn’t interested. He carried on shouting:
“YOU DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO THANK THE GIRL THAT SHOWED YOU WHERE THEY WERE! AND YOU DIDN’T THANK ME AFTER YOU USED THEM!”
“Dude, stop shouting for a moment and let me explain” I said.
“I’M NOT SHOUTING AND I’M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR EXPLANATION!”
“Look, I get that you’re annoyed but we were just about to...”
“I’M NOT HAVING THIS!”
“Right. I get it. It’s just that I happen to also run a beach business and I...”
“YOU THINK I RUN A BEACH BUSINESS?! I DON’T RUN A BEACH BUSINESS! THIS IS NOT A BEACH BUSINESS!”
“What? Okay, right, but what I’m trying to say to you is...”
“I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR EXPLANATION!”
And with that he walked off inside.
As it happens, I don’t particularly like being patronised, or shouted at, or accused of deception, or accused of being tight, or not being given a chance to clear my name when accused of something I didn’t do. Call me odd, but my integrity matters to me!
So I followed him inside.
I explained everything. I explained how tired we were. I explained our plan to order drinks and then food once they started serving that. I explained that we had no idea we had to order at the bar. I explained how it was all interrupted by the crying baby. I explained how the baby had to come first. I explained our plan to calm the baby down and come back in to order drinks.
All he could say was, “The baby wasn’t crying. I didn’t hear any crying.”
“That’s your explanation for all this? Well he was crying. And now that I’ve cleared that up, you’ll understand that we’ve changed our plans again. Once the kid is calm, we’re not coming back here.”
I walked out and found a really nice cafe across the road.
So, if you want a unique experience in Polzeath then I dare you go to this place and use the toilet. Then go and have the lovely breakfast at TJ’s cafe across the road. They have a fantastic view of the beach, the staff are very friendly and, to the best of my knowledge, they don’t shout at parents with babies. Or any customers for that matter.
And to the owner, in case you read this: thanks for the business lesson. I feel I should return the favour, so here goes. Try to be polite.
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