Cynic in Spain

Real Life on the Costa del Sol

Waiting on the waiters

For many years I have been under the impression that waiters were so called because they ‘waited’ upon one, it transpires that I have been living on a different planet and, in fact, the opposite is not, to borrow a phrase, a terminological inexactitude.

A case in point has, unfortunately, turned out to be my favourite beach front watering hole. Gone are those heady days of yore when, upon arrival, I would be greeted by a cheerful “Hola” and my usual Café Americano, often before I had a chance to take a seat. These days, with luck and an empty bar, I can attract the attention of one of the staff within my five minute cut off period (after which I leave for pastures green, or in my case black with sugar), who, when they arrive five minutes later, seem to speak nor understand any language known to man, not that it matters as you have to order three times to get anything, anything then being just what you receive, five minutes later.

That, it transpires was the easy bit, then comes the ritual of the bill.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I labour under the, apparent, misapprehension that the idea of a café was to serve people with what they want, collect their money and then hasten them upon their satisfied way. Why then do I always appear to have so much trouble paying for what I have received, even if it wasn’t what I wanted.

Today I was forced, not too strong a term I promise, to shout at the top of my voice, “where’s my f…ing bill” after requesting it, politely, several times in Spanish and been ignored, sure enough after five minutes the bill duly arrived and promptly returned to be corrected, another ten minutes (five to pick up the old, five to bring the new).

Five minutes later the money was collected and five minutes after that the change deposited, carefully denominated, I noted, so that it would seem parsimonious not to leave a tip. Are these people run on egg timers? Add that up and, not including drinking time, this has taken a minimum of fourty minutes, for a cup of coffee! God help me if I’d wanted something to eat.

So please all you café owners reading this, bring back Manuel from Barcalona, he, at least, spoke English very well.

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