Ha ha… I’m back. And you never even knew I’d been away!
Actually, I’ve been on my hols and they’ve given me a new, rich vein of subject matter to write about. Now, I don’t want to bore you with my holiday photographs or anything like that, but I think I have some new insights into the things I usually write about.
That’s because the culture of the country I visited is so different from our own and yet similar enough to make things recognisable… okay, okay, it was South Africa. There. I’ve said it!
The holiday started in the winelands around Stellenbosch and that’s where my first story comes from.
We were scheduled to move on the next day so we decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch on the Simonsig Wine Estate… very nice it was, too. Cape Dutch, whitewashed buildings, warm sunshine and a gentle breeze. Whoops, sorry, got into too much detail there.
Anyway, the lunch was good. I had a steak and my wife had fish. A tricky choice when it came to the wine, I’m sure you’ll agree.
But it was the service I really wanted to talk about. Throughout South Africa, I have to say, the service was second to none. It seemed that everyone took a genuine interest in what we wanted, remembered it, talked to us and generally made us feel brilliantly welcome.
Part of it, I’m sure is down to the culture but a lot of it is down to training, too. I recognised the training element in the word patterns used. For example: ‘Hi, welcome to Simonsig. Are you going to have lunch with us or are you here just for a wine tasting?’ Of course, most couples looked at each other and decided to have lunch… and very profitable it is, too.
We were shown to our table by a very nice lady and then our waitress came and introduced herself… she was very nice, too.
She took our orders for the main course, which was lovely and then came back to see if we wanted dessert. I decided I’d just have a look at the menu.
When she brought the menu back, Agnes our waitress, clearly saw that I was swithering (having trouble making my mind up) about having a sweet, so she decided to help my thought processes along.
What she did, in fact, was start stroking the half finished bottle of wine in a most provocative way, licked her lips and said, in no more than a husky whisper, ‘I think you’d really enjoy our tangy cheesecake and I’d like you to experience it.’
I wasn’t exactly sure that we were still talking about dessert, but catching my wife’s very old fashioned look I just ordered… and very nice it was, too. The cheesecake, I mean.
I’m not sure Agnes was trained in that particular selling techniques, but, on this occasion, it worked.