So we decided to eat like the locals and pop into a restaurant/cafe in the hustle and bustle of St George.
Sample some local cuisine I thought, give some custom to local businesses (who you’d think would appreciate it more than your bigger more flourishing hotel empires), surely this couldn’t go horribly wrong.
Well sadly it did, and disturbingly so.
This is the place we chose to grab some lunch:
“Deyna’s Tasty Foods”
With a brandishing of all that they ‘specialise’ in!!
I hasten to say, customer service, good manners and basic human kindness are definitely not one of their specialities.
Never in my life, have I encountered such disgusting face to face customer service in any place of business or delivery of a public service, anywhere in the world.
Upon reaching the counter to pay for my purchase, I began to reckon up what the cost would be in US dollars (prices were in Eastern Caribbean dollars but I wanted to use up my US currency as my travels were taking me to islands that would all accept US dollars; I was still getting my head around the conversions). During this time, a local gentleman in the queue beside me began to helpfully advise me on roughly what the US dollar amount would be for my purchase.
How nice, I thought.
The local people are friendly and helpful.
At this very moment, the man behind the counter at the till (who I would describe as an elderly looking man with a balding head – seated at the till) interjected abruptly and said to the kind gentleman ” no no no, let her waste her money” quote, unquote.
This felt like a swift stab in the back.
Bear in mind that there were other people in the queue all witnessing and listening to this outburst.
The man’s scathing comment felt like an outright attack.
I felt discriminated against for being a tourist/foreigner.
I was stunned and speechless (which I can assure you is not in my usual nature).
I still cannot believe what just happened.
You are a business that relies on customers and a nation that needs tourism to boost your economy and this is how you treat them.
Coupled with The unwelcoming experience upon arriving in Grenada which I described in a previous blog, I was beginning to wish hard for the end of my stay on the island, regretting the money spent to holiday in Grenada and looking forward to never setting foot on that island ever again.
Not that it makes any difference, but parts of my family are of largely Grenadian decent, and I’m sure it would have broken my Grenadian grandparents’ hearts (God rest their souls) to hear me tell them that my very first visit to the Islands was overshadowed by what I have described above.
As cliche as it sounds, negative first impressions do leave a mark – as much as you might try to brush it off.
Going back to this incident, a group of people who had been on the same flight (and whom I’d witnessed in the immigration queue receiving the not so friendly welcome of the immigration ladies described earlier) happened to come into the very same restaurant just after my ordeal. What a coincidence!
I told them what I had experienced and we reflected on how disappointing the Grenadian welcome had been so far overall.
We also agreed not to let these experiences ruin or holiday – which I willed myself to try not to do.
I’m a firm believer in being open about things like this – if bullies are not exposed they will continue to think their behaviour is acceptable, and drag down the reputations of decent people along with them.