Saturday night saw the athletic club of which I am a member hold its Christmas party. The venue was the same as last year, a local hotel and as with last year our meal was served in a private room away from the main function room and the worst of the noisy excesses. Thank goodness!
I suppose that one shouldn't expect too much from these mass market jolly fun times, but it was very evident that the hotel had embarked on a cost cutting exercise. Last year's hot punch reception had been consigned to some accountant's waste paper basket as had the coffee accompanying mints. There was no suggestion that a second cup of coffee or even a top up was a possibility. The decoration budget had also been cut.
As for the serving staff and wine waiters it seemed as if their average age was sixteen years and one day. I think the one day was the time spent on training. To be fair they were all affable enough, but I never knew from which side to expect a serving spoon. When I ordered wine for the table the bottles were plonked down with great aplomb. The cheerful youth who had been designated wine waiter for the evening then scurried off on tasks unknown leaving me to do the honours. I suppose hotels do take on casual staff for the Christmas period and I expect they are being paid little more than the minimum wage. That may all be an explanation for poor service but it is not an excuse.