I recently checked a bar for 4service during the large latest bar visits wave that came lately. I chose a chic bar in the 6th district of Paris, one of the poshiest district in Paris mixed with a university feeling as many “grandes écoles” are located there, like ENA or Sciences Po, etc. The bar name refers to a famous apparel manufacturer, but I won’t quote the name here. I think you can easily guess which one it is, if you are familiar with bars. At first, I was impressed that there was so much silence outside the bar. I usually tend to think that any bar must be a crowded place, especially that one I chose, which has a very trendy name. In this case, there was not a single person neither inside nor outside. It felt really odd. The street where this bar is located is one of the nicest in this already super nice district. It has the priviledge of being quiet, which is quite a luxury in this district which is so often crowded with all kinds of tourists from all over the world. So it should definitely be a hotspot for bar crawlers and chic bar amateurs, shouldn’t it be so? But no, nobody in or out. So without further ado, I got inside the bar and found out there was not a single soul inside as ell, but for a single barman. Then I watched the barman and he said out loud he was struggling to turn on his television and pushing every button on his remote to get it to turn on without any success. Then I sat at the bar stool as per the scenario instructions. The barman after a while came to me and started talking with me. He explained to me that he had been working in this bar for 3 years now but it was just a student odd job and he was neither the owner, nor the owner’s son. He explained me that he had enough background to run the bar all by himself. I asked him if it wasn’t too big of a responsibility for such a young man. What about a hold up ? or a robbery? or just a bunch of thugs coming along to beat his face up? He said no, that he knew everyone in the street anyway and that he could still get the help of the neighboring shop runners, in case of trouble. We continued talking and he was nice but I realized he didn’t “‘put on” any “mask” or “professional attitude”. He was just behaving like he would be in his house with his parents or his brothers or his friends. This kind of struck me because I usually always expect from shops or establishment staff to act in a bit theatrical way to show curtesy or good manners, etc to prove they are professionals, not just people in their house or with friends. This feeling came to a climax when I ordered a pot of pesto and a non-alcoholic cocktail. He told me the pesto was to be spread on bread. He said “alrighty, I’m going to get a baguette for you at the baker in a minute”. OK, so he is the only person to run the bar, and he said he was going to leave to get a baguette like a dad says to his kids or his wife before dinner time ? It really felt both homey and stupid, because who would be watching over the bar in his absence? He didn’t have a clue that I may be dishonest and would steal the cash machine and leave before he returned? To me this stretch of trust was just too far-fetched, he definitely showed there that he was just an ordinary student, and an irresponsible one too. I just told him to stay where he was and that I would just eat the pesto pot at home later. Then he started mixing the non-alcoholic cocktails I had ordered, them being cheap, I managed to get two of them and stay within the scenario budget, which was nice. They were “sex on the beach”, without the alcoholic components. I found it was funny to come up with this cocktail idea. It was all his idea. I never raised that idea up at any time during our talk. The look was pink and the taste was fruity. It definitely lacked alcohol but as forbidden by the scenario, I just accepted the idea I couldn’t have some inside. Then the conversation went on to the types of alcohol he had and which ones he recommended as per the scenario again. He mentioned an alcohol which I didn’t know of, named “burning desire”, made out of wine liquor. I found it odd because wine to me is already an alcohol , so how could they make a liquor out of alcohol? He didn’t have the answer but it didn’t seem so strange to him and actually made sense. He also mentioned his aperitives whose ingredients he said he selected among the finest on the market. And finally I bade my leave and wished him good luck for his future. He definitely was easy-going and nice to talk too and he looked very intelligent too. I think he should definitely change his demeanor to a more restrained one though, even though his casualness is explainable on a hot day without any body in the bar to cater too, but still, it gave an impression as if I was in his house or flat instead of in a public place like a bar, which was not nice to me. I was looking to go to the bar to feel outside from home and experience something different from my daily routine so this attitude didn’t impress me a lot, but it wasn’t so much of a big deal actually, except the baguette part where he completely showed he was just anybody, not a professional barman. Who could think to leave a whole bar with its doors opened, without any attendance , even for a couple of minutes ? This really is to me the sign the service here is poor, and the staff here completely clueless.
On the other hand, I thought this casual demeanor kind of opened the door to break the glass between staff and client and let me become an actual friend to him instead of a client. Yeah, if he could trust me as far as to watch over the whole bar for him, what better sign of trust and friendship could he give? That’s the kind of things you say or do with a friend, not with a client. But he barely knew me for a couple of minutes, I was not his friend yet, and that was definitely not responsible. And I was here to check the service, not his friendship skills, right? So in the end, I didn’t give him a very good grade in the 4service survey. I’m sorry, he was kind of nice, but that’s the job of a mystery shopper to assess the service, not the person, right? #ilovescheduling