Hello – anybody there? (part 2)


So I left you moaning about bad service habits in the Senegalese capital. Are there any exceptions?


It starts, like most good things, on the streets where service is fast, efficient and reliable. Phone cards, newspapers, brooms, shoe repair, fruit stalls, roadside food (not as good as in, say, Indonesia but that may be a matter of time)… in short: if you want things quickly and efficiently delivered, hit the streets.

But there are others cottoning on to the idea that you need to show that you actually like your customer to be in your establishment…if you want him/her back. The guys and girls at the Fast Food, around the corner get this. The ladies at the hardware shop who sell me lamps and other things have got that one covered. And for an entirely different reason, Ibrahim, my hairdresser has it as well. While he rapidly reduces my hair to crew cut size, he fires off the basic philosophy of his faith: work hard, be kind, be honest, save money and don’t do extravagance. He’s a Baye Fall, of the genuine kind, as he keeps reminding me…

And of course this piece would never be complete without mentioning the two nicest people in the world, my friends Atoumane and Fatoumata, who run Figo Restaurant, around the corner from where I live. Their latest gig: telling you about today’s special in advance – by SMS. How’s that for service? These two could teach the entire Amsterdam leisure industry a thing or two. Because, A Bad Ja, if you think service in Dakar is bad – try and get noticed by a waiter in that supposedly hip and happening Dutch capital. In Amsterdam, service in a distressingly large number of restaurants and bars and terraces has reached astonishingly appalling levels. But that’s for another rant if I can be bothered…


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