Entries tagged with “Consumer Protection Act”.


My CiTi Bus imagesThe MyCiTi Bus route in Sea Point (connecting commuters to Fresnaye, the Civic Centre and the V&A Waterfront) will begin operating this weekend (via Beach Road and High Level Road), on 2 November.  The long-awaited roll-out of the service to Camps Bay is on 30 November, about 18 months after its promised start date!  By this weekend 83 MyCiTi Buses will be operating in Cape Town, increasing to 107 buses by the end of November.

News24 reports that the MyCiTi bus service will begin operating in Vredehoek, Oranjezicht,  Sea Point, Melkbosstrand, and Duynefontein this coming Saturday.  On 30 November the route from the new V&A Waterfront Silo (the previous Clocktower area) to the Civic Centre and Camps Bay via Kloofnek Road will commence.  The planned introduction of the N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, which was scheduled to be launched in December, appears to be (more…)

Whale CottageOn 28 September 2008 we posted the first blogpost on this WhaleTales blog, not knowing where this journey would be taking us.   Five years and close to 2000 blogposts later, we look back as well as forward.

Looking back 

I had set myself a goal of blogging daily, and while I question my wisdom  at times, it has kept the rhythm going, and forced me to find material to blog about. My biggest fear is that I will run out of things to blog about one day!

The statistics from Google Analytics help in casting an eye back: in the five year period we have achieved 1,4 million pageviews, with 759452 unique readers. We were a Finalist for the SA Blog Awards’ The Most Controversial Blog in 2010, and try to stay true to this accolade.  We have reached the 5th position on the amatomu.com Popular South African Blogs list.  We have been included in the 100 Great SA Travel Twitter Feeds.

Many of the most popular blogposts (more…)

Last year, on April Fools’ Day, the Consumer Protection Act became effective, and was heralded as being much-needed legislation to protect consumers against poor service, misleading advertising, and the sale of shoddy products. With the legislation came the establishment of the National Consumer Commission, which was to receive complaints from the public against businesses contravening the Act, and to act against them. Now it appears that the National Consumer Commission is a near failure at executing its mandate.

According to The Times, the National Consumer Commission’s head Mamodupi Mohlala-Malaudzi has become a keen issuer of compliance notices against businesses, many of which have been overturned by the Consumer Tribunal, at a great cost to the businesses affected even if they were successful in getting their cases withdrawn.  A report prepared by the Consumer Tribunal about the operation of the National Consumer Commission has found that its major weaknesses are that compliance notices have been issued without following the correct procedure or being ‘defective’, ‘failure of the commission to understand the act’, issuing notices which the Consumer Protection Act does not allow, badly written documents with errors, ‘contemptuous and unprofessional conduct by the commission when dealing with opposing lawyers and the tribunal‘, and ‘undermining the work of the tribunal’, very serious allegations indeed!  In addition, the National Consumer Commission was found to base its decisions on ‘subjective views’.

It was the findings of this (confidential) Consumer Tribunal report that the National Consumer Commission used to (unsuccessfully) try to have the Consumer Tribunal’s rejection of the Commission’s case against Auction Alliance set aside in the Pretoria High Court.

A compliance notice can cost a business found guilty in terms of the Consumer Protection Act R1 million or 10% in annual turnover if the ruling of the National Consumer Commission is not adhered to.  To date 33 cases have been referred to the Consumer Tribunal, including companies such as Eskom, City of Johannesburg, BMW, Audi SA, Peugeot Citroen SA, Kia, Volkswagen, Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, Top-TV, Cell C, and Multichoice. Of these, the correct procedure in issuing a compliance notice was not followed in six cases, and the Commission did not file responding affidavits to thirteen of the notices!  The newspaper article quotes the example of the City of Johannesburg, against which 45 compliance notices have been set aside!  Only big corporates can afford to challenge a compliance order, due to the cost involved, meaning that smaller businesses are forced to abide by such orders, even if the complaint is unjustified.

It would appear that Mohlala-Malaudzi’s days are numbered at the National Consumer Commission, as her contract with the Commission has not been renewed, expiring at the end of September, a matter which she took to the Labour Court and lost.

In dealing with businesses, it is surprising how few companies know about the Consumer Protection Act, and abide by it.  One of the clauses of the Act prescribes that all repair work must be preceded by written and signed off quotes, but this rarely happens, as we have experienced for car services and repairs at Mercedes Benz in Century City, where they are quick to add R10000 – R20000 of extra nice-to-have part replacements.  We also saw a notice at All Active Electric in Sea Point, which states that repair quotes not accepted will be charged at R50, contravening the Act. Two lamps were given to this company to be fixed, one requiring a wire to be fitted back into the switch, and another needing the brass fitting holding the bulb to be repaired. We were shocked when the bill came to R150, 50% of the purchase cost of the lamps, with additional repairs done which were not requested.  When queried, the staff member quickly dropped the price to R95.  No quote was received, and even the lower price felt like a rip off, despite the quick 24 hour service.  Action TV came to fix a TV channel reception problem at our guest house last week, and could not find a solution on its first visit, despite having done past repairs. A ‘booster‘ was deemed to be necessary, and despite asking, we were not given a quote, being promised one the following day!   The bill has come to R4650, including the booster costing R1780, cabling to the value of R950, and a number of splitters.  The TV system was installed at the guest house 14 years ago, and has worked perfectly without all these extra items.

It is clear that the National Consumer Commission needs to get its house in order, and that it needs a new broom when its head leaves its employ.  It clearly also needs an advertising campaign to inform business owners of their obligations in terms of repair quotations.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:   www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Sweet Service Award goes to Glasfit in Worcester, and was nominated by Michael Mackenzie of McGregor: I should like to nominate Walter Schonborn of Glasfit, Worcester for his exceptionally friendly and helpful service and indeed to the efficient service of Glasfit in general. A stone thrown up from a passing lorry cracked my windscreen, fortunately I was close to Worcester on my way to Cape Town. I stopped at Glasfit and Walter spontaneously noted all the details of my car, contacted my insurance brokers, completed a insurance claim document and telephoned the Glasfit garage in Cape Town and arranged for them to obtain a new windscreen and fit it for me once I arrived in the city. On my way, Elmo from Glasfit Cape Town, telephoned me to confirm the arrangements, offered to give me a lift if I required it and ensured that the job was completed during that afternoon – and at no cost to me!”

The Sour Service Award goes to Premier Shoes on Kloof Street in Cape Town, for quoting ’R100 – R135′ to have a new numberplate made, but charging R165 when calling to say it was ready.  The owner could not explain the reason for the increase (two plates cost R220), and would not budge from his quoted price, even when I mentioned the Consumer Protection Act, saying that I did not have to take the numberplate, as he could re-use it.   I decided to not take it, on principle, and had it made elsewhere, and got it for a more reasonable price, and more quickly.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Interesting is the news that the Western Cape province is to introduce a Consumer Affairs Tribunal next month, given the existence of the National Consumer Commission which deals with consumer complaints relating to the Consumer Protection Act nationally.  The reason for this may be that the National Consumer Commission appears to be understaffed.

The Western Cape has had its own Consumer Protector for a number of years, and received 9000 consumer complaints in 2011, of which it was able to resolve two-thirds, reports the Cape Argus.  Complaints which have received ‘stalemate‘ status between supplier and customer will be the first ones to be heard by the Consumer Affairs Tribunal, which will run like a court.  Outcomes of cases heard by the Consumer Affairs Tribunal will be the replacement of products or the payment of refunds/compensation to consumers.  A similar consumer court has already been introduced in the Gauteng province. The largest number of consumer complaints relate to the motor industry, ‘serial offender’ cellphone companies, and small food retailers, says the National Consumer Forum.  A bath re-glazing company will be one of the first local companies brought to the Cape consumer court.

The Western Cape Consumer Affairs Tribunal will be chaired by Advocate Robert Vincent, with Advocate Mandla Mdludlu, Herman Wessels, Jacki Lange, Theo Burrows, and Selby Tindleni as further members of the Consumer Tribunal, reports Bolander. Complaining consumers will be represented by an attorney of the Office of the Consumer Protector, while companies can appoint their own lawyers.

The shortage of funding for the National Consumer Commission may result in a four month closure of its call centre, writes Business Report, given the vast shortage of staff.  Of the 28000 complaints it receives per month, its five call centre operators can only deal with 8000.  The National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala is asking for a budget of R 134 million, saying that without the funding ‘we are rendered toothless and there will be serious consequences’.  At any moment 70 calls are on hold at the National Consumer Commission call centre.  Fifteen cases have been brought before the National Consumer Tribunal since April last year, when the Consumer Protection Act came into being.  Investigations of the country’s four largest medical aid schemes, cellphone operators (Cell C, Vodacom, MTN and Telkom), pharmaceutical companies, Checkers/Shoprite, JD Group, and the Lewis Group are being undertaken by the National Consumer Commission.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio, www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The Sweet Service Award goes to Tafelberg Furnishers, who immediately agreed to replace a faulty Sunbeam frying pan, bought in August, when it was returned to the Green Point branch.  Whilst the purchase date was checked on the slip, the faulty pan was not tested, the manager taking the customer’s word for it.  The exchange is compulsory in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, and I was delighted that they abide by it.

The Sour Service Award goes to the Sinnfull Ice Cream Emporium in The Promenade in Camps Bay, which is looking very tacky, its display cabinet having sections broken off, some of the leather chairs being torn but put out every day, often looking dirty in the passage outside the shop (the assistant telling me that it is the centre’s responsibility to clean in front of their store), the music blaring, and the shop generally looking run-down and not as top-quality as it once was.  On my last visit, the manager of the store was chatting away on his cellphone, in full view of  a number of customers wishing to be served! The manager looks like he is ready for the beach, wearing beach shorts and is barefoot, and is generally not customer-friendly.  Despite feedback to a more senior manager and the owner Britta Sinn, little has changed, other than a recent price increase of 20 %!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Yesterday Twitter was a-buzz with the news that Beluga restaurant owner Oskar ‘Blonde’ Kotze had banned blogger Shaun Oakes from his restaurant, because his girlfriend had written to him to share their poor service experience at the restaurant with him. It is rare that one sees such a reaction to an incident on Twitter.  A link was provided in a comment on Oakes’ blog to our Sour Service Award given to Beluga, for similar heavy-handed treatment by Kotze, and had a record of more than 1000 unique views yesterday.  The volume of activity about the Beluga ban was reminiscent of the Portofino owner and customer interaction, which was featured on the 2Oceansvibe website almost two years ago.

In short, the service from the waiter was poor and he was cheeky, the couple complained, received the meal and drinks on the house, and the girlfriend sent an e-mail to Kotze, to which Kotze sent an angry reply, all of which Oakes documented in his blogpost. This was Kotze’s ‘Blonde’ (Oskar loves blonds and ‘Blonde’ is the name of his failed restaurant in Gardens) reply: 

“The fact that you swore at my waiter **** is completely unacceptable – I have convinced him to lay a criminal case against you, and the company will back him all the way – its the year 2011 and no one has the right to speak to people the way you did – even your mail below is degrading and condescending. From my side, I am sorry that I was not here, I would have chased you out of my restaurant if I was. As to your personality, lack of manners and general attitude to life I will refrain from commenting – the fact that you even have the audacity to contact me and threaten me after what you did – seriously, wow, what a joke.  This will be the last communication that you will receive from me – I have asked ***** to provide me with your ID number so that we can use that for the criminal case.  Obviously I never want you to come close to any of my businesses ever again – and if your friends condone the way to deal with people, and you convince them not to come to my restaurants, well then that will also be ok”.

Beluga is completely out of line in its reaction to Oakes and his girlfriend:

*   The restaurant has lost not just one couple as clients, but possibly hundreds too, if the more than hundred comments posted to Oakes’ blogpost is anything to go by, the majority of commenters disparaging the poor service and poor quality food at the restaurant.  Very few positive comments were seen to be in support of Beluga.  Capetonians who had not been to Beluga even wrote that they would not try it out, because of Kotze’s action.

*   There is no legal action that Beluga’s waiter can take against Oakes, as he and his girlfriend have not contravened any law

*   Beluga’s action is illegal relative to the new Consumer Protection Act, which does not allow one to discriminate against customers in any form

*   Beluga’s action goes against all norms of customer service.  Yesterday we wrote about a new initiative of the Department of Tourism to introduce a National Service Excellence standard for the tourism industry, which would include restaurants, and it contained a service standard of : Service: should be friendly, professional, guest focused and driven, and offer an effective service recovery”, none of which is reflected in Kotze’s action!

Oakes could lay a charge against Beluga for discrimination against him as a customer with the National Consumer Commission, as well as the Western Cape Consumer Protector, that is if he would ever want to return to Beluga.  The treatment we received from Kotze, in sending the police to evict me from the restaurant as an invited guest due to giving sister restaurant Sevruga a Sour Service Award, and other feedback I have heard from past staff, makes one wonder why action has not been taken against Beluga and its owner!  The only winner in the Beluga blogger ban is Oakes, whom most other bloggers had not heard of before, but whose blog will have achieved a record number of hits yesterday, and who has become one of the best-known bloggers in Cape Town overnight.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

2011: what a year it’s been for the world, South Africa, and Whale Cottage – unpredictable, up and down, and a year in which one had to rethink every way in which one has run one’s business and life.  Most would say that it’s been one of the worst years ever!  But despite the tough times, there has been a lot to be grateful for as well.  I have summarised some of the high and low lights of the year:

1.  The knock which tourism took, especially from May – August, in being one of the worst winters ever experienced, had an effect on all sectors of the economy.  Restaurants frantically offered specials to gain cashflow, guest houses went back to dropping rates as they do in winter, and few took rate increases in summer, unlike their hotel colleagues, who suffered poor occupancy too.  More hotels and restaurants closed down than ever seen before. The recession in the UK hit South African tourism and wine sales badly, previously our major source market. From 50 % of our business in the summer months in Camps Bay, the UK business will be no more than 5 % this summer.  High airfares and the crippling UK airport taxes have not helped. The tourism situation was so bad that we wrote an Open Letter to national Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, as Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited were not aware of how bad things were in the Cape, and therefore did nothing to market the region and to help the tourism industry. Cape Town Tourism spent all its energy on Twitter, not yet the medium of communication of our average tourist, and on wasteful promotions, and therefore we did not renew our 20 year membership. The welcome increase in German tourists has not made up this shortfall, but we have been delighted to welcome many more South African guests.   The World Cup has become a swearword, the reality of its lack of a tourism benefit becoming clear. A blessing from Santa has been a much improved festive season, with no snow-bound tourists or strong south-easter wind, as happened last year.

2.  Events are hugely beneficial for business, and the Argus Cycle Tour, J&B Met, and Cape Town International Jazz Festival attracted out of town guests. The U2 and Coldplay concerts helped fill beds and delighted Cape Town audiences.  A fantastic outcome of Coldplay’s performance is that the music video for ‘Paradise’ was filmed in our city, the Boland and the Karoo – no better part of the world could have been chosen for this song!

3.  Cape Town has had an exceptional year, the darling of the world, winning the World Design Capital 2014 bid, Table Mountain being named one of New7Wonders of Nature (amid some controversy and as yet subject to verification), named top destination in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination (for what it was worth!), and featuring strongly in the new James Bond book ‘Carte Blanche’.  Our city hotels, especially the Cape Grace and Steenberg Hotel, featured on international top hotel lists. Good news was the sale of the V&A Waterfront to a local company, which is investing in the upgrade of and addition to the country’s most popular tourist destination.

4.   Despite the doom and gloom, there were more restaurant openings, and chef and restaurant staff changes this year than in many years: The Pot Luck Club, Hemelhuijs, Dash, Casparus, Dear Me Foodworld, The Franschhoek Kitchen, Il Cappero, Café Benedict, The Kitchen at Maison, Sotano by Caveau, Knife, De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Ryan’s Kitchen, Caffe Milano, Mozzarella Bar, Cassis Salon de Thé, Power & the Glory, Haas Coffee, Johan’s @ Longridge, Skinny Legs & All, KOS Coffee & Cuisine, Café Dijon @ Zorgvliet, Le Coq, Act and Play Bar at the Baxter, Sunbird Bistro, Societi Brasserie, Jason’s, Bird Café with new owners, Maria’s after a long renovation closure, Toro Wine & Aperitif Bar, Valora, Café Le Chocolatier, Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant after a renovation and chef change, Art’s Café, Spice Route, Mitico, Knead on Kloof, Chez Chez, La Bella, 5 Rooms, Terbodore Coffee Bar, Wale Rose Lifestyle, The Black Pearl, Bistro on Rose, Slainte, Babel Tea House, Rhapsody’s, Café Extrablatt, Harvest, McDonalds in the V&A,  The Mussel Bar, The Franschhoek Food Emporium, Makaron, F.east, Bean There Fair Trade, Sabrina’s, Harbour House in the V&A, MCC Franschhoek, Clarke Bar & Dining Room, Roberto’s, French Toast, Saboroso, Mezepoli, Rocca in the Cape Quarter, and Roca in Franschhoek opening their doors, and new suppliers Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and The Creamery opening too.

5.  Sadly, the recession was noticeable as it hit restaurants, and it was some of the newer restaurants that were badly hit, including What’s On Eatery, The Olive Shack, Bella Lucia, Blonde, Jardine, Caveau at the Mill, Nando’s in Camps Bay, The Sandbar, The Bistro, Restaurant Christophe, Doppio Zero in Green Point and Clarement, shu, Oiishi Delicious Caffe, Hermanos, The Kitchen Bar, Wildwoods, The Green Dolphin, De Huguenot restaurant, Wildflour, Depasco, Kuzina, and 221 Waterfront.

6.  The eating highlight of the year was the tribute dinner to the closing of El Bulli, one of the world’s best restaurants, by Tokara, Chef Richard Carstens excelling in serving a 13-course meal to a packed restaurant on 30 July, earning him and his team a standing ovation.  This meal alone should have made Chef Richard South Africa’s top chef in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, but sole judge Abigail Donnelly proved that she was incapable of handling this new role and responsibility, not only in excluding Chef Richard from her Top 10 list, but also in awarding the new Boschendal Style Award to her client Makaron.

7.   Franschhoek evolved as THE wine region, Boekenhoutskloof being recognised as South Africa’s top winery by the Platter Guide, and La Motte the top wine estate in South Africa by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  In the latter competition, Tokara was selected as top wine estate restaurant in the country. The sale of the Franschhoek Graham Beck farm was announced, and the operation closes mid-year in 2012. The winemaking will take place at Steenberg and at Graham Beck in Robertson, while a Graham Beck tasting bar Gorgeous will open at Steenberg in February.

8.   Hermanus was in the tourism marketing spotlight, when miraculously both the committee of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau resigned, and the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation was disbanded by the Overstrand Mayor.  We had written about the self-interest which had been served by the previous leaders of these two bodies in ‘Lermanus’!  A welcome product for Hermanus is the recently created Hermanus Wine Route, marketing of which will be in the capable hands of Carolyn Martin of Creation.

9.   The Consumer Protection Act was introduced in April, and has shown benefits in product deficiencies and returns.  Little effect has been seen for the tourism industry.  The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa tried to change its accommodation assessment standards, which caused a huge outcry.  Despite changing back to what they had before, many accommodation establishments lost faith in the organisation, and have not renewed their accreditation.

10.  The wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène in July put South Africa in the world spotlight, not only due to the televised broadcast of the wedding, but also as they celebrated their wedding with a second reception, at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, now the country’s best known hotel.

11.  This year proved that the ‘social’ in Social Media is a misnomer in many respects, but it is the marketing platform which cannot be excluded.  We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our WhaleTales newsletter, the 3rd year of blogging, and our 1000 th blogpost this year.  We are grateful to our Facebook friends and likers, Twitter followers, and blog and newsletter readers for their support.

It is hard to predict 2012, and we will go with the flow.  2011 has made us tougher and even more thick-skinned, we have learnt to change with changed tourism times.  We look forward to a stable world economy, politics, as well as weather in 2012!

POSTSCRIPT 2/1: The most read posts on our blog in 2011 were the restaurant winter specials, the Festive Season packages, the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charléne, the review of Casparus, the restaurant summer specials, the review of Gaaitjie in Paternoster, the death in Cape Town of the President of Ferrero Rocher,  the listing of restaurant openings and closures, the Consumer Protection Act, and Table Mountain making the New7Wonders of Nature.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Irresponsible claims of products being ‘organic’ should be eliminated if the National Draft Policy for Organic Production is passed in Parliament next year.  The Draft Policy is currently open to input from government departments and other stakeholders, and an ‘organic standard’ is being developed with the SA Bureau of Standards, reports the Sunday Times.

We have written previously about the false claims that restaurateur Giorgio Nava made about all the meat at Carne coming from his Karoo farm and being organic, and that there currently is no organic certification body in South Africa, leaving the consumer vulnerable to inappropriate claims.  Nava has since removed these claims from his menu and website.  Only the Consumer Protection Act and the Advertising Standards Authority currently protect consumers against false organic claims.

To obtain organic certification, farmers will have to be audited and certified annually, to vouch for the ‘integrity’ of the production process.  For its health benefits alone, organic farming and its certification should be encouraged and supported, but it would appear that it is a bureaucratic process and an expensive exercise to obtain organic certification, costing up to R 20000 per year.  Organic certification agencies will be set up to handle the certification.

To get around the expense of organic certification, smaller organic producers will seek to obtain group organic certification under one certificate, the proposed participatory guarantee system being in line with international practice.  The ‘co-operative’ of organic farmers would need to introduce an internal quality management system on their farms, for such a system.  Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths use third-party certification agencies, applying international certification standards.

Organic food is healthier, in containing higher levels of anti-oxidants, Vitamins A and C, and unsaturated fats, says Professor Raymond Auerbach of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  “Organic agriculture offers a real alternative to the way that we produce our foods, the way we mitigate and adapt to climate change, and it is a more sustainable way of operation, because an organic farmer is not dependent on fossil-fuel inputs such as expensive fertilisers and pesticides”, Professor Auerbach said.  He is hopeful that the new Draft Policy will see more organic farming training by the government.

Whilst more expensive, organic foods are increasingly purchased by health conscious, ethically concerned upper-end consumers, and the impending introduction of organic certification is welcomed.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The Sweet Service Award  goes to De Kaap restaurant in McGregor, and is nominated by Michael Mackenzie.  Michael writes that he had lunch at the restaurant, and enjoyed the leek and ricotta cannelloni as well as pear and almond frangipane tart.  They felt like a dessert wine after their meal, and as there was none in stock, the chef quickly drove down the road to the McGregor Winery to buy a bottle of good white Muscadel, served with a slice of lemon and ice.  “It was a perfect match for the excellent tart.  How is that for service!  And keeping the customer happy”, he wrote.

The Sour Service Award  goes to Vida e Caffè, for not displaying its prices at any of its branches.  According to the Cape Times, when tackled about this contravention of the new Consumer Protection Act, Vida representative William Dutton responded: “Not showing prices on our menu boards does not mean that we are expensive or that we are trying to hide anything”.  It is intended to create interaction between the customer and Vida staff, he added.  Vida has announced that it will get around to displaying its prices from 1 July!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.