Funny Thing About South Africa

So I’m at the Michaelangelo Hotel, (300$ USD per night minimum) in Johannesburg, South Africa… it is 11pm and I’m hungry since I just flew in, and since this is a luxury hotel, the hotel’s restaurant is still open, of course… I end up waiting 20 mins for my ceasar salad (that I ordered “to go”), but this poses no problem as I was having an interesting conversation with an ex secret service agent… so time flew by! I finally get my salad and go back to my room to work and eat… and I realize as I open my bag, that the restaurant forgot to give me a fork… “no problem” I think to myself, I’ll just call room service to get them to bring me one, this is an expensive hotel so this kind of service should be a piece of cake……. right?

“Room Service how can I help you?”

“Yes hello, I just ordered some food and wanted to get a fork since the restaurant forgot to give me one…”

“You ordered food from Room Service?”

“No no, I ordered a salad from the restaurant downstairs, and I have it with me, but they forgot to give me a fork…”

“Ah you want a fork? Ok, I can bring you one, but I will have to charge you for it…”

I paused… in awe of what I just heard…

“Uhm, are you serious? This is a joke right? I just need a fork for the salad I just bought, I bought it from the hotel restaurant downstairs… I… ” (I’m at a loss for words)…

“Yes sir I heard you but I have to charge you for the fork…”

“Ok ok, so how much is a fork?”

“15 Rand (2 USD$)”

“Ok forget it… thank you” and CLACK! I hang up the phone in frustration, and try my way with the reception desk, which refers me to Room Service…

So here is where I had to stop resisting letting out the frustration and explained in as little aggressivity as I could, to the man at the front desk, that this was ridiculous, and that I just need someone to bring me a fork from the restaurant on the main floor where I got my salad 10 mins ago… and I do not think I should pay for it… he insists that they usually charge for that, it is standard procedure and I finally cut him off to tell him “ok ok ok forget it…” and he then turns the conversation around and says “ok let me try to figure it out for you sir”…

Wow, I’m in true awe… you know, South Africa is a pretty advanced country, and this hotel, is nicer than any hotel I have seen in Canada (see photo below)… but getting a fork, at 11:30pm, when the staff has NOTHING to do, and the restaurant is open and forks are just lying there when I am owed a fork since I BOUGHT my salad…. “it’s ok it’s ok…. calm down” I have to tell myself…

Believe it or not, the reception called me back, I had to re-explain the story (probably to a supervisor) who then authorized the logistics for the fork transportation to my room…

WOW….! Mission Accomplished guys… good job! Now I can add you to the long list of “Service gone horribly wrong” restaurants and hotels on this planet…

Anyway… I’m off to an 11-day Africa Safari so I am not complaining, I just had to write this down 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Funny Thing About South Africa

  1. This is hillarious and terrible at the same time. I wish I was taking this trip – sounds awesome! Have fun. Have to tell you what happened to me once at the Marriott in Guatemala City very similar context – I arrived very late from a trip to some communities in a jungle and had stomach ache so I ordered room service a chicken broth and they actually delivered to me “powdered chicken broth” on a bowl, full to the top, no water, no veggies, no rice, just the powdered broth…! Just cuz I said “consome de pollo” instead of “caldo de pollo”…u don’t know what to do – laugh or cry!!!

  2. Awww honey !!! That’s madness ! I don’t I have ever heard any luxury hotel ‘charging’ to bring you a fork especially ‘after’ you have ‘paid’ to eat something at their restaurant !

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of your memorable moments from this trip =)

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