The Whitbread company is a big outfit and one of their restaurant chains is Table-Table.
Arriving at their Uttoxeter restaurant on Saturday, and being in need of a quick lunch, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the premises contained an assembly of the earliest Christmas decorations I've ever seen.
Checking the date on my phone, just to check that I'd not slipped through some hole in the time-space continuum as I'd earlier passed through Draycott in the Clay ( which I grant you sounds as if such things happen there regularly), I found that , as I first thought, it was still the 14th September.
So not quite halfway through September, someone in a middle management position surely reached by either Peter's, or possibly Dilbert's principle , had instructed the poor hapless manager to build a Santa's Grotto.
Now don't get me wrong, I like Santa as much as the next man, and Grottos too, and the two in combination can be rather splendid fun...... but not when the warmth of the Summer is still such a recent memory.
Unfortunately the high-tech ordering system had decided it was as perplexed as I was by the site of a ' Letter to Santa' postbox on the wall , and decided it didn't want to play ( I did suggest to the manager that it might re-boot on the 1st of December). Rather strangely, the only other time I called there the credit card machines weren't working, no doubt taking the huff at the appearance of Easter eggs , just after Halloween.
The lack of a 'system' cause meltdown. I'm not sure if going through to the kitchen and handing a wee note over to the chef , telling him what the customer wanted , features in the staff training manual. Judging by the time it took to get my meal I suspect all of the kitchen and front of house staff were gathered around the printer in the kitchen in a trance like state, waiting for it issue their every instruction.
Perhaps whoever issued the order for mass grotto genesis to take place across the company would be better issuing notepads and pencils to the staff.
So , without any doubt, Table Table and its ilk win the HMACS business award for idiocy above and beyond the call of duty for
Apologies for the poor quality photo. I think my phone camera lens was blurred by the tears shed to mark the unjustifiable passing of common sense.....