Being a parent can put a significant strain on your social life. In order for it to survive it has to adapt and evolve until it becomes more family friendly. Luckily for Dan and I we have some very understanding friends who are willing to make the change too. Some are a little too eager and suggest fun trips, such as the beach or picnics. These people (and they know who they are) just need to hurry up and have their own kids. They know they want to!
So, on Sunday, we arranged to meet with some of our closest friends for Sunday lunch at Nandos. Classy eh? I like Nandos. It is gluten free and you don’t have to spend hours deciding what you want. Everyone has chicken. Also you feel absolutely no obligation to tip because you do all the bloody work for them. There have been many occasions where I have seen my dinner sitting under the heat lamp and considered going and getting it. This would entirely eliminate the need for the serving staff, who, on this occasion, turned out to be our biggest problem.
Our friends arrived a couple of minutes before us and informed the waitress that we would be needing a table for four plus space for a pram. The waitress did a cracking job and found a table that was perfect. Shortly, we rocked up with pram and plonked ourselves at the allocated table. We have barely had time to tell the story of my terrible parking in the car park (I had taken several attempts to straighten the car up and in doing so had accidentally lent on the horn and drew the attention of everyone in earshot to the fact that I was making a pigs ear of it), when some youth came to evict us. This man, who appeared to be in a position of seniority, said that we couldn’t leave our pram where it was as it was blocking a main walkway. It really wasn’t! There was space to get round and if they needed more space there was an empty table that they could have moved to one side.
Thus unravels quite a heated discussion between myself and this man about what we should do. Emily is too young to sit in a high chair, hence why we had taken our pram so she has somewhere to sit whilst we had dinner. Nandos seemed unable to offer us another table or any other solution. AND just to heighten my frustration this guy used the phrase “I didn’t mean to piss you off”, which I think is completely unacceptable. This was in front of my daughter and many other children in the restaurant too.
Now I have to confess that I can be a bit almost aggressive in these situations. I don’t mean to be, but I get upset at confrontation and to stop myself from crying and losing face I get kinda angry. So this poor fella didn’t get the best of me. I feel guilty for doing it, as after 6 years of working on a customer service desk I know how he must’ve felt. However he came over with absolutely no solution for us. I found this annoying!
Well, we left! We went over the road to TGI Friday’s who were the exact opposite. Warm, welcoming and completely understanding of our need for space around the pram and the manager even whispered as he took our order so as not to wake her. If it hadn’t have been for the experience there I would have gone home completely disheartened. I think it is quite brave for parents to take small babies out (I certainly still get nervous) and family restaurants, like Nandos should try their best to make this as easy as possible. TGI’s were wonderful. We also went to GBK earlier in the week (don’t judge) and they were superb, even offering to keep my dinner warm whilst I was breastfeeding. Sorry Nandos, but this time you just weren’t good enough!