Before we start, the names and places have been removed because we are nice like that plus our new year resolution is to be less chippy!
I met a potential business client yesterday. The potential client was from outside of the borough but suggested we meet at a place that they had attended training courses at. I parked my car, went to reception, gave them my registration number and then met potential client.
I mistakingly thought they had booked office space but they hadn’t. No sweat, we will pop over the road and have a coffee.
I explained our change of plan to the receptionist.
“Sorry you will have to move your car”
I tried the charm offensive.
“We will only be twenty mins”
“Sorry, we have a meeting booked. You have to move your car.”
“I can understand that. You know I’m not being funny, we give this place a lot of free publicity and exposure.”
“That is a different issue. You have to move your car…….”
As the words..computer…says…no…were coming into my mind, we decided to move the car, drive twenty yards, pay and display and pop into the next place.
“Hi, we aren’t staff but can we use your cafe to have a quick meeting.
“Sorry, if you aren’t staff or from the council, we cannot let you in.” the receptionist replied
“Right….listen we will only be twenty minutes..I can appreciate…
“Sorry, you aren’t allowed.”
“Here’s my card. We actually do a lot of business together.”
“I’m sorry but….”
We moved on….we went to a cafe.
“One coffee, one tea please.”
“Sorry, unless you are eating, we can’t serve you.”
I was starting to look for a star, three wise men and a donkey at this point.
I turned to my potential client and asked for her opinion.
She said” “I can see their points but it was the inflexibility, the inability to think outside the box that was really surprising.
“In many ways that is the perceived stereotype of Thurrock as a cold place that finds it difficult to engage.”
So we went to the Thameside Theatre where the wonderful new Cafe 4 U served us coffee and free mince pies. The cafe is a partnership between Batias, the PCT and Thurrock Council.
We had a great meeting and hope to do business in the future. Next day, I passed by the Thameside and there she was, in Cafe4U with a number of clients.
She said: “Hi, did you write that blog piece on yesterday’s experience. I was telling everyone about it”
“I am just about to but naturally, no names, no packdrills.” I replied.
The danger is that she doesn’t have to be so diplomatic and the ripple effect of the “no room at the inn” experience can have a damaging, depressing or debilitating effect.