Ok, here I am getting ready to turn in for the night and yet, I feel the need to write. I’m slightly behind on my adventures so I’m backtracking once again to last Wednesday and the story I owe you. One stupid American Tourist, coming right up.
Scenario: A small group of about seven friends- American students in a foreign country, i.e. Ireland– touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral on a Wednesday morning. Trying to save a little money, since the exchange rate is high, they have all decided to pack sandwiches and find a nice spot to eat their lunch during the break before more touring at the Dublin Writer’s Museum. Since the weather has been miserably rainy all morning, and not really thinking about how certain expectations might be different, the seven friends file into a little cafe where they have decided to order coffee and dessert and eat their sandwiches. Their original plan of sitting by the river was crushed due to rain, and a cafe, seemingly casual, seemed like a fairly cheap place to at least order a little something while they ate their sandwiches. And the conflict begins…
So the morning had just been horrible with the rain and we were all very tired of being cold and wet, not to mention getting a little hungry. None of us really wanted to spend too much on lunch since we all have means to pack it, so we decided to try this little cafe, Queen of Tarts (the name should have forewarned us) where we could order coffee and/or dessert while we also eat our sandwiches. I wasn’t even thinking about how things might be slightly different here since we aren’t in America. I know places at home usually don’t allow outside food in, but I go to cafes all the time with a sandwich or something, and as long as I order a drink I’m usually ok to eat. I notice others do it too. Well, it doesn’t quite work that way here. I don’t know if it was because we were a bunch of twenty something students, Americans, or just because we were wet and soggy, but we were completely embarrassed by the owner. We walked into the cafes (Picture of us–happy before) at down over on the side, where no one else was at, and pulled out our sandwiches. The waitress came over and took our order down, not saying anything to us about our sandwiches so we assumed we were ok. Every one of us had ordered something but we ended up being wrong about our sandwiches being ok. About twenty seconds later I saw the waitress convening in the corner talking to what I only presumed to be the owner. Needless to say, the owner came over to us, looking directly at me because I was in the middle) and proceeded to bluntly tell us that “Absolutely not, you can’t have that here, absolutely not” or something to that extent. I immediately felt like an idiot because it seemed directed at me even though it wasn’t.
A few of us tried not to get angry at the point and ultimately didn’t enjoy the dessert we ordered (definitely over priced, but again, should’ve figured that out by the name of the place). We couldn’t figure out why the waitress didn’t tell us herself that we couldn’t eat there when she came over the first time and if I hadn’t been paralyzed with embarrassment I would’ve said to the owner, “Ok, I’m sorry, I’ll take it elsewhere and you can cancel my order.” I still don’t understand the waitress and her inability to explain the rules. In the end, we were stuck with overpriced dessert with no lunch, and then even more angry because they wrote a gratuity on the bill (there was nothing posted about percentage because of group number or anything). We weren’t planning on leaving much because the waitress herself was not friendly and couldn’t even bother to ask us to put our sandwiches away. We just assumed they figured our group had caused enough trouble and wanted more money from us. Even after all of that, they couldn’t take Jill’s debit card because her order wasn’t over 10 Euro (again, nothing posted anywhere about having to have a certain amount to use debitl) so we all threw in some extra coins because they wouldn’t let us pay separately anyway, even though a few other girls from our class were able to pay separately before us. Which I was keen to noticing because I couldn’t help also seeing how they rolled their eyes and made snotty comments about our little experience. They were the type of girls to fit right into the place anyway.
It was just a bad experience gone even more horribly wrong because of embarrassment and suddenly feeling like a stupid tourist. I suppose if it were a good experience, I might suggest you eat there if you ever visit, but I doubt I would. It was really overpriced for something not that good, and their attitudes, not friendly at all. I like to call it the hoity-toity tea shop now that I can laugh about it. The name fits though. The owner was a tart one.
The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and
vowed he’d steal no more.
Have a good night everyone!