Willy Wonka was an arsehole

The letter request:

I like my chocolate and I like having a chocolatier in my hood. Despite it’s awfully hip vibe, I’ve enjoyed meeting friends there for treats. I’ve enjoyed my interactions with the perky staff, love looking through the little window at chocolate preparations. But then one busy Saturday, as I was paying for my bill something very disturbing happened. A woman, clearly new to the job, offered to split my bill. When she enquired as to the process for doing this she was admonished in a humiliating, over-the top-way. I was humiliated, for the Monsieur, and in pain for the cashier. I understand stress, I understand frustration with people not doing what you expect, but if the incident made me too sick to return with my custom, how must she have felt? And now I’m sad for everyone. Her, him and my chocolate-deprived self.

 

The letter:

Dear Monsieur Chocolat,

Willy Wonka was an arsehole. A creative genius, yes, but an arsehole nonetheless. He took a group of kids on a tour of his chocolate factory and then treated them as collateral damage when they fell into vats or exploded.

This is okay though, because Willy Wonka is fictional. His creator, Roald Dahl, is known for despicable characters who are the delight of wicked children and adults alike.

You are, Monsieur Chocolat, a chocolatier like Willy Wonka. But you are not, I sincerely hope, an arsehole.

I love your café. It has been amazing addition to my neighbourhood. I’ve spent time peering through the little window to see how the chocolate is prepared, chatting with your friendly staff and I’ve appreciated the thoughtful way you answered when I enquired about the sourcing of your beans. On the whole, my experience of your enterprise has been exemplary.

Your chocolate is amazing yet a recent experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I visited with a friend one busy Saturday and a staff member kindly offered to split my bill. She was very clearly new to the job. When she asked you the process for doing this, you admonished her in a humiliating, excessive manner.

I don’t know the backstory. Maybe only two minutes earlier you had clearly explained to her that bill splitting is a no-go zone. Maybe as part of your standard induction for new staff you’d had her get ‘We DO NOT spilt bills’ tattooed across her lower back and yet still she forgot.

The thing I do know is this: the whole interaction was awful. I felt awful, she must have felt awful and it made you look awful. So awful that since this occasion, no matter how much I crave a hot chocolate and a cosy hour with a book or a friend, I cannot bring myself to set foot through your door.

This is not in protest: I know the absence of my patronage will have no impact whatsoever on your business. It is quite simply that I now feel a little bit sick when I think of you.

Eventually, I’d love to give your café another try and am hopeful that getting this off my chest will help me do that. I’m also hopeful that you’ll think twice before being rude to your staff again, especially in public. The fact that you have a window for customers to watch chocolate making suggests you know you’re selling an experience. Watching someone be intimidated and humiliated is not what I’d call a palatable experience.

Yours sincerely,

Miranda