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June 26, 2006 09:44 AM

Broken: Veniero's customer experience

This past weekend I went to Veniero's, the venerable Italian pastry shop in Manhattan's East Village.

I like the cheesecake there, the coffee is decent, so it's a nice dessert place. Or used to be. When I was there this past weekend, service was non-existent unless I got up and found the waiter...

Dsc08663...the men's bathroom was full of mess - note the previous patron had used wet toilet paper, since there were no paper towels available...

Dsc08664...and there was graffiti written above the door.

When I left, I saw why nothing was happening there. The two waiters were glued to a TV set, watching the World Cup.

I understand it's an important game, but do customers matter? Does your job matter?


"The fog is rising"... I just can't help but wonder why someone would write that above a door.

Posted by: Chaos at June 26, 2006 09:49 AM

Does anyone else find it odd that there's a poster telling you to 'protect yourself from theft' on the door leaving the restroom?

Posted by: ambrocked at June 26, 2006 10:09 AM

"The fog is rising" well at least graffiti makes sense down there.

Where I am, they're either masterpieces or scribbles.

Posted by: gamekid at June 26, 2006 10:51 AM

I think it's fine that they are watching the world cup and ignoring customers. Heck I ignore my mom when I'm doing nothing ^^

Posted by: Phaldone at June 26, 2006 11:16 AM

OMG ALERT THE FBI! NO PAPER TOWELS AND RANDOM SCRIBBLES ON THE WALL! (but seriously, is this really "broken"?)

Posted by: omfg at June 26, 2006 12:03 PM

An American walks into a coffee and pastry shop anywhere in the world during the World Cup, and finds that the waiters are glued to the TV.

If the location is anywhere other than America, the man is perfectly understanding: Soccer is a religion, and the World Cup is its apotheosis.

If the location is America, the man is not understanding: if you're (un)fortunate enough to be working in the USA during the World Cup, you'll just have to understand that Soccer is not a religion HERE, and that therefore you should just forget about it and not care about it, just like the Americans.

If the location is New York, famed for its multiculturalism and tolerance for others... ach, fuhgeddaboudit, it's still all about me, and I don't care about the World Cup and all I want is fast cheesecake and I'm going start muttering about how these people obviously don't care about their jobs.

Once every four years, Mark, would it kill you to lighten up a little?

Posted by: Felix at June 26, 2006 12:25 PM

Usually, I find that not having paper towels in the restroom is pretty annoying. Using toilet paper is a second option, but whenever I use toilet paper to dry my hands, I often wonder about how sanitary the toilet paper is. I often find in public restrooms that there are additional paper towels hidden beneath the sink or in a cabinet. I don't like those hand dryers either. They take too long to dry my hands.

Graffiti is a fact of city living. There are always going to be some people who can't see a punchbowl without leaving a turd in it. It would be nice if there was no graffiti, but until they start executing taggers, we will have to live with it.

Posted by: eBob at June 26, 2006 12:54 PM

I'd be just as mad if there was no service because all the employees were glued to the TV for the SuperBowl or World Series, American Idol finale, or something else. I don't think it's an "American" thing. It's just that if you absolutely can't miss the game (or whatever), don't work that day or something. Not just for the customers' sake; your boss probably isn't paying you to watch TV all day long either.

I also know, as far as dirty bathrooms, there's a BigBoy in town and their bathroom is ALWAYS dirty. The lock to the stall was broken, garbage on the floor, toilet paper set on top of a handrail (looking like it might've fallen to the floor a few times), no paper towels, etc. The food had always been decent, as had the service, but I stopped going there because if they're that irresponsible in maintaining the toilet, how well can I trust them with my food?

Posted by: SillyGirl at June 26, 2006 01:15 PM

"I often wonder about how sanitary the toilet paper is." (eBob)

It's probably exactly as sanitary as the paper towels, which is probably about ten times LESS sanitary than the exit door handle.

Posted by: Reed at June 26, 2006 01:54 PM

Eff you, Felix. People are paid to do a job. And calling soccer a religion doesn't help excuse the behavior. It only makes the fanatics look even more idiotic, like all religious morons. Maybe if Mark had dressed up in a soccer fan outfit and rioted...

Posted by: The Damned Ghost Of Tookie at June 26, 2006 02:27 PM

The broken part is that you, dear writer, picked a bad time to go eat out. You should know that World Cup is the most important thing in the world. These poor waiters have nothing else in their lives but the hope that thier native country will be miraculously blesed with a World Cup victory. So we all might as well take the month off and be a part of it, because there isn't anything else gonna happen.

(PS, now might be a great time to invade another country, whilst no one is watching the borders.)

Posted by: And yet another different guy named Alex at June 26, 2006 04:00 PM

It's just a case of really poor service.

Verdict? NOT BROKEN! Just lazy employees and bad bathroom cleaning, which is very common in the smaller shops where I live. Yeah, it's worse in shops that have been around since the 80's or earlier without so much as a single repainting.

Posted by: Another guy named Alex B at June 26, 2006 10:05 PM

since when does "really poor service" and "lazy employees" constitute not broken?

Posted by: gmangw at June 26, 2006 10:32 PM

not broken

Posted by: yingjai at June 26, 2006 11:42 PM

Passion is never broken - you just have to learn to understand it

Posted by: David at June 27, 2006 12:24 PM

You went out to eat out during a World Cup game? AND you took a camera to a bathroom? What is wrong with you?

Posted by: What at June 27, 2006 05:21 PM

I think the serving staff's spirit is broken - crushed by repeatedly serving cheesecake near a dirty bathroom.

Posted by: Jerf at June 27, 2006 09:16 PM

David: when the passion concerns a dumb sporting event, yes, it's broken. Passion is something you apply to art, to the struggle for human rights, to prevailing over evil. Sports? Pfft!

Posted by: The Damned Ghost Of Tookie at June 28, 2006 02:32 PM

I can almost read the grafitti.

Posted by: Stanley at June 29, 2006 10:22 PM

"I understand it's an important game, but do customers matter? Does your job matter?"

Nope, and nope - not during the World Cup, anyway. This trumps everything else. It's the one thing everyone (but the Americans) can agree on. For a month, that bright thing in the sky during the day isn't a mildly sized star - it's a Football, glowing with the passion of at least 90% of all life in the immediate area (1000 AUs).

...Although it would be nice if the staff had at least put up a sign for easily-offended Americans...

Posted by: The Blue Hurricane at July 1, 2006 03:07 AM

"Eff you, Felix. People are paid to do a job. And calling soccer a religion doesn't help excuse the behavior. It only makes the fanatics look even more idiotic, like all religious morons. Maybe if Mark had dressed up in a soccer fan outfit and rioted..."

Posted by: The Damned Ghost Of Tookie at Jun 26, 2006 2:27:07 PM

Well, you're obviously another one of those stupid americans--totally out of touch with the rest of the world and with your head up your ass!!!!!

Posted by: me at July 3, 2006 07:32 PM

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