As readers of this blog have probably realized already, I am generally not impressed by the service in Malaysian bars and restaurants. Generally poor and inattentive service is caused by uneducated staff and clueless owners and it is not particularly malicious. For the past year or so I have been a fairly regular visitor to Healy Mac’s in Changkat Bukit Bintang, but yesterday I had what I can only describe as a quite shocking experience there.
When I arrived I bumped into a friend of mine who was seated at a tiny table squeezed into a corner. One of the staff approached us and suggested we moved to a larger table. While moving I pointed out to the staff that this larger table had a sign saying “reserved” on it. The staff said that was not a problem and removed the reserved sign from the table. I now proceeded to order drinks and dinner for two. About five minutes after the drinks arrived, but before dinner arrived, another staff approached us and informed us rudely that “we had to move to another table since this table is reserved”. I pointed out that we had been seated at this particular table by one of the staff (and pointing out to said staff that the table had a reserved sign) and that I found it extremely inconvenient to hoarded around like cattle – in fact inconvenient to a point where I would rather enjoy dinner in an alternative establishment if they insisted. A few minutes later the manager of the place arrived and ordered us to leave the table. He used the word sorry a lot but this must be the particular Malaysian type of sorry (which is just a word with no meaning whatsoever) and the fact that we had been seated at the table by a member of the staff didn’t seem to have any influence whatsoever. At the end of the day I gave up and went to another restaurant for dinner.
While having dinner at Finnegan’s, I couldn’t help myself thinking about good old Fawlty Towers:
It is extremely funny watching John Cleese make an arse of himself, but trust me – my experience in Healy Mac’s was not funny.
I can’t help myself thinking if this is in some way related to the infamous quiz night. Last year Healy Mac started having a weekly quiz night on Mondays and in the beginning it was great fun. Unfortunately at some point the whole thing started being way too serious and to me that reached the pinnacle when I was invited to join some kind of “championship” and without being told or asked turned out to be representing Healy Mac and the name of our team was forcefully changed to reflect that (“Healy Mac’s …). I pointed out that I don’t represent any commercial entity without getting compensated so I immediately resigned from the team and have not participated in the quiz night ever since. I guess in some way this might have been the manager’s little revenge but it is mind boggling how something that should be fun can turn into something this serious.
Speculation aside nothing can change the fact that the staff and the manager of Healy Mac’s stepped out of line in this case and what is worse – they did this knowingly. How on earth they can justify treating their customers with this little respect is beyond me and I can only urge everybody to avoid this place completely.
One last thing. I did notice a few complaints on Healy Mac’s facebook page, and I did in fact comment on one myself. However, within 24 hours my comment (and the other negative comments) were deleted. I have seen this before and I can only repeat that places who do not stand up to public scrutiny but have to hide criticism has got serious problems and that alone is reason enough not to visit them. A serious pub or restaurant listen to their customers complaints – that is the only way they can improve. A place who ignore and try to hide negative comments is a place who have no intention or wish to improve.