Faith Sim, who works and lives in Hong Kong, is back for her annual summer holiday. Last year when she was here, she lunched at E Food and Wine in Dempsey Road and was full of praise for its child-friendliness. She wrote to me and I posted her story on my blog.
But she had a different experience this time --- not at the E restaurant but at Marmalade Pantry in Ion Orchard. She obviously wanted to get it out of her system, so she wrote to tell me about it.
Here's her letter of complaint to the restaurant:
"I'm writing in with regards to the lunch experience that I had at your outlet at Ion this afternoon. I am a Singaporean who works and lives in Hong Kong. I'm back in Singapore on my annual summer break. I decided to meet my close friend with her husband at your Ion outlet with my 11-month old son. They were very excited to meet my son as they have not met him before.
"We did have a great time catching up since we only see each once a year and there's nothing to fault the food that was served to us.
"However the lunch experience was marred by a certain wait staff of yours. My 11-month old son was very happy and excited to see my friends and thus he was squealing with excitement and happiness.
"A pudgy female wait staff (sorry, didn't manage to catch her name) came to me and told me that there the other guests were complaining of the baby's squeals and she said that she's not chasing us away but just to let us know.
"I was quite upset about it. When my frend got to the restaurant, she informed the wait staff that there will be a baby joining her for lunch, none of your staff told us that no babies are allowed. There were no signs to say that no babies were not allowed too. Plus your menu does have child meals.
"Therefore we took it that it is a child friendly or baby friendly cafe. I've worked as a wait staff throughout my days at university and interestingly, I graduated with a Bachelor of Hotel Management. I do not have to teach or train your staff to manage the expectations of the other guests. I am a paying guest and I have a right eat and drink in the cafe just like everyone else too.
"Has your staff also considered what if I had a special child who was not able to control his behavior? Wouldn't that be hurtful as well? He was sitting in his high chair having fun and therefore he squealed. He wasn't running around and knocking into people and causing breakages?
"The cafe is set in the middle of a shopping mall and it is not a fine dining restaurant that we have to speak in hush tones. There's noise everywhere. Manage the guests and think of a way to solve the issue.
"I can understand if other guests were irate with the baby's incessant crying or screaming but he was having fun and was excited.
"By the way, as I was walking out, there was a Caucasian lady with a baby that was crying and it seemed to me that nothing was been said to her. Am I singled out because I'm Asian and Singaporean and therefore your wait staff told me off but with the Caucasian lady, she's not saying anything? This is racism and being discriminatory.
"This has really left a bad taste in my mouth. I will not be patronising your outlets anymore."
Looks like Marmalade Pantry has lost at least one customer!