Tag Archives: looking smart

Smart? Definitely NOT.

I gotta admit it  – Dormans “The Coffee Experts” make some pretty damn good coffee this side of East Africa.  They have also smartened up some of their spaces in Nairobi. Take their big, bright, brand-new joint in Nakumatt just off the Karen roundabout.  The two-level cafe has a mix of tables à deux, easy armchairs, slouchy couches, barstool and countertop corners, and a couple of purposedly-distressed hardwood, seats-eight behemoths of a table.

Their internet service is fast – there are times when downloads speeds can reach almost 1 MB (I know, quite pathetic, because that is already considered “blazing” fast here in Kenya) but the Karen “Welcome to Dormans Fast Internet” speed norm is  between 125 to 350 kbps with very occasional dips to 90, 35, to 0 kbps. (I know…). Their internet speed graph looks like a surfer’s dream of spikey huge waves…

And what’s this??  The ladies room looks smart. Wow. But there are no hooks to hang bags, shopping, or jackets inside the toilet cubicles. Where do they expect the women to put their bags while they do their thing? On the toilet roll dispenser?? On the floor?? Round their necks?? Hmmm.

The servers are unsmiling and they give an impression of efficiency. But… they invariably get something wrong in my order. I always ask for artificial sweetener and they always hand me a sugar bowl even if they earlier said they have Canderel or such.

One time my house coffee arrived looking and smelling suspiciously dreggy. Ugh. Sigh.

But that’s not really my beef with Dormans “The Coffee Experts” – Karen. Their joint is so new they haven’t managed to make the prices on their menu match with what’s on their point-of-sale registers. In fact, they haven’t even managed to have their menus match.

In one menu, a small cup of house coffee is listed at Ksh140, the medium cup at Ksh170, while the large cup is attractively priced at Ksh180.  So imagine my consternation when I am handed a bill for Ksh220 for my large cup of house coffee.

“Excuse me, miss, but it says in your menu, house coffee large should be Ksh180.”

“Our program has a problem. It should be Ksh180. That’s what you’ll pay for.”

So why didn’t you say that?? I hand her Ksh200.

Another day, my significant other and I each order the house coffee small. It is listed at Ksh140 in the menu handed to us, which is the way it should be priced. Sometime later, feeling peckish and wanting another small cup of coffee, I ask a passing waiter for the menu. Hmmm, house coffee small is at Ksh170, medium at Ksh200, and large at Ksh240?? Hmmm, I think to myself, does Dormans “The Coffee Experts” have different prices in the afternoon?? A check with the waiter reveals that, oh no, there is a problem with their menus. I was evidently handed a menu with the “wrong” prices. There are two (maybe even three??) sets of menus with different pricing schemes. A misprint, I am assured by the waiter.

Well, for crying out loud, why can’t you tell me you handed me a misprinted menu?? In fact, why hand out misprinted menus to customers at all?? It’s not like the place is crawling with customers that you’re running out of the damn menus.

That’s the second time they’ve omitted telling me there’s a problem with their prices. One more time and it will be a “strike three, you’re out” for them.

You know, Kenyans pride themselves on looking smart. The highest  compliment one can give a Kenyan is to tell them: “You look smart.” They will puff out their chests and preen like pea-brained peacocks. But looking smart and being smart are two very different things.

Dormans “The Coffee Experts” – Karen looks smart. But do they work smart?? Nah.

I’m about to ask for my bill. Let’s see if they strike themselves out.

Watch this space! 😉