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Thursday 5 February 2004 1.26am
How about it for the next forum social? I want to meet all the folks.
Thursday 5 February 2004 11.03am
I'll come if they can promise coffee with shots of brandy in. (In fact, if they do really big shots of brandy, then I could imagine taking home a piece of art)

...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
Sunday 8 February 2004 3.53am

Would love to put some faces to the "handles" (is that too old fashioned & C.B?) Have been reading all your postings for some time now - just too chicken to comment 'till now!

Suggest if Forum meeting arranged at Sobo that Ivanhoe leaves his credit card at home - seems too easily tempted!

Not sure about Sunday Muffin ... would prefer some nice crumpet myself. (see, old fashined gal!)

There is no such thing as an Athiest on a Battlefied ... Anon
Monday 9 February 2004 10.20am
Popped in on Sunday morning for coffee and a muffin - both of which were very, very nice. Lots of papers to read - friendly and efficient staff. My only slight bugbear was the chain-smoking Italian couple at the next table (possibly because she stubbed her cigarette out in the saucer for my coffee cup !).

When I asked the waitress, she explained the policy is that people can smoke at the front of the cafe, not the back (where I was) but since there was a couple with a baby at the front, she felt it was ok for them to smoke in the middle.

I know we've had this debate elsewhere and I really don't want to re-ignite it (no pun intended), but I really didn't feel like it was a big enough space, or with good enough ventilation to have a half and half policy, and I felt (and smelled) like I'd come straight from a club by the time I left 20 mins later.

Will definitely go back, but only after checking out if anyone is smoking before I order.

Thursday 12 February 2004 7.44pm
Dear Harriet
Thanks for coming into SoBo...and sorry your visit was spoiled by the smokers next to you. We have thought long and hard about our smoking policy, only to conclude that it is a subject on which we just cannot hope to win. And in our anxiety to please everybody, we risk pleasing nobody....
As a non smoker myself, I understand that a chain smoker at the next table must have been very annoying. And yet we are an Italian styled coffee shop where many of our best customers come to read the paper, drink an espresso and smoke a cigarette. For them it is a vital part of the ritual.
I have had a meeting today with a specialist consultant, and we are planning to install in a commercial extract system within the next few weeks. And of course once the weather brightens up we can open up the garden area at the back. I hope that these two factors will help to solve the problem. In the meantime bear with us, and the next time you come in we will try to find you a more comfortable table.
Peter Leonard
Friday 13 February 2004 7.46am
a garden area at the back sounds great peter. Harriet -I am intrigued where was your coffee cup?

Friday 13 February 2004 9.42am
Good Customer Relations answer from Sobo on smoking - well done!!
Friday 13 February 2004 10.13am
Thanks Peter - I agree, it's a subject where no-one can hope to please everyone all the time. It certainly won't put me off coming back, and the garden sounds like it could be very pleasant in summer. Without wishing to reignite the whole debate, everyone has a choice and it is fair that smokers should be free to smoke in those establishments that have chosen to allow it. In the same way, I have a choice either not to go to those places, or not to sit down at a table next to someone who is smoking.

To answer Jan's question, my cup was on my table, but at the edge. She had run out of space in her own saucer...

I did try and give her the Harriet-perhaps-you-would-like-to-consider-apologising-for-your-incredible-lack-of-manners-death-stare(TM), finely honed over many years, but it's not very effective when the receipient can't see past her mane of carefully coiffed and sprayed to within an inch of its life hair and the cloud of cigarette smoke ! Bitchy ? Moi ?

Friday 13 February 2004 10.45am
I've given up death stares, takes too much out of me - direct action is more effective [I did once pick up an apple core someone had just chucked on the tube train floor and popped it into their bag as I was getting off the train - then it was all I could do to stop myself legging it away down the platform, being self-righteous is so exhausting]. You could have tried giving her the saucer with a sweet you-obviously-need-this-more-than-I-do look, but it sounds as though she would have been impervious to such subtlety.....
Friday 13 February 2004 10.58am
What is the causation for the strong correlation between high-maintenance hair and chain smoking?

I have often wondered whether applying the still warm butt to the immaculately coiffed hair may result in spontaneous combustion of the accelerants in the hair spray - thus teaching the nicoteenie to respect other customers personal space.
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