08 March 2007

Tea & Zero Sympathy

Let me just say first that I love Tea & Sympathy and A Salt & Battery, the cozy Limey food hangouts in Greenwich Village. I've enjoyed many visits there and am supportive of independent shopkeepers who add to the varied cultural character of the city.

But I guess it's been a while since my last visit to the eateries, because when did Tea & Sympathy et al becoming the cranky bossyboots of Greenwich Avenue? Looking in the window of A Salt & Battery I saw this unfriendly sign:

Then I spotted a sign in the window of the affiliated store next door that sells stuff like crisps and Heinz' Baked Beans that told me shoppers were being watched by surveillance cameras. And finally, posted on the door of Tea & Sympathy itself was the whopper of them all: a full list of do's and don't's and nasty ol' rules you had to read and abide by if you wanted to so much as step across the threshold. Among them: You will not be seated until your whole party has arrived; you will be asked to move to a different table if management needs the one you're at; there is a $9.50 minimum charge per person; you may be asked to clear out if you've stayed too long and they need your table; and, my favorite, be pleasant or be gone because "the Tea & Sympathy girls are always right."

I was surprised not to see something like "You'll be slapped repeatedly and like it!" This list was titled "Nicky's Rules," after owner Nicky Perry, who apparently would be ready to challenge Marshall ("Give the lady what she wants") Fields to a mud-wrestling contest if the retail magnate were still alive. The whole thing got my back up and made me want to boycott Perry's shops forever. She's got the whole thing backwards. I know New Yorkers can be rude and bossy when dining and shopping, but, I'm sorry, the customer is still alway right, not the freakin' Tea and Sympathy girls, however upright and hard-working they might be.

I know you've been hurt badly sometime in the past, Nicky. But take down the signs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The store selling the baked beans etc should also be avoided as it sells pirated copies of dvds and videos. Surely that goes against all their principles of being a local store selling hard to find (?) British stuff. Shows that they're willing to accept a buck and sell out on basic principles like selling genuine items. Shame on them. And the whole set of rules etc in both stores - a load of rubbish. Lots of other good options in NYC to support...who needs a cup of tea that badly?