"No. I'm sorry, it's only for eat-in. We dont sell it for take-away." she replied
"Why is that?"
"We dont have take-away packages for it."
"What if I buy a muffin, how'd you package it for take-away?" I enquired
"Oh! In a paper-bag." She seemed confused; probably asking what muffin has to do with quiche... or thought I have changed my mind.
"So why not use the same paper-bag for the quiche then. I assume it'd work." I concluded.
The above was a conversation between me and a young lady in a cafe in Salisbury, Wiltshire, during the weekend. She is about 19 - 21 years old, very cheerful in a sheepish way and visibly lacking the so-called common sense. After I had convinced her to package the quiche in a paper-bag - made for muffins as she assumed - we ended up
spending £20 on coffee and snacks for our long drive back to London.
This is the evidence of unwilling imaginativeness in British [young] adults. Because it is not enough to be imaginative, if you aren't going to implement it. This must be the key edge [young] immigrants bring along that makes them a sought-after by small business owners in the food-service and other hospitality and manufacturing industry.
Having worked in the restaurant sector as a student in my first 4 years in this country, which saw me go from cleaner to supervisor and part of the management team in my, I saw first-hand the perils of employing a British [young] adult; you would be jackpot winner of a lottery to land one who is intuitive, inventive, eager and dedicated to the level of service we needed to provide. Many atimes, it requires working longer by half an hour, hours or even a whole extra shift.
From simple requests as the above discussion to complex and difficult situations like terrible customers - of course such exists - the immigrant staff is more adept to dealing with issues and going the extra mile by thinking on his feet than his British counterpart. I can bet my tuppenny that if the cafe staff above was an immigrant, that discussion would most probaly not never have come up at all.
But also, before you get me wrong, by "unwilling imaginativeness in British young adults", I do not mean mean the non-existent of imaginativeness. Also, this may sound stereotypical, but unfortunately, it mainly is the reality. If you dont believe it, go on a restaurant or pub crawling for an unscientific observation yourself.
This endemic problem can be sung but the simple solution is to reorientate young people born in this country from the over-blown sense of privilledge most of them grow up with. For an employer, it is the staff who would give service without grudges and be the welcoming, ever-ready, and friendly face of the business that matters. At the end of the day, their contribution to work enriches this country.
For an immigrant, I had to work or starve, be homeless and drop out of my study. So I gave it my all; charm, friendliness, humility, you name it. But sadly enough, I had no power over what employers offered as pay; although I was never under-paid since my employer had a clear pay structure.