Charlton Lounges

If I was education secretary I would bring in darts as a compulsory subject for all schoolchildren so they can all learn to add up while having fun and injuring each other.

Obtaining a drink or food in the millennium lounge or crossbars is fraught with a whole variety of unusual mathematical outcomes. The bars are manned by a range of customer shy staff who studiously try and avoid customer eye contact. In the unlikely event that contact is made , a request for a pint of lager or worse a multiple order of a number of drinks is enough to put the entire bar staff team into a dizzy frenzy, which can easily take a full 10 minutes while they try and work out where any of the drinks actually reside behind the bar , how to work the till and the most variable factor of all is the cost and how to add up the total and give the right change. Sometimes (I kid you not) they offer to give you more money back than you gave them in the first place.

How to pour a pint without it consisting of 50 % froth is another issue they haven’t covered in staff training. A few weeks ago the girl serving me threw away 2 whole pints before I told her on the 3rd attempt that if she slightly angled the glass , it would be fine.

However all of that was eclipsed the following week when I told another girl that the lager she had just poured me was flat , so she fetched a straw and proceeded to stir my lager vigorously.
One of the particularly pointless exercises is for the bar staff to have to walk the whole length of the bar to get a ice cold glass out of a fridge , so that they can wander back to the Heineken tap to find out that the barrel has run out anyway.Presumably it’s a brilliant marketing wheeze dreamt up by some recent marketing graduate in Heineken but I can tell them that on a freezing cold December day at the valley when I want a pint of lager I don’t need to weld the skin of my hand to the glass .
Post match tea and coffee is variously priced at £1 or £2 or indeed nothing on an entirely random basis and (although games for the last 100 years, have tended to start at 3pm and finish at 5pm)it’s a constant surprise to the bar staff that people arrive in the lounge at around 5pm and want a hot drink. Often, being the 7th or 8th person in the queue means that the one pre prepared flask of tea was virtually exhausted . This necessitated a long trip to the kitchen while we all waited , then the milk ran out and then the cardboard cups.

Perhaps it’s just me but , although some of the catering options around the ground have definitely improved, the millennium and crossbars lounges have generally got worse over the last couple of years.

Finally and this is a more general point , there always seem to be lots of people in suits, employed in some capacity by the club, both male and female who wander through the lounges without ever asking any of the ‘customers’ whether everything is ok.
As a separate point , if I was the CEO at Charlton , I would be far more visible on match days , running from area to area chasing up the fried eggs or generally getting after the staff to do more. Matchday should be the most stressful day for the CEO.

There is no doubt that advancing age brings a greater propensity to moan ( hence the title of this blog) and I’m promising myself that next year I’m going to be a much nicer moaner. However on Saturday as the eggs ran out for brunch in crossbars and getting a cup of tea afterwards was virtually impossible and the guys upstairs on the door were letting everyone in whilst their colleagues on the door downstairs were stopping non season ticket holders from coming in , when I got home and read Ravi Patel’s comments in the programme ‘ when the football has been great , the hospitality has been even better’ – you certainly could have fooled me Ravi.

6 thoughts on “Charlton Lounges

  1. I’ve just written a very similar letter to our CEO regarding the service (or lack of) in the West Stand and the inadequaices of the staff to carry out the simple task of serving and being just slightly prepared for the rush before the game and at half time and suggested that perhaps she needs to visit a local Mcdonalds establishment to see how the front of counter supervisor organises and manages the counter staff ! Notwithstanding that when you do eventually get to the front of the queue of the outlets in the West Stand they are normally out of any hot food anyhow !

  2. Very funny post but completely true. For the most part they are rabbits caught in headlights. One or two people with an ounce of common sense could double the food and drink sales with no extra staff. Either they are stupid, badly/not briefed, or very badly managed. My guess is that it’s an equal split of all 3.

  3. I am afraid you get Monkeys when you pay peanuts and the churn of staff is so great that hardly any of them get to learn where the products are, how to pour beer or make eye contact with Customers. There is also a laughable absence of any management. On Saturday, chips were allowed to be served stone cold and once returned, they were rested somewhere without anyone tackling the fact that there was no heat source to keep them warm. Agree completely re the CEO although I think she has loftier things on her mind re entertaining VIP’s where my guess is the chips are warm and they have half-trained staff. Given the years of running complaints, I think it’s time we acknowledged that the pressure to square the circle of limited serving windows and need to avoid any over production means they will never deliver a proper service and best to make other arrangements before and after for food and drink – that’s what I resigned myself to a long time ago.

  4. I never ave any problems meself but then I don’t eat fast food n always take me own wa’er n ave become tea total so I never ave any problems with ospitality wotsoever.

  5. At the back of the East Stand my son waited half an hour for his chips on Saturday. He wanted more than chips, but by the time he got to the front that was all that was left – and they were cold.

    I told him when he got back to his seat that he had missed a third of the half and this wasn’t a baseball game that lasted 4 hours. Mind you he didn’t miss much.

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