Toaster Blues


Every hotel that I have ever been to, from the most opulent five star paradise (now and again) to the down-at-heel, next to the railway station, flea-pit (in my back-packing days) seems to have one and here in Tenerife, it was no different.

And to what do I refer? Well to that ever so strange squeaking, creaking, grinding monstrosity known as “the Toaster”. You never see these things being sold to the public anywhere, probably way too dangerous, but the hotel industry just loves them. So you choose your poison (OK, your bread), you put them on the rolling metal grille while taking great care not to touch anything, and you watch your breakfast disappear into the belly of the beast.

And then you wait and you wait and you wait................

While I waited my mind wandered and I got to thinking about my fellow guests here at this wonderful resort. We were staying in a fabulous hotel, playing golf in glorious weather on a great golf course, enjoying a charming beach and trying to visit more pools and restaurants than you really could use in a week. Yet so many of our fellow guests seemed well, how do I put this, well miserable really. And this was an expensive choice for a spring break regardless of whether golf, sunshine, good food or the equally splendid Spa was your thing. Why on earth then did these clearly wealthy people look like they had forgotten how to enjoy themselves and to make matters worse seemed to be spoiling for an argument at the slightest provocation, real or perceived. You should be having more fun folks!

There was the less than charming German couples who tore strips of the very pleasant and attentive Swiss waiter because, while he could speak Italian, French, Spanish and passable English, he could not take their order in German. They were most put out by this and loudly opined that he had no future in the table waiting business. No matter that we knew he was a student of hotel management on a work experience internship and had no intention of waiting tables as a career choice. They were obnoxious.

Then we had the very well dressed lady who made an exaggerated show of finding fault with her teacup. She strode to the bar holding the offending item away from her, in case she should be infected by it in some way I suppose, and loudly demanded a replacement. This was dissatisfaction on an epic “ I am so important, how can you do this to me ” scale. Or alas the gentleman who displayed what could only be described as a hissy-fit when his preferred outside table at the seafood restaurant was not forthcoming. No matter that they were all occupied by others who had evidently booked in advance or simply got there first.

Depressingly there were other examples too but you get the picture and, underpinning it all, there was the nightly fashion parade to the Lobby Bar. Here every night rich, but apparently unhappy, people sat in their smartest designer labels sullenly eyeing each other in near silence while nursing very expensive cocktails, oh dear.

I remember reading somewhere once about a condition called Wealth Fatigue Syndrome (WFS) and scoffing at its silliness. But here, well here you could almost reach out and touch the WFS in the air. Why does this happen, what makes these people so precious about their evidently wealthy, successful, comfortable but seemingly unhappy lives? I reckon there is a whole untapped industry to be exploited here, much money to be made scrutinising these people the world over although perhaps I come late to this, exhibit A being the aforementioned WFS.

For the record we enjoyed ourselves, we lost lots of golf balls but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. However next time I think we might opt for a three star hotel. While the guests may have less money they undoubtedly seem to have more fun.

Meanwhile back at the breakfast buffet I am still waiting for the beast to release my breakfast, bent double now peering into the toaster. I'm sure that man's bagel went in ages after my slices of bread. Where can they be, has somebody else taken them?

Maybe I should complain........................”

B Donnelly

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