Preserving people’s privacy

2017-03-02 06:00

LAST year when we were promoting the district at Indaba 2016 in Durban, I noticed that whilst hundreds of tourists were socialising at a number beachfront hot spots, dozens of non patrons selling things mingled with those just wanting a pleasant outing.

Some would try and sell flowers, fluffy toys and trinkets or raise money from some or other charity. Others would attempt to secure business of a more intimate nature or just simply beg. It was an incessant stream of interruptions for those having their chill time.

By looking at the faces of the patrons it was clear that most had that “Oh no not again” look. Thankfully and politely most sent the money seekers on their way. Hospitality proprietors and their staff did try and keep the influx of sellers away from their properties but the flow was certainly a lot to contend with.

There is nothing wrong with legitimate entrepreneurship as long as a customer is not bombarded with approaches, especially on a property conducting its very own business in convivial surrounds in the first place. Last Sunday I was having a read of the newspaper and having supper at a well-known local restaurant. A person entered the establishment and went up to the table next to me to sell second-hand golf balls.

The occupant, a rather strong up-country fellow, went into apoplexy and responded (sadly using boy’s room language) by remonstrating that it was the third time that day he had been approached by the same person selling the same wares and that the seller’s immediate departure from the restaurant was required.

Disturbed by this I quietly went to one of the staff and said that they should monitor walk-in selling so that customers can have real comfort of visit. His comment is that they try their best and at times it is frustrating. I indicated that it is understandable that street economies are a reality and in tons of cases a necessity however coming into an establishment without the okay from the property’s management could in fact be trespassing. Especially if a person or persons had/have been previously advised not to come in. He indicated that had not thought of that.

I really believe that consumers have a right to privacy as do they have a right to purchase from whomever when touring around our destination. It is clear though that customers prefer not to transact from places where they really only wish to relax, happily wine and dine and be at one with friends and family.

I guess the onus is on proprietors to determine to what extent their customers may be exposed to these vagaries of retail. I for one also do not wish to buy golf balls when I am enjoying a sunset tipple and a wholesome meal just as another lovely sunny South Coast day comes to a stunningly scenic end.

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