Sunday, November 25, 2012

State Run or Private

State Run or Private
November 24, 2012
Lisduania Victorero Reinoso

HAVANA TIMES — A short time ago I went to the Coppelia, the famous
outdoor ice-cream parlor on 23rd Street here in Havana. After standing
in line for about an hour, this is what I found:

One: the flavors posted on the display didn't match those that were
actually available.

Two: the service was poor, just like any place where we pay in national
currency – and since we we're not tourists.

Three: I was left with the question as to whether Coppelia is state run
or private.

The facility is divided into halls, each with X number of tables and
divided for service by X number of employees, though there's a single
area of ice cream bins with several employees filling the orders. So
far, so good – nothing out of the usual.

But then our waiter said, "We just ran out of chocolate ripple." Though
a little disappointed, I simply changed my order. But when I looked
across at another table, I saw them serving the very same flavor that
had supposedly run out.

At first I questioned the waiter because of his apparent lie, but he
explained to me that if I wanted that flavor I'd have to buy it from
waiter serving that other table.

I asked why there was a division of flavors among the waiters if there
was one dispatch area for all the tables in the different areas of the
ice cream parlor.

Either the ice cream was the same for the general public in the three
halls or a scam was going whereby the waiters with the most money were
buying the tastiest ice cream so that they could resell it and make the
most profit for themselves as individuals?

Then, the question that struck me was whether Coppelia is state-run for
the public good or privately owned for profit?

And all this only to eat half scoops of ice cream, because they never
give you a full serving.

But then if it were privately owned this wouldn't happen and I'm sure
that not so many people would have left upset like they did when I was

Another equally amazing thing what that the "syrup" (which actually
looked like sugar syrup), something that was going to be digested, was
packaged in plastic shampoo containers.

I'm no chemist and I don't know a lot about that science, but I've
always heard that plastics retain chemical residuals that can be harmful
to people's health. On top of that, they're esthetically displeasing.

But what's worst of all is that we keep coming back to Coppelia as if
this were the most normal thing in the world, with us responding with no
more than snide comments to the employees, when we should be taking
things to higher levels.

State Run or Private - Havana -

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