zondag 23 november 2014

Running a Business Together

It’s very common for husbands and wives all over the world to run a business together. I often wonder if this really is a perfect thing. Because they see each other all day, there will be not much to tell after the work is done reviewing the day. They have seen the same thing most of the day. A nice thing can be the dividing of tasks. Knowing each other very well this should be an easy thing to do.

In the city of Tavira in the Algarve in Portugal I have witnessed two situations where the dividing of the tasks was a bit weird.

My wife and I are regulars in a very tiny restaurant where they serve excellent grilled meat and fish.

It’s called “El Emigrante” and it’s a bit aside of the rest of the bars and restaurants in the centre of the city. All the work in this restaurant is being done by a man who we have nicknamed Saddam Hussein and an elderly woman. He does the cooking and serving, she does the cleaning of the dishes and prepares salads. There is a third person: his wife. Most of the time she occupies a table at a very strategic spot in the restaurant. From there she has a good view of the television. With the remote control in hand she makes comments about the football that is shown. And he runs pass her with food, drinks and bills. Symbolically she has a kitchen towel in her hands. This is not an observation I made once, it’s like this every evening…

When we are too tired to walk a long way we sometimes go across the road from the hotel. There is a restaurant called “Martin Guerreros”. The situation over here is comparable. In here a television is blaring about football too. The owner stands in front of this, dressed impeccable and with a clear desire to keep it like that. His wife is always pregnant when we eat at his place. The last time we were there, she had three children sitting at a table doing homework and coloring.

She was responsible for cooking, the cleaning and the dishes. It was not very surprising that she was in the kitchen when two of the children got in a quarrel. He called her to the scene and so she ran in as fast as her big belly permitted her to do that. The two children were taken upstairs and surprisingly quickly we heard her busy in the kitchen again. The food she served was really good but he started to annoy us by doing nothing at all. We tried to get him into action, so we asked for new drinks. He came into action: his wife was called from the kitchen to serve us!

The same thing happened when we asked for the bill. She ran to our table, cleared it and came back with the bill and two glasses of a local liqueur. After that she took the third child upstairs. We were the only customers left and so her husband had only us to care about.

When we got up and went to the door he came over and opened it for us. That looked quite friendly but he really had another goal: he stepped out too and lighted a cigarette.

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