I used to love Tabac Kemang. Until tonight
Sure, some friends like to say “what’s so great about that place? It’s bloody expensive, pretentious, and the crowd is not even that flattering”
Well, I felt differently. I went there occasionally. As a meeting point to meet friends, or as the final destination after a fun night of club hopping
I had fun memories there. From doing a split just to amuse my friends after a few glass of beers (see pic below), or simply having a fun night out for winding myself down after a stressful day at work.
“Let’s meet at Tabac”is something that my friends heard quite often from me.
It was after a pre production meeting outside the office and I was in the mood for a pleasant night out after some very hard week
A friend that I was planning to meet was still caught up in a meeting so I decided to stop by at Tabac and told him to join me there after he’s finished.
After all, I loved the place, I figured a beer or two would make it even better.
My producer kindly dropped me there, and I went inside, straight to the toilet to answer nature’s call. After doing my business, the friend I was planning to meet sent me a text message, telling me that his meeting is going to be longer than expected, at which point I decided to cancel my plan and go home.
When I was walking out of the door, one of the tabac’s security suddenly stopped me in a totally disrespectful manner.
I will write his words in bahasa Indonesia and translate later;
“Mbak, saya perhatikan tadi mbak masuk ke dalam. Saya buntuti dan Mbak langsung masuk ke toilet, lalu langsung keluar lagi. Saya perhatikan juga, Mbak ini sudah sering ya melakukan hal kaya gini. Tolong nggak usah diulang lagi, Mbak, tempat ini bukan toilet umum”
(Ma’am, I noticed when you went inside and I followed you. You only used the toilet and then you went out again. I seem to remember that you’ve done this several times before. Don’t do this again, as this place is not a public toilet)
I was speechless.
What would you do if you were in my shoes? Never in my wildest dream have I ever imagined getting such treatment from a person representing a place where I count myself as a loyal costumer!
I was too angry to mention these things which I believe make sense.
1. Why would he followed me to the toilet? Does he do that to everybody or just me? If it’s just me, what is it about me that he think is wrong? Was it because of my daily office clothes (namely; a tee, jeans, and adidas sneakers)?. It’s hilarious. Tabac is full of advertising agency and production house people. Their staff should have know better than to judge people from their casual wardrobes.
2. Putting my (hurt-hurt-hurt) feeling aside, he might only be doing his job (namely; throwing away people who come there only to use the toilet).
But note what he was saying ” ….I seem to remember that you’ve done this several times before….”
Oh my God. It was a very cruel,humiliating and WRONG thing to say.
He didn’t see me as graduate from one of the toughest university in this country
He didn’t see me as a fun loving ,hard working professional that I am.
He didn’t see me as a creative group head of a multi national ad agency.
He didn’t see me as being a loyal customer who had spent MILLIONS, and bringing her crowd there for a fun night out.
He simply saw me as the girl who peed without buying.
And how did it make me feel?
I could hardly breathe.
I guess the thing with public humiliation like this, it made me feel dirty, and unworthy. It was like this person just take my self worth and trash it.
It somehow feels like a dignity rape.
Let’s learn something from this experience, shall we?
In a second I finally understood why Public Relation is considered to be one of the most important element in a venue. Sorry to say, Tabac’s PR department has a lot of learning to do.
Even now I am trying to put this as a misunderstanding. I honestly think no business would ever KNOWINGLY do this kind of thing to their customer. Neither can i blame Mr Damar (the security guy), he probably is only doing what his bosses is telling him to do (and not even paid all that much to do it ,I’m sure…)
All the same, I can’t help the fact that from this moment on whenever I think of Tabac Kemang, in my head all I can hear is “…INI BUKAN TOILET UMUM MBAK!!” (THIS IS NOT PUBLIC TOILET, MA’AM)
To reward Mr. Damar (the security guy) for catching a non costumer who treated Tabac’s toilet as public toilet, I gave him Rp. 100.000,- He can consider that as a public toilet fee.
Buy something nice with it, Mr. Damar.