For Roccco - The Apostles

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Feb 17th, 2004, 12:17 PM
  #1
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For Roccco - The Apostles

Roccco,

Sorry that you are coming in for so much flack today but I have to remind you that you opened the debate and I can but only comment using your own words of "thats the nature of the beast". Rest assured that I still think you are a good hearted and well meaning Fodorite

I really do not understand where your statement of "I know that as a result of my raves about the Twelve Apostles Hotel, although Mr. Selwyn would have you believe that it is a dump with a freeway buzzing through the main lobby, that at least two other Fodorites have stayed there and loved it" comes into this debate, hence I am opening a new message thread.

In terms of the Apostles you are totally wrong with why I feel it is NOT a place to stay in Cape Town,. Yes it is right next to a freeway which presents a huge noise problem, (you stayed at the hotel on over a holiday period and have no idea of how bad the noise is on a weekday and Saturdays) however that is NOT my main gripe with the hotel.

The main problem with the Apostles is its location and one cannot change the fact that it is 25 minutes outside the main city centre and is very awkwardly placed to visit the City Centre, Winelands or Hermanus be it because of distance or traffic. If anybody challenges me on this point what more can I say other than I do these tours/visits twice a week, live 20 minutes from the Apostles and somehow or other I think that I have more experience to comment.

In terms of accommodation quality I will not challenge the fact that the hotel is very good, if not totally classy, HOWEVER there are just as good, if not better places and deals all over Cape Town. Therein lies my gripe with the manner that you promote the Apostles in that you speak as if it is the only place in Cape Town that offers great accommodation at wonderful prices via Luxury Link. Well imho you are wrong and I can prove it because I can rattle off at least 10 to 20 other places at better prices that offer equivalent quality that are much better placed location wise in my city. The fact that you and others have enjoyed the Apostles is fantastic as far as I am concerned however do not make it out to be the only and very best in town. In one of your mails your quite ridiculously quoted that in years to come you foresaw the hotel to become one of the top 5 hotels in Cape Town. Hello!!!! This self same hotel has in a period of 6 years already gone through 2 desperate sell outs due to bankruptcy looming and its present owners are trying to pull every stop out of the book to bring it to the fore as best they possibly can. For this I credit them however that does not make their product the so called wonderous one that you sketch and no matter what their main bugbear viz. location cannot be changed. You have to measure every place up against the other and that is what you have failed to do.

In terms of the Luxury Link bids let me ask the question as to why does the Apostles use the facility of giving away huge discounts to attract when other venues are not doing this in Cape Town? Please do not misunderstand me as I believe Luxury Link is great however just because you got a great deal it does not make the venue the best. To know what is the best you have to have experience all of the best so as to make a valued judgement.

A final point is the question of why does one not see locals visiting or frequenting the facilities of The Apostles. The answer is simply location, location location!. With that said one of the biggest tips that I have learnt in all my years of travel is to always listen to the locals. Enough said in this regard.

Roccco as much as you rave about the Apostles and as good as it might be I maitain that there definitely are better places to stay in Cape Town when one visits us. My gripe, which has nothing to do with the earlier tour operator thread as you seem to believe, is that you talk with great authority about accommodation in Cape Town yet other than the Cape Grace, Mount Nelson and Table Bay Hotel do not seem to know about these wonderful places at all. Please recommend people to The Apostles with the greatest of joy and I hope that they enjoy their stay however do not forget that there are other places in my great city that offer wonderful, if not better, accommodation too.

Hope this puts this subject to bed once and for all.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Feb 17th, 2004, 12:51 PM
  #2
dlm
 
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Totally off topic: Selwyn, is your e-mail working today?? I have tried to email you a couple of times this afternoon (about an upcoming trip to Cape Town) and it bounces back each time. Not sure why.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Selwyn,

I, for one, and KEWILLIAM, another Fodorite that posted on the subject in his trip report from December, 2003, VALUED the hotels privacy and distance from the Waterfront.

I have stayed at the Table Bay Hotel and did not care for its location right in the heart of the Waterfront with a million people all around.

The Cape Grace's location, IMO, is not any better and offers a view of a harbor full of aging ships.

The Mount Nelson is in the City Bowl, not the most desirable place.

Good luck finding a room at any of the above three places, which are widely regarded in foreign publications as the top three hotels in Cape Town, for less than about $400 USD per night for a standard room. For a junior suite, double that price.

I realize there are other hotels such as The Bay Hotel, Cellars-Cohenhort? and others, but, again, it is the three that I listed that get all the attention and in comparison to the three, I would put the Twelve Apostles at the top of the list, regardless of price.

So, when the hotel offers a suite at what I ultimately paid, about $150 USD per SUITE per night for a 4 night package that included plenty of amenities, including free transfers into Camps Bay and the Waterfront, as well as a great buffet breakfast daily, one dinner, a welcome drink, a bottle of wine and a fresh fruit baskey daily.

The hotel is still trying to establish itself, and that is why I believe they have offered the Luxury Link package. There is no STIGMA attached with offering a Luxury Link package. I have seen some pretty great places use Luxury Link, so attaching any such stigma to the Twelve Apostles for its partnering with Luxury Link is unfair.

When I go to Africa, it is to get away from the crowds, and that even includes while I am in Cape Town. Therefore, the Twelve Apostles, in my book, is the best hotel in Cape Town that I have yet visited and I have visited most of the reputed best hotels in Cape Town.

The noise issue is really a NON-ISSUE as is the distance to the Waterfront or Camps Bay. It is not more than 5-10 minutes away from Camps Bay and on an all day tour to the Cape Winelands or further, what is 5-10 minutes in the grand scheme of things?

Anybody interested in visiting Cape Town should go to Luxury Link and pick yourself up a 3 or 4 night package that will cost half the price of staying at the Cape Grace or Table Bay and far less than staying at The Commodore or any other B-list hotel in Cape Town.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 02:15 PM
  #4
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DLM

My email is working and I have already responded to your mail. Hope you received the detailed response.

______________

Now onto the more important part of this mail...

My dear Roccco,

You obviously dont understand what I am telling you about accommodation in Cape Town. What I am saying is that it is NOT the Grace, Table Bay or Nelson you should be talking about. I would NEVER recommend these places to my own visitors. It is however places that you have never ever heard of such as Camps Bay Terrace that make The Apostles look silly in comparison to all that it offers. The problem is that you dont know of these places yet you speak with great authority on the accommodation potentials of Cape Town as if the Apostles is the be all and end all of accommodation in our city. Sorry to tell you that in my opinion a two or three night stay on one or two occasions does not make you this type of expert.

When it comes to solitude sometimes I also prefer travelling this way but I do not travel to cities to stay in great hotels at cheap prices with wonderful food baskets and free drinks;. If you want these facilities then I suggest that you travel to Las Vegas! I travel to cities of the world so as to discover and experience the city and its peoples. I will stay in the best possible places where these factors become available to me. Amongst others as an example The Commodore in Cape Town is one of these places purely because of its location, hence I disagree with your opinion of this venue. It is my opinion that closeness to all is a vital factor when it comes to choices of places to stay when touring the cities of the world

In terms of distance Camps Bay is not where you should be measuring how far The Apostles is from all. The city centre is the measure you should work with and believe me it will take you 20 minutes on a clear traffic day and 30 minutes on a busy day to travel to the city centre. That means an extra hour of travel when you visit the winelands as an example. If in your one day of travel in Cape Town you managed to better this time then you were indeed very lucky.

As far as a stigma attachment between the Apostles and Luxury Link is concerned I certainly did not mean it to come over this way. What I was trying to say is that the Apostles is in the Luxury Link programme purely because of a lack of numbers staying at the hotel and the latter factor says it all in terms of the hotels popularity as far as I am concerned.

I say again the Apostles would be an extremely comfortable place to stay in Cape Town if you are looking for a posh hotel at a good price which is far from all and noisy to boot. With that said as per your quote I have to mention that Kewilliam was on honeymoon when he visited the Apostles and I would agree that it is a good honeymoon venue. My opinion still remains that if you want to truly experience Cape Town and its peoples as well as all that it offers staying at The Apostles falls right at the bottom of the ladder PURELY BECAUSE OF LOCATION. Also note that I dont say this as a visitor to Cape Town, I say this as a professional tourguide/operator who has always been very passionate about his place of birth and raising viz the great city of Cape Town.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa





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Feb 17th, 2004, 09:09 PM
  #5
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Roccco,

I appreciate your posting of your first mail. Let me be quite honest when I say that if I as a tour operator received a mail like yours as an opening bid I simply would not even respond to you and I am amazed that anybody else did either.

The main function of a tour operator is to arrange well designed tours at best possible prices for their clients however what falls out of their ambit is to bargain and haggle consistently about special type deals for individual visitors. It simply does not pay to provide this type of service. If you as the client want those type of deals you should do it yourself.

Put simply if I saw an opening mail like yours I would realise that I am in for a heck of a haul with a visitor who simply wants to haggle about price and I and many others would simply walk on and not respond. I must be honest when I say that I have never ever had this type of mail request before and have always responded to all tour mail requests however I would definitely have given your mail a miss and here comes the main thrust of what I am trying to tell you. Because of all of this, whether I be a good tour operator or not, my feeling is that you have missed out on having some of the classy tour operators dealing with you and providing you with a quality product. Please dont tell me that you know that this has not happened before after all how do you know when you have not experienced it "the other side".

In a nutshell "You pay peanuts and you soon find that you are dealing with monkeys". In my opinion there is nothing wrong with price haggling, as a matter of fact I welcome it to an extent, however there are limits and it is my belief that with your first mail to Mr.Berry you have transcended these levels by triple the distance. #39;(

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Feb 17th, 2004, 10:29 PM
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Selwyn,

What could any tour operator possibly offer me that I will not get on my own in the South Luangwa?

-The game lodges personally pick up the guests from the airport.

-This is not Tanzania or Kenya where the tour company may be providing a vehicle, guide and transfers throughout.

-Star Of Africa is acting as both my agent and as the game lodge at this point, as is Kaingo.

-Perhaps I am missing out on a little leather pouch or cute little napsack or dufflebag with the tour companies name on it and an itinerary printed out on their safari logo'd letterhead.

-Star Of Africa has already made arrangements for my complimentary visa, just as any tour operator would have done.

I just don't see where I am possibly missing out here? Star Of Africa appears to be a top-notch operation as does Kaingo.

I would not expect you, as a tour guide, to receive an email such as the one I sent out. You offer a unique service that may be superior or inferior to another Cape Town travel agent. There is, however, NO IMPACT that I can see to whether I book Star Of Africa/Kaingo directly or through a third party.

Last year, I booked through a couple South African tour operators last year my stays at Djuma Vuyatela and a tour of the Cape Winelands, and both were less than memorable. I didn't haggle about these prices and I still fail to see how any individual tour operator would have impacted my stay at Vuyatela, where the owners were more interested in entertaining their personal friends and family than in hosting their paying guests.

I see nothing wrong with my approach. From last year in South Luangwa, I know that those that booked last second received preferential rates and I also know that the chances are very slim that they will sell out every room in early June. So, what is their big loss if they make a smaller profit off of me than no profit at all?

Selwyn, I suppose that when you go to buy your next tour vehicle that you will not shop around? Will you benefit additionally by paying a higher price? Will you take responsibility for the time and effort spent by the dealership that does not make the sale?

Possibly my style is not for the faint of heart but it is what results in competitive pricing. I refuse to sit by idly knowing that there are much better prices available, usually being held for other Southern Africans or going completely unsold. Why should I be forced to pay any more than you are?

Perhaps if there were not so many games being played in the South African tourist industry, such tactics that I have employed would not be necessary. But as long as there is the practice of apartheid in the South African travel industry, there will be some that will do what they can to manipulate the system, and I will gladly count myself among them.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 12:36 AM
  #7
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Roccco,

Firstly my apologies for originally continuing this thread under the Apostles posting. It seems as if I made an error in selecting the posting I wanted to respond to. With all the mails flying around in the past 24 hours I simply have to be forgiven.

In response to what you have said in your last mail in this thread all I am going to do is respond to the first part of your mail with a short question, however the second part of your mail has some very serious insinuations that I am going to take you to task on quite heavily.

You wrote:

> What could any tour operator possibly offer me that I will not get on my own in the South Luangwa?

Thereafter you elaborated on why you made the above statement.

My response is in the form of the question of if no tour operator could offer you better than what you could find yourself why do you even contact any operators and land up in spats such as the one you have had with Mr.Berry? Do these people know more than you or are you simply tapping their knowledge for free so as to try and boost your own ego that you have found a better deal than them?

Enough said in this regard from my side.


You then wrote:

> Perhaps if there were not so many games being played in the South African tourist industry, such tactics that I have employed would not be necessary. But as long as there is the practice of apartheid in the South African travel industry, there will be some that will do what they can to manipulate the system, and I will gladly count myself among them.

Now my dear friend you are touching on very dangerous ground so I ask you to elaborate on the following two questions from me:

1. What games are members of the South African tourism industry playing that allow you to impose your "special tactics"? Please elaborate and also show me where in the world any of these games are not being played.

2. Where is the practice of Apartheid being played out in the SA travel industry that it has affected you as a visitor to the extent that it has allowed you to manipulate the system?

Roccco a very fair warning when you answer these questions and that is when you hit a proud South African and you will find a rock so be 100% sure that whatever you say you can back up because this time round you have got me quite angry.

I also want to comment about your postings. I think that it is wonderful that you find all the special deals that you do and post them onto Fodors for us all to learn about however I gain the impression from your postings that sometimes it is more a case of you boasting that you found these deals as opposed to wanting to have others share them with you. In actual fact sometimes it seems as if it is a sort of an ego trip on your behalf. I could well be wrong but that is what I read into the postings and all that I am talking about is a perception on my behalf. A classic example is the fact that in your last mail in your "should a tour operator handle a Fodorite this way" thread after I complimented you on the achievement of great deals you went off on a rant and rave about a Hong Kong, India and Oz deal that you have picked up. This certainly seemed very boastful to me after all may I remind you that this is the Africa Travel webpage and we need not have to hear about these findings here. It is because of writings such as this that I make the statement that sometimes your mails seem to be a bit of an ego trip to me. All that I know is that when I saw your opening mail to Mr.Berry I decided that if this is the way that you attain all these great deals then I am not to sure if I want to know about them. In a nutshell another Fodorite has written to me and used the following statement in response to your mail to Mr.Berry:

"If I received Roccco's post requesting a quote (the one quite a bit along in his original thread) then my response would have been along the lines of: I have 2 words for you, and they involve sex and travel. The tone of his mail is aggressive, disdainful and offensive to say the least"

The above is what I sometimes feel about some of your postings and at one stage I felt that I should not continue this thread via the Fodors page, however there are other Fodorites out there who are also involved and no matter what their feelings they deserve to be knowing what is being said in this thread. If you dont want to respond to what I have said in this regard then so be it however I would like to remind you that your answers to questions 1 and 2 are quite important to me (and I suspect other Fodorites too) and I would hope to read a response from you as your allegations are truly quite serious.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Feb 18th, 2004, 05:18 AM
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Selwyn,

First, regarding the email that you have received from another Fodorite, I honestly could care less. It is this same type of person that will click on my every posting in search of a great deal.

In response to why did I contact the tour operators in the first place...I had NO intention of booking directly with the lodges originally. Had the tour operators been able to match the price or perhaps even get very close to the price offered directly, I would have gone with the tour operator...after all, I could always use a new tote bag.

Regarding my treading on very dangerous ground, you are very well aware of the two-tier system that I am talking about and you yourself have said in the past that you despise the fact that your guests are required to pay more than a native South African. I know you are passionate about this issue because I have seen you post about such, including a link to one of my old posts, to your fellow tour guides on a different bulletin board. Is this two-tier system not a form of apartheid?

Lastly, I have no special deals for my next planned trip, and honestly write them down and post them so that I can refer to them later on. Perhaps I should not use Fodors bulletin board as my clipboard, but then again, what does it hurt? If I have offended any sensitive souls out there with the postings, then there are deeper problems within such an individual than my itineraries and supposed boasting.

May I make the following suggestion...if anyone does not like my posts, once you see my name as the Author (at the very top of the posting), please move on to the next post. Nobody is forcing anybody to read my posts.

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Feb 18th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Darn it if I didn't spend 25 minutes typing a reply to this thread for the PC to crash and lose the whole lot.

I've gone on and replied to some other threads since then but I still don't have the heart to retype all that again just now so will perhaps add my two pence worth on Friday when I'm home from Nottingham (work visit).

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Feb 18th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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Here is perhaps, more Politically Correct language, for the sensitive souls out there that require such, as taken from a project that I am quoting to one of my prospective customers:

1. THIS IS A REQUEST FOR QUOTATION AND NOT AN ORDER. A request for quotation does not commit the Buyer to pay any cost incurred in preparation or submission of a quotation to procure or contract for supplies or services.

2. The seller's commencement of work on goods or services, or shipment of such, shall not commence until recieipt of the Buyer's verbal or written confirmation.

3. Seller certifies that the prices quoted do not exceed the prices charged other customers for like or comparable quatities and conditions of sale.

4. If the Buyer is able to obtain quotoations with acceptable projected delivery at fair and reasonable prices, award may be made without further discussion. Accordingly, Sellsers should initially quote their earliest deliveries and most favorable prices. The Buyer will select for award the responsible offeror whose quotation is deemed responsive and offers the lowest overall price unless otherwise indicated inthe Request For Quotation.

-----------------------------------

And that just about sums up exactly what I said in MY OWN Request For Quote that I posted earlier, possibly on a different thread.

Selwyn, I would still appreciate an answer on how my safari package would have been improved upon had I paid a tour operator a hefty commission. I don't see it and so far your only answer has been, paraphrased, "then why bother a tour operator at all?" But you did make the statement that I would not receive the same quality vacation package without the tour operator and I am most curious on what I will be missing outon and whether or not it is worth $2,200 USD in my case.

Just as you have received an email about how disgusted someone is with my negotiating tactics, I have received emails of praise in the last week alone from another Fodorite that thanked me profusely for helping save her possibly thousands of dollars by negotiating directly with the lodges.

It seems that with the internet and electronic access to even the most remote lodges in Africa that tour operators may soon become obsolete to those of us that wish to book directly.

Don't hate the player, hate the game!
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Feb 18th, 2004, 01:00 PM
  #11
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Just an observation here. I'll bet that the person who wrote to Rocco praising him is the same person who wrote to Selwyn condemning him. Just an observation.
 
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Feb 18th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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Liz,

Actually the praise came before this whole mess. This particular Fodorite also negotiated better prices for her Southern Africa safari and probably doesn't feel too bad about savings a few thousand dollars, as there were quite a few people in the group.

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Feb 18th, 2004, 02:10 PM
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Roccco, I have never been an admirer of your predatory tactics which must have resulted in countless number of tour operators and lodge owners from north to south of Africa falling prey to you. While you were doing fine in the beginning and providing a useful service to the fodorites, off late your interest lies in bashing tour companies and lodge owners publicly and unfairly, possibly to serve your elongated ego.

Before I continue, I have to say the bane of my life have not been tour operators but plumbers, builders and electricians. Eighty per cent of them are unreliable, rip off customers and treat us insensitively. However, I have no intention to publicly condemn each one of them.

In contrast majority of tour operators are decent people who are trying to earn a decent and honest living. I am appalled that you should publicly condemn a tour operator who is upset because of your predatory nature. They work hard at providing you the best pricing possible and it is their bad luck when a company like Star of Africa go direct to the clients and undercut them substantially.

I want you to consider a scenario where hundreds of fodorites suddenly adopt your tactics and start asking for quotes from several tour operators, lodge owners, etc. I am certain that in the end this will anger a lot of excellent tour companies who will be reluctant to give quotes for business they know they will never receive. The end result will be that the fodorites will lose out.

Clearly if your requests are well-intentioned then I would support you but when you ask several Tanzania companies for quotes over several weeks and then suddenly switch your focus to Zambia for the sake of price I am afraid you have zero support from me. I have used two companies in Africa for many years and I have been happy with their pricing but above all their service. We have developed a good level of understanding and relationship which has served me and them very well. I support a few projects and families in Africa and whenever I need anything done for them, my operator will undertake to do it without any charge. I value this more than the lowest price safari.

I have no intention of following your method and I hope that others don't as well and find a right balance.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 02:11 PM
  #14
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Rocco- I can easily understand that. But I was concerned for your safety. And I would be alert if I were you.
 
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Feb 18th, 2004, 03:37 PM
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king,

Thank you for having the nerve to publicly address me. However, I am not clear on why you speak of plumbers, electricians and builders? For your information, if you wish to bash MY profession, then please refer to contractors that build highways, bridges, street lights, traffic signals, etc. When you bash plumbers and electricians, it really doesn't strike a nerve with me, as I believe was your intention.

I will dismiss your criticism without a second thought as it is baseless. I had every intention of going to Tanzania but I was unable to procure air with my frequent flier miles to do so. Plus, just as you have a little hang-up about going to Zimbabwe, I have a little hang-up about having to go through Kenya to get to Tanzania...you know when Islamic extremists start firing rockets at departing planes, that will tend to do that!

Personally, I don't believe that I should be responsible for paying a tour operator, when I do most of the work myself. I am planning my own flights, my own trip sequence, my own lodges, etc., and I am handing it to them on a silver platter. If they cannot get better prices than I can and then put their markup on it and return a quote to me for roughly the same price I can get it directly, then shame on the tour operator. They are a repeat customer and I am likely a one shot deal for the game lodge, so as good as my pricing is, with all of "predatory nature", the tour operators prices should be even better.

Way to pat yourself on the back about what a great citizen you are for your support of the various programs and families in Africa. With the $2,200 USD that I saved by not going through a tour operator, perhaps I can pat myself on the back and throw a few more Zambian Kwacha (MONEY) out to the roadside villagers this year than I did last year. Then I will be able to qualify my future posts AND have a golden halo over my head!

Cheers.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 04:20 PM
  #16
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Liz,

Not that it makes any difference but just to tell you that your assumption is wrong as to the same Fodorite writing the mails to Roccco and me as the party who wrote it to me does not deal with tour operators for his/her African touring facilities.

Roccco,

As far as your antics with tour operators are concerned I have said my say in all the aforesaid mails and have no more to comment other than I do not agree with the manner in which you go about dealing with these travel professionals.

I do however want to comment on some two very serious writings by you from your past couple of mails:

_______________


Where is the practice of Apartheid being played out in the SA travel industry that it has affected you as a visitor to the extent that it has allowed you to manipulate the system?

AND

Regarding my treading on very dangerous ground, you are very well aware of the two-tier system that I am talking about and you yourself have said in the past that you despise the fact that your guests are required to pay more than a native South African. I know you are passionate about this issue because I have seen you post about such, including a link to one of my old posts, to your fellow tour guides on a different bulletin board. Is this two-tier system not a form of apartheid?
________________


I agree fully with what you say about the 2 tier system as I hate it too however I dont see where this comes into your deals with operators. What is more the practice is close to a standard one in many European countries however I must add that 2 wrongs do not make a right. That said it is not the aforesaid that bothers me.

What really angers me HUGELY is how you flippantly throw the word Apartheid around. Many of my fellow South Africans suffered horrifically under Apartheid; many gave up their lives under the system. I personally was incarcerated in the 70's for protesting against the system and today the "Apartheid" word has some very deep meanings to many in my land inclusive of me. With that said you come along and have the audacity to use the word with regard to a two bit two tier pricing system where to top it all you use the language wrongly because Apartheid means "keeping apart". You have absolutely no clue as to the connotation of the word and you insult me and every South African by using it in the cheap handed fashion that you have. You cannot believe how infuriated I am about this and it all tells me that you know didley squat about South Africa other than where to find cheap hotel or lodge deals. All in all your usage of the word in the manner that you have shows me how low you will stoop to get a good deal and it sickens me to the bone hence my only advice is that you choose your wordings a lot more carefully in the future

To all fellow Fodorites.
I recognise that I have used some pretty strong language in this mail however I know and feel very strongly about what I have said and mean it to the core. Too many wonderful people in my great country have either died or been hurt or scarred under the Apartheid regime for me to allow anyone to use the word Apartheid in a flippant, meaningless fashion! I hope and trust that you all understand my sentiments.

VERY VERY VERY VERY proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Feb 18th, 2004, 05:08 PM
  #17
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Selwyn-
I used to post on Raging Bull when I was day trading stocks. A gentleman in Hawaii was a part of the forum on one particular stock a group of us discussed on a daily basis. I should say that I mostly observed, but I learned a lot through these wise men. Well one day a youngish fellow went after the Hawaiian, I gorget his handle right now, but he was deeply loved by all of us on the board. He got so upset and involved with the tirade that he suffered a major stroke that night. He was never the same and did come back to say that he had brought it on by getting so involved with this other guy who was posting for a lark I suppose.
Please get away and drop this before something like this happens to you. It simply isn't worth it. You are not going to change anyone and there are those of us who value you and your experience. What is said here today will soon be forgotten and everything will go on as before. Just don't take it so personally when you see that this isn't going to matter a whit to the ones you are addressing. I can see where it is headed. Please just chalk it up to -whatever- but please step back for now and do a crossword puzzle, or have a drink, or eat an ice cream. Love from us all. Liz

 
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Feb 18th, 2004, 05:26 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
My dear Selwyn,

Thank you for the history lesson and for telling me what I already knew, that "Apartheid" translates to "Apart." Think I got that one on a few years ago, though, before I ever considered going to South Africa. Apart, as in South Africans pay $300 pp per night at this lodge and U.S. Citizens pay $600 pp per night at the same lodge. Perhaps not apart in location, but certainly apart in price structure.

My intention is not to cheapen the sacred word, but to point out the hypocrisy of it all.

Please do not get preachy on me while so many white South Africans can still have their domestic workers at a weekly wage that I must pay daily to my own domestic. What is the going weekly rate for a domestic these days, about 500 Rand per week ($75 USD)???

And please stop preaching to me about MY ethics. I may have been blacklisted by one tour operator but I have not been blacklisted worldwide, or so the story goes, and I will leave it at that.

I would appreciate it if you would not use threatening terms like "You are treading on dangerous ground." I feel like I am a Zulu who has accidentally wandered into an Afrikaaner Resistance Movement camp when you use such pillow talk with me.

Please don't blanket yourself with self-images of tolerance when you have lost all tolerance and have resorted to such an aggressive state. I could do without the puffing of the chest and the "when you hit a proud South African and you will find a rock" talk. Save the nationalism for another time and another audience.

Perhaps you should stick to offering the best alternative lodging accomodations in the Western Cape, and I should stick to seeing how I can save a buck or two thousand two hundred of them, and find alternative lodging accomodations OUTSIDE of not only the Western Cape, but the whole of South Africa for that matter, for those that do not care to receive only 6.5 Rand to 1 USD. Enjoy it while it lasts, for once it hits 10 again, I may be the neighbor you've always dreaded.

It is unfortunate that this has turned sour, but I am sure that you, like I, have felt an uneasy strain for sometime now, so perhaps it is for the best that we each get this off of our chests.

I apologize to the other Fodorites for this nasty exhibition, but I will not be bullied around by Selwyn. I believe that I have a lot of positive things to offer the forum and, as somebody told me on this forum in the past, I act as an advocate for travellers.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 06:07 PM
  #19
LizFrazier
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King-

I hope you are back to Fodors. Your last post here was posted as I was writing one and then I left immediately. Just got back and although the subject and this thread are dreadful, seeing you back is wonderful. You have been missed by many here and your wise postings have especially been thought of often.
Welcome back and although Rocco has his days, he can at times be just a regular guy. I too believe he has gotten too into himself but no one is going to change him and recommendations are taken as personal attacks on his ego, so we either ignore that part and enjoy the good thats left, or go our way as many of us have.
The board has become more rude than it was when I first joined, but as it grows it changes and that is but one part of it. There is still good here and we do miss all of your many tips and help on East Africa and I hope on Botswana. Liz
 
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Feb 18th, 2004, 09:04 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48
Dear Fodorites, King and Selwyn especially--

Much agaist Roccco's advice, I cannot help but interject on all this back-and-forth.

When Roccco first posted the whole email/tour operator exchange, and I read your response, I simply stood back and chuckled. I thought "ok--a little professional debate never hurt anyone." This, however, has certainly spun out of control.

First of all, to Selwyn, I must apologize on Roccco's behalf for his offensive use of the A-word. This is no way to great such a gracious host, as yourself Roccco, of all people should remember this. We had the time of our life with you that day. We were your guest and you were the perfect host--you represent your people well. Since I know you, I IN NO WAY CONDONE Roccco's cheap shots and slaps-in-th-face. This is a familty trait and, unfortunately a great character flaw of Roccco's. I am embarrased, upset, and am asking you to overlook this brief moment of insensitivity and forgive and forget.

That said, I must also touch on a couple of other issues that pose great concern to me regarding your particular flare-up about the tour-operator-whatever email.

In my opinion, I cannot understand all of this tension--yours and John Berry's--regarding what is simply business. We are operating in a free-market economy and as business owners, we must roll with the punches. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and SOMETIMES we waste our time. But really, Selwyn, I have found, that in business, NOTHING is ever a waste of time. I am surprised that John Berry hasn't come to this conclusion, as I am sure he has been in business longer than my own mere 4 years.

You see, in business, we MUST entertain the customer--NO MATTER WHAT! If I were to speak ill of all of the prospective clients looking at my product and declining, I wouldn't be in business!! This would be because those same pains in the but would have already told 5-10 of their friends/acquaintances that I am a whiny, poor sport.

In my estimation, John Berry IS a poor sport. If he were a GOOD businessman, a SMART marketer, he would chalk up Roccco's request as "that guy that always asks for a quote, but never buys." Period. But no. Pride and poor business saavy got the best of John Berry, and he had to hit back, totally ignoring the age-old golden rule of business--the customer is always right. Personally and professionally, I think John Berry had one of two available options when he received Roccco's original request:

1. Ignore it as "that guy..."

2. Quote him damn it, and be done with it. Maybe Roccco just came into some serious money and felt like throwing it around. Maybe he won the lottery--maybe his rich uncle left him a bundle, WHATEVER!!!!

See, as a smart businessman, you must NEVER take for granted your prospective client's position. John Berry will soon come to learn this. If patronage is automatic, why, then, exists the term of "prospective" client?

It's because nothing is a sure thing, Selwyn. "Customership" is only a possibility, that's why, and being a sore loser doesn't help your business.

On the flip side, there IS such a thing as being a good consumer, and this is what I term Roccco. If King sees Roccco's tactics as predatory, that's fine. He obviously has extra money to throw around. But don't condemn a consumer for what we would applaud in a businessman--trying to get the best for the least.

All in all, Selwyn, who came out stinking? Roccco? Yes, maybe to some Fodorites, but really, it's John Berry. His name has been smeared all over this board within in a very negative light. In this post alone, his name came up more than 5 times. That can't be good.

I look forward to your response.
Humbly--STD
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