So now it’s down to name and shame, I have given these ‘suppliers’ enough time to redeem themselves, now it’s time to open up the ridiculous situation they have put me in.
THE LAST TIME THE AWNING WAS UP..
John DeBono on the face of it appears to be a nice guy, and I’m not so sure it’s with him that I have ‘De Bone to pick’. This whole episode would border on a comedy sketch if it didn’t have such serious consequences, not just for me, but for the organisations my little tea shop was going to help and it’s customers. This ‘awnings’ debacle started with the landlord of the shop Joe Sultana. When I was viewing the shop for the first time he pointed out that the largest awning was damaged in one corner where a bus had hit it. “Insurance I asked”? No he was too late to claim on insurance he says, so I have to sort out the damaged awning (not such a big issue me thinks), famous last words again. He introduces me to two suppliers and I find DeBono Upholstery to be the most ‘convenient’. After a long process we agree the material and colour of the new awnings and a price €1250 to cover both frames, we have the chairs covered at the same time (I do most of the work on those).
They arrive and remove both frames, several weeks later the job is done its looking good and Hug’s Tea shop is finally open for business. But not for long! After a rainfall the ‘Hug’s part of the sign slides off the awning, it’s replaced (I am told) by a butterfly that lands at the same moment on the spot where the Hug’s lettering used to be. “It’s a sign” Margaret one of the ladies there at the time say’s. No,it’s called delamination I replied jokingly, (I used to run a very large paint company, so I do know a bit about paint).
BEFORE WORK BEGAN
I contact John DeBono we have a problem. Now I come to think of it even though my Guru Prabhu has come to my tea shop in Gozo from Bali and blessed the place, perhaps this is indeed a sign and I should think about giving it another name. Hug’s teashop has barely opened its door when the sign comes down and we agree a new name ‘The Divine LOVE Teashop’ this is not only a name agreed to be a good one by Prabhu, but also Father Gerard from Ta Pinu.
Now the ‘fun’ begins. I chose a new graphic but have to get Aaron at Gozo Creations to make a 3 part stencil, so that John DeBono can do the job. I spend hours going backwards and forwards sorting out these issues. I buy the paint to do the job. Paint that won’t slide off at the first sign of rain. This is not only costing me a lot of money in materials but each time I have to close the shop to do what these suppliers should be doing for me I lose custom and money. But I kinda figured that not having a sign above the door to tell people what we are, isn’t going to help pull the customers in.
I collect the stencil from Aaron at Gozo Creations, he’s not there but his guy hands me the stencil with the invoice attached. I take both to John DeBono, at this stage I’m not sure who’s responsible for the €50 cost of the stencil. I detach the invoice and leave the stencil with DeBono. I return to the tea shop only to find a message from Aaron saying why didn’t I pay the bill??? Hang on here who’s the customer? This is about customer relations. It then transpires that he goes to DeBono, gets the stencil off him and takes it back to his shop. These people are absolutely effing crazy, customer service? They wouldn’t recognise customer service while they have a hole in their backside. Angry.. well I’m trying very hard not to be, but this whole episode is disturbing my Karma. I go, pay the bill (cash as always they accept no other form of payment). I retrieve the stencil for DeBono. At each stage of painting they ask me to make sure they are doing it right, so at each stage I close the shop to drive into Rabat (Victoria).
Eventually after a very long process the awning is finished. It’s looking good (not great) but better than nothing. Now I’d already paid €625 of the bill for the awning, so DeBono is owed the other half. No problem I have the money (despite having no customers). He initially agree to collect the money when he brings the awning to fit, then keeps changing his mind. I’m getting a ‘tad’ bit impatient. I’m losing a LOT of money here, all of my pension is invested in this, and this is no joke. So now we have a standoff, my attorney as far as I’m concerned should sue the arse off him, teach him and whoever is behind this a lesson. I want compensation for loss of earnings, distress, materials supplied etc. PLUS what about the theft of my awning frame?
THE HUG’S SIGN
I am Buddhist and believe in peace but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and I firmly believe this is one of those times. So here I am I open the teashop proper in July 2016 and January 2017 still no sign. Enough said….. click here to see the place>>>>>>>>>> Before I moved in
The landlord ‘Joe Sultana’ is a small man with a ‘complex’. He enjoys flexing his skinny muscles especially when the ladies are around, he’s around 70, wears gold earrings, he has a ‘Russian’ wife and two small children. Nice kids, nice wife, but as his wife confided once to Lidia (my own, now ex Russian business partner) he’s not all he appears to be. The ‘restaurant’ that he used to run, is filthy when I move in, I mean really filthy. He used to prepare food in the basement. If the health department had seen the conditions down there he would have been closed down. Jeffries was a health hazard, and apart from anything else it took many hours to bring the place up to scratch. I worked day and night (helped by Lidia) to paint, move walls, sort out plumbing …the list goes on. I eventually got quite ill and spent 6 weeks recovering. But hey, onwards and upwards (LMAO). Now this Joe Sultana is a crook there’s no other way of describing him. While I’m away he persuades Lidia (my partner) to pay him €50 cash for utilities?? First of all that wasn’t our utility consumption, secondly he was taking advantage of a lady, and this Crazy Brit draws the line there.
We have a contract I stick to the contract, he completely ignores a contract ‘that his attorney’ drew up. He arrives without warning demanding rent, bawling and shouting in front of my customers. I try to calm him down, “I’ll go to the bank and get your €600 (I don’t keep that sort of money in my back pocket)”. He also wants a utility bill paying (a bill for supply before I even moved in). I am in grave danger of losing my temper and believe me if that happens I wouldn’t want to be around.
Now when I came to Gozo I came to rest, relax, heal and retire. I’d had a pretty rough time with my ex-wife in Texas, she took me for every penny I had, and I arrived with very little money in Gozo at the start of May 2016. But I worked hard and made something, not just for me but for society. Now Gozo is going to experience another crusade because I have absolutely nothing to lose. I have named and shamed everyone so far. I will continue until this place is running in a way to deserve its place as the leader of the EU…we shall see??