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On Saturday I was out doing some early Christmas shopping in Palma, in my lunch hour, because as I have written in this space before shops in Majorca open when they want and not the other way around. But that is besides the point, I overheard a conversation between a foreign customer and one of the shop assistants which probably goes a long way to pinpointing one of the major problems involving shops in Majorca at the moment, lack of service. It turns out that this foreign lady and her son were seeking to buy a pair of trainers but the shop assistant had taken no notice. She naturally complained and enquired whether the employee was just there to make up the numbers or was she interested in actually helping would-be customers. The war of words continued for five minutes in a mixture of Spanish and English and then the foreign lady asked to see the manager. He duly appeared and she enquired why staff didn't speak English. The manager, who was obviously taking his staff member's view of the situation, said that they were a Spanish company and language was not important. He also said it in a rather round-about way. In the end she left with her son and no sale was made.

I don't think language was an issue here it was a question of service. Until there is a radical shake-up in how shops are run in Majorca things are not going to improve. In fact, they are going to look worse because across the rest of Europe service and quality has grown over recent years. Shopping is an important part of everyone's life. It is about time that people behind the counter realised this state of affairs.

Jason Moore