Go­ing it alone

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Bond's World - Words007@gmail.com

Bond's World by Anita Bond I know the sum­mer is over be­cause I found a park­ing place in Calpe the other day. I live out­side of the town and I do my best not to have to travel into the Frey un­less a def­i­nite need to. Each year I watch as lit­tle busi­nesses open and then have to close. This hap­pens each year, and I won­der at how much heartache and dreams are tar­nished along with the loss of great amounts of money.

There is a small café – well it’s just a small bar re­ally but has the ad­van­tage of a rather large sit­ting area both in­side and out - that I watched open at the start of this year. What a good idea, I thought, and I made it a point to stop as of­ten as I could – usu­ally on Fri­days when I took the time to read the CBNews while im­bib­ing some­thing de­li­cious.

For me, the best thing about the café was that I could take my dog there... what’s more, he (lit­tle Lord Fauntleroy) was served with a large bowl of wa­ter be­fore the owner/wait­ress took my or­der. As sum­mer ap­proached, lots of dogs of all sizes lay con­tent­edly at this bar/café.

Per­son­ally, (and I was born in the trade and mar­ried into a large and suc­cess­ful Ger­man restau­rant), I thought the ‘walk-in’ trade must be as­tro­nom­i­cal be­cause the bar/café was sit­u­ated in a place where most peo­ple do­ing a shop at a cer­tain su­per­mar­ket, or needed a light bulb or sim­i­lar for the house, or even if they wanted to treat the kids to a ham­burger and fries, could do so in the same build­ing, know­ing that their car was safe and parked in a cool place.

For that rea­son alone (car parked in a cool and safe place), I got a bird’s eye view of the strug­gles, suc­cesses, and down­fall of this par­tic­u­lar bar/café.

I saw the scat­ter­ing of ‘bod­ies’ as the schools opened again and the hol­i­day peo­ple had left the land. How sad, I thought, as Se­bas­tian was served his wa­ter and I was asked for my or­der.

Nosi­ness and pure cheek are my mid­dle names. I asked the owner/server to take a seat next to mine and I grilled her as thought she had mur­dered one of the reg­u­lars’ dogs! (I watch far too many Amer­i­can true-crime pro­grammes!)

Unashamedly, I asked for fig­ures and reg­u­lar pay­ments, even her IBI. (Might get a job at Suma. Be­lieve me I’m good!) My main aim was to see where this greatly-placed café was fi­nan­cially go­ing wrong, for it cer­tainly was not be­cause of the servers, or the buns, sand­wiches, cakes and bar­rel beer; nor was it due to the server’s bright smile when she served a cus­tomer.

The cost of the rent for such a good place was not, to my mind, over the top – 1,500 eu­ros. It was the lit­tle ‘added’ things that were crip­pling her.

It was the taxes and com­mis­sion as a ‘part­ner’ of such a large build­ing. Over the sum­mer, it was nec­es­sary to have an ad­di­tional server – 40 hours per week, 1,234 eu­ros plus so­cial se­cu­rity pay­ment of 436.88 eu­ros.

As the boss, she had to pay so­cial se­cu­rity for her­self – 381.52 eu­ros. (Not once did she take a salary for her­self.) And then there was the elec­tric­ity – 336 eu­ros a month, wa­ter 67 eu­ros for two months, and to meet with her cus­tomers’ needs, she had In­ter­net, which cost 95 eu­ros a month.

I felt aw­ful; I wished I had never asked. And I knew it was just a mat­ter of time that I would travel up the el­e­va­tor to the su­per­mar­ket floor, only to see the ta­bles and chairs gone from the bar/ café area.

How I wished I could help. I won­dered how she man­aged to live (sin­gle, one child) on any prof­its from her café. And soon the pub­lic pass­ing by would be less and less.

I or­dered an­other cof­fee and closed my notepad. I left a dis­gust­ingly large tip (as though that would help!). I woke up Se­bas­tian, my dog, waved bye-bye and re­alised that no mat­ter how bad life had some­times treated me, it was also whack­ing it to other peo­ple as well.

How sad; how very sad...

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