Going it alone
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...