Surely I am not the only one who has experienced this. I was in a restaurant, eating a wonderful poached salmon when, out of the corner of my eye I sensed that something was darting across the room. A few seconds later and my suspicions were confirmed. This time I saw it full on as it headed straight for me - a fly.
This happened to be a restaurant that took great care over its food and its customers. When the waiter spotted the intruder, I could see the flicker of angst across his face. I was now intrigued as to what would unfold. The restaurant staff cannot win, of course. The waiter can either chase the fly with a rolled newspaper, bringing full attention to it, or could stand there, grinning and bearing as the intruder freely scouts for food amongst the rich pickings.
I was particularly concerned as I know that flies frequent the most disgusting places. As they taste with their feet they are more than likely to land on some open food and deposit some particles of the dung heap they have just visited, or possibly the trash cans outside the restaurant. Personally, this made my salmon seem a little less appetising and, to be honest, my regard for this particular establishment. What made things worse was that it was November when most flies should have died off or gone into hibernation. This suggested that the flies were still breeding and were using either this restaurant or an adjoining building as their home.
Next, the waiter disappeared only to return moments later with the restaurant manager. I then saw both men following the fly around with their eyes. The fly - and their gaze - ended up in a female diner's hair. She had immaculate hair with flowing curls. Perhaps the fly had taken to whatever chemical the hairdresser had put in there. Whatever the reason, although she hadn't noticed, the fly had decided to stay in the her hair and there was no sign that it would emerge. What made this worse, was although the lady was not aware of the problem, most of the diners were. Their gazes switched regularly between the lady's hair and the restaurant manager. What was he to do? He noticed that his actions were being closely monitored.
The problem he had was that he didn't know for sure that the fly was still crawling around this woman's hair. If he told her that there may be a fly there, she may cause a scene. Trouble is, his reaction was being closely scrutinized by increasing numbers of diners. He started towards the lady. As he got within 2 feet, the lady noticed him. Just as he started pointing to her hair the fly silently darted away and landed on the white tablecloth of the next table. He quickly put his pointing finger away and, by now quite carried away and not noticing the old couple sitting at the table took a swipe at it with his bare hand. Got it! The shocked old couple stared at him in bemusement as he beckoned to the waiter. The waiter came over and picked up the dead body between finger and thumb. Both men and quarry made a quick exit.
One fly managed to undermine the reputation of this restaurant, causing incalculable damage. The moral of the story was that the restaurant manager should have kept up with the times. Good restaurants are increasingly using discreet fly killer machines. These devices are lamps. They are no ordinary lamps, though. They give off ultra-violet light that attracts flies. Once the fly inevitably ventures into the lamp, it is silently trapped there on a very sticky glue board - never to emerge. All of this happens out of sight of any diners whilst they get on with their meals.
Discreet uplighter fly killers are specially made for front-of-house areas such as restaurants and bars. They are also popular in the home. Next time you see a fly in a restaurant, have a discreet word with the manager - it may just save his reputation and his business.
Vernon Stent is the marketing consultant for Arkay Hygiene . Discreet 301 Fly Killers can be seen here