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Exuma: An Ugly Experience in the Most Beautiful Place on Earth

It pains my heart to even write this blog. 

Let me just say that Exuma, Bahamas is the most beautiful place in the world! It boasts of blues you can’t even begin to comprehend, as if the more than 1,000 shades are created on site and the words to describe them aren’t even born yet. The boyish hues crash into each other so peacefully, creating a visual that can’t be captured by any camera’s lens. The waters really are crystal clear and are like none other I’ve soaked in before. How can there be so many shades of blue?

The whites, nudes and tans of the sand perfectly complement and accent the waves, creating a blanket like effect at the shoreline. 

 The quaint little island is surrounded by these shockingly beautiful waters, with brightly colored homes and stores nestled through tiny corners and alleyways. I’m an island girl at heart, so I love the down home feel; the narrow streets, quietness of the days and nights and the move-at-your-own-pace culture.

Before this trip, I’d never been to Exuma, although I’ve been planning a trek to the island and its cays for sometime. 

My sister, especially, has always had Exuma on her bucket list. We would search for hours sometimes, staring at photos of the pigs, the beaches, the sandbanks, dreaming of being there. So when this trip came around we were beyond excited to finally see what’s arguably the most beautiful Bahamian island. 

exuma pig beach exuma bahamas

But what started out as a relaxing Easter holiday getaway and a celebration for my brother’s 17th birthday, quickly turned into a depressing three days. 

Almost as soon as we deplaned and hit the town, we encountered bad attitudes, horrible customer service and stress no one should have to deal with on vacation. 

I know it’s less than smart to generalize a whole group of people, based on the misbehaviour of a few and I refuse to dump all Exumians in this category. However, in telling the story, I can only tell what I’ve experienced and been privy to; and that was some of the worst treatment and poor hospitality from my own Bahamians that I’ve ever received in my life. 

While we overlooked, bypassed and ignored the more subtle versions of this bad behaviour, two incidents that took place really put massive dents in the trip and were my “get me the hell out of Exuma” moments. 

Chat ‘N Chill 

chat 'n chill

On day one of the trip, I was beyond excited to hop the quick ferry ride over to what everyone on the island said was party central on a Sunday; Stocking Island. There they have pig roast, music playing, volleyball games, a cool and colorful gift shop and the bar and restaurant Chat ‘N Chill. After about two hours of relaxing on the beach, catching up on some sleep and watching my brothers fall off ride jet skis, we got hungry and joined the line to order. The lady serving had the most unwelcoming welcome, but like I said, some things we brushed off. We placed our order for drinks and food and waited as they were prepared.

Sometimes without saying any words, people tell you exactly how they feel about you Click To Tweet

The whole mood and atmosphere were off putting and it’s almost as if they didn’t want us there. The attitudes were deplorable and the service, below subpar. My sister and I ordered a conch burger to share but when it finally came out 20 minutes later, the stench was unbearable when we cut into it. We called the same server over who admitted that it smelled spoiled. But with no apology nor empathy for us as customers, she simply said, “Well what else y’all want?” All the while a male who was also behind the bar violently threw bottles and cans and garbage into the bin, which was just under the bar counter where I sat. I had to move, in case something bounced up and whacked me in the face. 

Anyways, my brother’s ribs looked good so we opted for that as our replacement. As we waited a gruelling 15 minutes, enduring snares, glares, cut eyes and being ignored, my sister said to the server, “We’re really not enjoying the service in here today.” The server replied, “Awww ok!” Well ok then!! In five minutes we had our belongings packed and proceeded to head to the boat, without the food we ordered and not even asking for our money back! We just wanted to leave. Before I left I turned around and said once again, “You guys really ought to do better with your service and treatment of customers especially us Bahamians. Your attitude is poor!” Through a hail of insults, curse words and threats, she shouted some belligerent, asinine remark in front of the whole restaurant. The workers at Chat ‘N Chill aint so chill!

UPDATE: Tuesday April 25, 2017  – I received a call from the co-owner at Chat ‘N Chill Kwanza Bowe who apologised for her staff’s behaviour. She was absolutely pleasant and genuine and ensured that the situation would be remedied. I actually met her earlier in the day at the gift shop and she was indeed helpful and courteous. 

Driftwood Cafe 

driftwood cafe At this point we were just ready to get off the island! It had been three days of really trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Exuma? What did we possibly do to everyone we encountered to be treated so poorly? We gathered for breakfast before trekking around the island and heading to the airport. We ended up at Driftwood Cafe and went inside to order our breakfast. As instructed we pulled up a table on the outside deck and waited for our server to bring the food out. Harsh, tacky and unprofessional our server (who I later learned was Cynthia) came out with the drinks. I had ordered a latte and was expecting some heavy cream at the top. I asked her if they served the usually frothy drink with cream and that I would like a little to put in my cup. 

“I don’t understand what you talking about, you need to go inside and get it yourself,” she barked back.

“Could you just bring me a cup of heavy cream please,” I’ll do it myself. 

“No, I don’t know what you need so, you have to get up and explain that.”

“Fine. I’ll drink it without the cream.”

Cynthia came back a few minutes later and brought out the food. I’d ordered eggs with some toast and bacon. There were no salt and pepper shakers on our table, but I spotted a pair on the table next to us. Cynthia was cleaning that table at the time so I asked her to please pass the salt and pepper. She picked them up and rested them on the edge of the table she was cleaning, a little closer to me but still a ways away. She walked off and when she came back, I asked her if she could please hand me the salt and pepper because I couldn’t reach it. She was carrying some cups, so I said, “I’ll wait until your hands are free.” 

The third time Cynthia walked straight by my table and I waved at her to get the items. She had just finished serving the table behind me and replied.

“You have to realise this is a cafe, this is not a restaurant. If you need something, just grab it and get it. That’s how we work here, it’s not a restaurant. Everybody else does it!” 

She slammed the door and went inside. 

And the salt and pepper shakers never moved from the spot they were placed. 

Soon after we left the restaurant cafe, my siblings and I walked across the street to my mom who decided to have breakfast at the hotel. Cynthia saw us chatting and a barrage of curse words flew our way. I couldn’t believe this woman was on her job acting this way. 

She was the absolute pits! 

SEE VIDEO BELOW! 

The Bright side

exuma bahamas Despite feeling like unwanted aliens in our own country, we actually did meet a few friendly faces. Like Cindy at Peace ‘N Plenty, the crew over at Lumina Point who treated us well and made us feel at home…after all we kinda were. The staff at February Point was phenomenal and the food was to die for and my girl Richenda at the car rental! We got to see the swimming pigs, take boat rides through some of the cays, drive from one end of the island and back and spend long days by the beach. Although these pleasant interactions were the silver lining, they were far outnumbered by the dark clouds that loomed over the Exuma trip.

exuma bahamas I really battled with writing this Exuma blog as honestly as I did, I mean after all, this is my country and it is the most beautiful country in the world with some of the friendliest people in the world. But I believe in keeping it real at all times, in all situations. I really want the best for this country and after having travelled to so many other places, I often come home embarrassed and depressed that our hospitality and customer service are so poor at times; towards the domestic and international tourist. We have to act as if every tourist, every customer, every patron is special, because we are! Our attention to detail in service and just common courtesy leaves much to be desired sometimes and I’m sure wont be tolerated for forever. 

We can't take our blessings for granted Click To Tweet

The fact that millions of foreigners visit our shores each year and many locals decide to vacation at home; we act as if this will always be the case, as if the tourism goose will forever lay these golden eggs. That could very well be true if we focus and improve on the “small things,” like pleasantly greeting your customers, serving them with pride and for god’s sake a smile wont hurt! 

I’ve seen amazingly blue waters, visited historical sites and had awesome authentic food throughout my travels, so the things we boast of as unique tourism strongholds could be found in many parts of the world. What ought to make us stand out as a desired destination is our people, our customer service, our hospitality and care for everyone we serve, Bahamian or otherwise.

I need an Exuma redo! 

There’s no way I could travel all the way to Thailand and be treated like royalty, but get snubbed in my own country! 

Read more of my Thailand adventure here! 

Ever planned a trip, dinner, or visit to a store but poor customer service ruined it? Tell me in the comments below. How did you handle it?

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82 Responses
  • power cooker recipes
    May 6, 2017

    Keep on writing, great job!

  • Shannon Cogen
    April 28, 2017

    Ianthia,

    Sorry to hear of the poor customer service that you received. I was in Exuma at the same time and had an incredible experience at MacDuff’s and Highborne Marina.

    In particular the staff at MacDuff’s went above and beyond with every request that we made. Leo and Portia were awesome! And the food was excellent with a little Bahamian twist in every bite.

    I think your server’s attempt to distinguish Chat & Chill as a Cafe and not a restaurant is ridiculous. Basically, she attempted to ask you to lower your expectations.

    Ultimately, the expectation is that you will be treated well and provided with good service. Last time I checked most Cafe and/or Restaurant staff work for tips.

    TIPS-is an acronym for; To Insure Proper Service. Apparently, your server is not aware or just does not care.

    I commend you for speaking up. Not tolerating the status quo is half the battle.

    As a Bahamian, you deserve to enjoy the beauty of all that is right here in your own backyard and yes like royalty!!

    I hope you return to Exuma, preferably MacDuff’s…you will not be disappointed!

    • ianthia
      April 28, 2017

      Thank you so much for the kind words! I will visit again and will try those spots you mentioned.

  • Appolonia
    April 27, 2017

    I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience.. However and rather sadly, it’s has become the norm! As a local I can share in your experiences and ironically, the patron is looked on as the one being difficult all because we demand the service that we paid for! I’ve worked in the hotel industry for many years and it is terrible! It’s as if you are begging for good customer service and those expected to carry out that service act as if they’re doing you a favor, ESPECIALLY if you are of my skin color (chocolate)… I always say persons in the hospitality industry should use emphathy when carrying out their duties! We must do better! I’m glad you had a few highlights however… Hopefully business owners and employees alike would get it right, especially when it comes to executing great service to our local guests… Great read and I like your honesty… Side note, if you haven’t visited Eleuthera, please put it on your bucket list!(smiles) I promise you would enjoy!

    • ianthia
      April 28, 2017

      Thanks for this comment! Yes, I’ve had a few people tell me I could’ve “easily gotten the items I was asking for.” We’ve been accustomed to bad treatment for so long many of our Bahamians’ standards are so low. Thanks for reading!

  • Mariah
    April 26, 2017

    Hi Ianthia. Beautiful blog you host. I lived in the islands for many years, the northern and central Exumas to begin with (never having been to mainland Exuma) and Harbour Island for 2 1/2 years. Sadly I’ve found that kind of service is all over the islands, based on my experience. I’m American, married to an Australian/Bahamian. We look and sound like tourists when we travel around the islands, but unfortunately even as “tourists” we were regularly treated similarly. We lived near Staniel Cay for 1 1/2 years and I always found the service there to be less than friendly, getting some proper teeth sucking from time to time when we asked for something. I was always blown away by that. It’s a small island out in the middle of nowhere – anywhere else in the world they would be falling over backwards to make sure you enjoyed their island (like your Thailand example, I LOVED the Thai people). But Harbour Island was probably the worst. “The Home of Friendly People” I would roll my eyes at that sign. If you catch your server on a bad day, good luck enjoying your experience. Plus it’s ridiculously expensive. And to top it off, 15%-20% added grat that used to just say “tax” before there was VAT! So regular double tipping by people who didn’t know! That being said, I loved mainland Eleuthera and Spanish Wells and would regularly escape the bad juju that I felt Harbour Island emitted.

    I remember that Revoice commercial, probably a year ago, and the guy is at a restaurant looking at his bill and he says “Service with a smile? You charge extra for that??” And then the gal kind of gave him a half-hearted smile. It always made me laugh because it seemed so true.

    Anyways, we are back in Nassau now and I feel like, strangely, the people are much friendlier in general. More polite. It’s not to say that service is super stellar, but it’s better. However, we went to Australia last year and I was blown away by the amazing service at every.single.establishment. I love this country, but The Bahamas has a long way to go especially when tourism is the number one industry…

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Wow! Thanks for reading! How unfortunate, this is actually the only Family Island I visited where I got this service. Every other island was so welcoming, everyone hailed and helped and were so nice to us. Like I say I love my country but this experience was just the worst! We do have a long way to go with customer service!

      • Mariah
        April 26, 2017

        I feel like the less touristy islands are the best places to visit in The Bahamas. Maybe it has to do with locals being fed up with dealing with difficult people, you never know. Off the beaten path has always seemed like the best way to discover the islands. I truly believe Bahamians have a genuine, wonderful spirit and demeanor in normal social situations. But there’s something about customer service that I feel like the bar is set kind of low compared to the rest of the world. I worked in the service industry for many years, and I was smiling through gritted teeth regularly. Customers can be difficult, I agree, but it’s standard practice to just grin and bear it. Otherwise get out of the industry.

  • Ashley Kilpatrick
    April 25, 2017

    Sad to say sitting here reading this at work and experiencing a mixture of chills and cringes because this brought back memories from my honeymoon to Exuma with my (black) American husband. I decided to let him do most of the talking as not to let on that I’m indeed Bahamian, so that I could avoid the nasty treatment and just enjoy my honeymoon needless to say I couldn’t leave the island with one incident.

    We stayed at Sandals and so didn’t really venture off the premises much at all. One of the stands near the POOL was a little cute pastry shop where I spotted some baklava so I said I must go back and get some when I’m near the POOL. So I walk in with a whole swimsuit on and an opaque tunic/coverup . Just as I walked in I was greeted with an ugly stare . I continued to smile and ask for a piece of baklava, her response was “you’re going to need to cover up before I can serve you”. I left and when I got back to my husband he asked where were the desserts I went for? Embarrassed for my people, I told him what she said to me. He marched back over there with me to speak with them about their “policy” near the POOL. When we got in we found a hefty WHITE man with NO shirt on wearing only swim trunks and NO sandals BEING SERVED!

    My husband completely lost it asked to speak to a manager and explained the whole thing to which she an older Bahamian lady profusely apologized and added that our server she should have treated both incidents the same way as it is their policy -__-. Even though they are a poolside shop.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      OMG!!! Now that is absolutely ridiculous! I felt the same way, my brother joked to my sister and I that “y’all already from Nassau and y’all wanna come here and dress up! These people think y’all showing off!” Meanwhile we’re in short pants and T-shirts. Anyways it doesn’t matter what we wear, we didn’t deserve that treatment. And how is it that you’re at a pool and have to cover up? meanwhile the other guy is half naked? she was looking for any excuse to be rude to you! ugh! so sorry you had that experience and thanks for reading!

  • Olivia
    April 25, 2017

    You are so correct! I went there in March and thought it was just my experience. Everyone was just….ugh!!!!! I met one nice man who owned the jerk pitt across the road and up the street from the cafe you visited. Our bus driver who picked us up refused to speak and was SPEEDING. I really thought we were going to turn over. It was as if once people found out we were from Nassau, the hate began. Even returning from Exuma, the check in lady at the Bahamasair counter gave us SO MUCH CRAP! I was very disappointed because like you I had Exuma on my bucket list for years. Horrible experience, wouldn’t go back.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Yea, that was pretty much my experience. I felt like I was in a movie, I couldn’t believe this was happening. You’re so right, as soon as they realised we were from Nassau, it was a problem! Thanks for reading!

  • Island lover
    April 25, 2017

    It’s crazy how Bahamians tend to treat domestic travelers like we are less than people who come from other countries. Watching the video it seems as if she was very attentive to the table filled with “out of country visitors”. But what they fail to realize is that our money is the same and in some cases Bahamian travel to exuma more. Costumer service is a issue that needs to be address in this country because I travel to many family islands and most of the time it’s the same case. It’s like because we are Bahamian we don’t deserve to be treated with respect, it makes me sick. Most of the time I just brush it off because it’s what is expected but we have to stop justifying poor customer sever towards our own. Yes I am a Bahamian but I am a visitor to your island and I deserve to be treated as such. Sorry about your experience but please don’t let the simple minded detour you from visiting exuma again because it is really a beautiful place.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      YES! She served everyone around us with a smile. You could bring whole plates of food out but refuse to get me some salt and pepper??!!! That’s how we Bahamians go, we don’t care for and look out for our own. It’s really on a reflection of self-hate. Usually, in my experience, the Family Islanders are nice but I got the shock of my life in Exuma. Thanks so much for reading!

  • Odecca
    April 25, 2017

    And this experience is exactly why the Ministry of Tourism’s domestic campaign is not the success it ought to be! Domestic tourists are relegated to the bottom of the hospitality pile by those who declare that tourism is their bread and butter but forget that a slice of bread has two sides both equal and deserving of butter! We need to get it together. It’s unfortunate that she had such an experience. My
    Mom, sister and nephew spent the best Easter holiday in Eleuthera. They could not pile more praise on the hospitality they received from the Bahamian owner and family run Daddy Joe’s! The difference could be that the owner was a Nassuvian by way of Andros transplant and not someone who had lived their entire life in a small neck of the woods. Exposure and emotional education from interacting with all sorts of people and not one type should not be underestimated! Yes, I’m calling the local Exumian a hick, under- exposed, self-hater!

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Your last sentence took the words right out of my mouth! Lack of exposure would do that to you though! I guess because I was from Nassau, I wasn’t supposed to be able to travel and see things outside of my island. I don’t care where I’m from I deserve to be treated like you treat the people at the table behind me. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Paul
    April 25, 2017

    Oh my – so sorry you had this experience and in an Out-Island no less where the reputation for friendliness is more often higher than our large towns. Always the poor behavior of the few spoil everything for all the rest of us who have worked so very hard to gain our good reputation. It takes years to build a fine reputation and just moments to lose it. I am a Ministry of Tourism Award Winner and ask you return to our fair shores, there are so many other islands to experience and look forward to your writings in the future!

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Hey there! I love visiting my Family Islands and go to a few a year. I’ve written amazing experiences about Treasure Cay, Abaco; Freeport, Grand, Bahama; Cat Island; and have had great times in Bimini, Andros, Eleuthera and others as well. So i know of the love on the islands. Thank you for visiting!

  • Andrometa Cooper
    April 25, 2017

    Hi there,

    I’m so sorry to hear that your experience wasn’t the best it could be. I do agree with you that Exuma is the most beautiful place o have ever scene. My daddy is from Exuma and I have visited twice with him. I had never encountered poor customer service but that may be due to the fact that I was always with locals.

    I can speak to my experiences in Nassau and boy oh boy we do need to do better. To the locals I have a foreign accent due to the fact I’ve lived in the states and I would see the difference in service when I spoke and when my cousins spoke.

    It is sad that Bahamians can’t appreciate one another.

    But on another note, this is my first time on your blog and I do love it.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Thanks so much for visiting! I really appreciate and thanks for commenting! We need to really do better as a country!

  • Alex
    April 25, 2017

    Great read. Thank you for your honesty. My family and I are trying to decide where to go for a weekend getaway and my first choice was Exuma because it is one of the few islands I have never been to. Now, however , I am wondering if I should bother because I, like a previous responder, don’t tolerate poor service when I am spending my hard earned money and precious days off. I really want to swim with those adorable pigs tho….

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      GO! VISIT EXUMA! That place is too beautiful not to see. I hope your experience is much different from mine, and I wouldn’t recommend going to those restaurants. try some new places! and please let me know how the visit was for you, I wanna hear! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Latera Brown-McPhee
    April 25, 2017

    Wow Ianthia! This is my first time reading your blog. I do follow you on IG and I thoroughly enjoy your posts. I’m saddened about your experience. My husband and I usually visit one of the Family Islands to celebrate our anniversary, and a few years ago we visited Exuma. It’s still the best one for me so far. It was amazing! We didn’t get to do all of those activities though. I know your sister Ivanna (as she and I worked for the same hotel). As a Chef/manager one of the most challenging things I dealt with was getting some of my employees to realize that local customers were very important and deserved the same service as the tourists. It was very frustrating! I’m very big on customer service and sadly that’s lacking in many establishments around The Bahamas. I pray that we could get it together sooner rather than later! Smh

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Hi Latera! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, do come back!! Yes customer service is important for everyone and the lack of it could really ruin an experience. Hopefully we fix this soon!

  • Sherry
    April 25, 2017

    Unfortunately, I can totally relate to your experience! As a Nassuvian studying abroad in Canada, in order to receive any kind of decent treatment at home, I use my Canadian ID. Its so unfortunate that we Bahamians receive bad treatment in our own country. I prefer to use my Canadian ID because the minute I show it, people refer to me as a Canadian and are much nicer to me. Mind you, I love my Bahamaland, but I hate the way we treat our own people.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      WOW! That’s sad, you have to hide who you are just to be served properly, that is actually disgusting! I hate the way we treat our own people too, it really has to sop. Thanks so much for reading, Sherry!

  • Lamar
    April 25, 2017

    So sad but the fact is that is a reoccurring theme throughout our chain of islands.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Unfortunately! We really have to do better, thanks for reading!

  • Ralando
    April 25, 2017

    The video shows the opposite of what u claimed on Facebook
    You said you was cussed at for asking for salt and pepper, I see a annoyed server simply stating to you what she feels you could have simply done.
    Tho I don’t agree wholeheartedly with her response..it ain’t that serious soo u rather ruin your dining experience to prove a point and taunt at the woman for salt and pepper?
    It says a lot about the type of character you are and what snobish attitude you and your guest displayed.
    Poor service should not be tolerated by anyone spending their money, but there are three sides to every story and I for one will not believe that u came there and automatically started to get bad Service after hearing the laugher and seeing the video.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Hi Ralando,
      Your comment is quite confusing, on one hand you agree poor customer service is wrong /shouldn’t be tolerated; on the other hand you call me snobbish for complaining about it. The video shows an interaction after 20 minutes of being in the restaurant and treated like dogs. This was the third time I had asked her for the items. She’s the server and was duty bound to get them for me, not insult me and put them on the table next to me. As a customer, I was paying my good money for professionalism and common courtesy.

      The fact that you say, “I see a annoyed server simply stating to you what she feels you could have simply done,” is the reason we wont advance in this country. I could’ve “simply done” a lot but she’s my server, I’m not doing your job after you rudely refuse to. What I should’ve “simply done” was walk out! And yes “it is that serious,” customer service is that serious to the point where I wont accept a bad experience.

      I didn’t ruin my experience, she did! please stop making excuses for bad behaviour. I didn’t “taunt” her she harassed, abused and insulted me. If me asking you to do your job is taunting then you clearly don’t deserve that job.

      You don’t have to believe what I say, maybe take a trip there and tell me how it goes for you. I did laugh at the end of the video, did you want me to cry or fight? it was quite hilarious how mad she got at me for asking for salt and pepper. I have no reason to exaggerate or lie, if you read my blogs, they’re all about celebrating and writing about my awesome travel, if I come across a bad one then I’ll tell the story too. We need to stop justifying, defending and rationalizing bad behaviour, she was wrong! point blank! Thank you for reading and thanks for the comment

      • ianthia
        April 26, 2017

        oh and the cussing came after we left and were crossing the street, i have parts of that on video too but wont mess up my blog with her profanity.

  • Regina
    April 25, 2017

    It is really disheartening that your trip to Exuma was not as beautiful as the water. I hope your blog brings light on this situation so that employers and employees through out the Bahamas realize that customer service take us beyond.

    I encourage you to redo Exuma and to attend Barreterre Home coming on clock
    June 2 – June 5. The down home life is sweeter than a mangolia.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Thank you for reading! I hope this blog helps us all too! πŸ™‚

  • Toni
    April 25, 2017

    I am so sorry you had this experience. I will admit, I had similar experiences myself as I am from Exuma, I’ve always complained about their attitude especially compared to the other islands (I’ve traveled to quite a few). But Exuma is my home and I am often disgusted. However, will there are some really bad apples out there I have come across a few that I have found to have a very pleasant and welcoming aura. Hopefully you give Exuma another chance and visit these spots:
    Santana’s – Williams town
    Same Ole Place – Baratarri
    Shoreline – Rolleville

    There are others but I have found that these spots have remained consistent and their atmosphere is just beautiful.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Nice! Putting those places on my list for the redo πŸ™‚ thanks for visiting my blog!

  • Keva
    April 25, 2017

    Thank you for your honesty. It’s sad as a people Bahamians just don’t care ????‍♀️. If you were white I feel you would have been treated better. The fact that you were a native made you an easy target for them not to care. I am actually planning on taking a friend to Briland or Exuma. Hopefully we have a better experience. Thanks for your real ness and your cander.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Hey, Keva!
      Thanks so much for reading! Yes, as a native I did feel targeted. The tourists were skipping and hopping around the island with smiles, they were treated like royalty…in my country! I hope your experience is different. let me know how it goes!

  • William Smith
    April 25, 2017

    So happy you bring this up. The way many Bahamians interact is simply the worst Ive ever experienced. They never smile, never say hello and have that look on their faces that they really cant be bothered. If you were to ask people why they came to the Bahamas? Its very simple………The beaches and the water. Maybe the pigs lol. BUT not the people!!! For such a beautiful country, just look how they take care of it! Its disgusting. But it all starts from the top. If all government thinks about is lining their own pockets, what else can we expect. Its a crooked, disgusting, country. Visit the Turks and Caicos islands!!

  • Hermie
    April 25, 2017

    Hello,
    Reading your blog from the Beautiful island of Abaco. I live here on a cay called Hope Town. Please place us on your bucket list. Its a must.
    I am so so sorry of your experience in Exuma.
    Im sure not all the natives behave in such a manner.
    I do however know of many such experiences encountered by Bahamaians upon visiting different Bahama islands.
    See the first problem is that its so costly for we as Bahamians to travel and visit our own islands. With such a crucial relying on tourism from the international sector weve becone second class. The tourists are perceived as the tipping lot and “locals” not. Let me point out the standard tipping mark is 15%. Im in the service industry and i can tell you many Bahamians dont hold that true. That doesnt deter me from giving quality service to all patrons. I take pride in that. As all persons in the service industry should.
    Dont hold it against all islands. Its important that we as citizens of this great Bahama land experience our own islands.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      I LOVE HOPE TOWN!!!! I’ve been there before and have to visit again! That place is beautiful and the people were friendly! Yes, these islands are too expensive to have to deal with such rudeness. I don’t hold this experience against all islands I actually have great blogs on this website about Abaco, Cat Island, Grand Bahama and others! Thanks for reading

  • Obiecheryl
    April 25, 2017

    This is is my daily cry! Service is everything and it doesnt matter who it may be the fact that any one chose to come here is a blessing. I am not an Exumian but I am a Bahamian and I live here and working in the hospitality industry we must realize its all about the EXPERIENCE..if u dont love your job leave..any way im glad you met some of the beautiful persons who believes in quality service however you are welcomed to visit The Grand Isle Resort at any time…thank you for keeping it real…

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Thanks for reading! Customer service is key, no matter who the person is…or what color their skin is!

  • Geroldine Dames
    April 25, 2017

    I am totally ashamed at the poor and unwelcoming treatment and bad attitudes that you, and persons like you have encountered on your visits to my island. To be honest, I have visited those same establishments with tourist friends and have experienced similer bad attitudes.
    The Exuma Tourisam office puts on a BahamaHost seminar every few months, but the sad part is, the employer and employees of these same businesses refuse to attend.
    I hope you get to have a redo of your vacation here and experience the real “down home” island treatment! πŸ™‚

  • Midnight
    April 25, 2017

    This happens all over. It’s sad to say,”If you ain’t foreign, the service will be horrible.” These employees act like our money spent is not as valuable as our foreign visitors. It even hurts me to say in this day and age visitors of Caucasian descent get better treatment, than black foreigners who appear to look Bahamian. Depending on where you are from and the color of your skin, that is what determines your level of service.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      EXACTLY! I’m so happy you guys are seeing the underlying factors here. this all stems from self-hate; i wont “serve” anyone who looks like me, I wont be nice to anyone who looks like me, I wont smile at someone who looks like me…because deep down I was told to hate me . it’s so sad and goes way beyond rude customer service! thanks for reading

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Oh trust me they will be just fine! I actually think that’s the criteria for good, decent service on that island, for some workers! sad isn’t it?! Thank you so much for reading πŸ™‚

  • Nicole Holder
    April 25, 2017

    Thanks so much for sharing your Exuma experience with such honesty. Until we root out the problems in our Tourism product, we cannot improve I hope the owners take action, Exuma is far too lovely to destroy with such horrific service. I am a Bahamain Travel Agent living in the UK and just had dinner with some couples who I am sending to Exuma to swim with the pigs. But then they are a different hue from you so I’m hoping they will be fine…

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Oh trust me they will be just fine! I actually think that’s the criteria for good, decent service on that island, for some workers! sad isn’t it?! Thank you so much for reading πŸ™‚

  • Sidney
    April 25, 2017

    I experienced this a few times traveling to exuma for work. It got so bad that I just would send my driver out to pick up food for me so I wouldn’t have to deal with the nasty attitudes.

    I have friends coming from abroad later this year and I would like for them to experience the natural beauty of exuma but I’m afraid that the people there would ruin it for us.

    • ianthia
      April 26, 2017

      Oh wow! I hope they don’t see the side we saw. Bad service really ruins a trip! Thank you for reading!

  • Richenda Mcphee
    April 25, 2017

    Thank you for mentioning my name…. πŸ™‚
    Sorry about your experience. ..

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      You were awesome! Thanks for everything and all the best in your new venture! πŸ˜‰

  • Linda
    April 25, 2017

    As a Bahamian living abroad this saddens me. Is it that we as Bahamians are taking each other for granted, with a take it or leave it attitude. For such poor service those $ could have been spent else where. Shameful.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      It’s really depressing! I was so taken aback and insulted. My entire family had to deal with this. It’s so sad that we hate anything or anyone who looks like us. We don’t appreciate our own people.

  • exumagal
    April 25, 2017

    First time to your blog and I will be back…I came because I was so excited to see your post about my hometown.
    However I was sadly not shocked on the content about the customer service you received. It’s one of the reasons why when I do visit, I don’t bother going out and opt enjoy my grandmother’s home cooking instead.
    After traveling to other Caribbean islands it became very clear from a long time ago, we need to brush up on customer service throughout the entire Bahamas.
    I am happy you did have some positive encounters though, (Cindy has always been pleasant) but I can understand how the bad ones stood out more (Chat and Chill is the way it is because of the owner). I do hope you go back and give the island another shot, when you do I invite you to travel out of “town” and experience the smaller settlements.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      You are so right! I was shocked to learn the guy serving was the other and he allowed his worker to act that way and he was no better. A lot of people have had similar stories about service and attitudes on the island and it’s sad. I’ve travelled alot myself and I’ve never been treated this way. Next time I’m gonna need your grammy’s number cause I was craving some good Bahamian food! lol!

      Thanks for visting my blog and I hope you return!

      • exumagal
        April 25, 2017

        OMG Grams would cook the world for you and make the best baked bread. πŸ™‚

        • ianthia
          April 26, 2017

          YAAASSSS! I could’ve used some of that!

  • Paula Knowles
    April 25, 2017

    Hi. I am a teacher at a primary school in Long Island. I teach 3rd and 4th grade. In 4th grade, we are wrapping up our Social Studies unit on Tourism. We just spoke and learnt all about this. I stressed to my students that we are all ambassadors for our Island and our country. We should always give visitors the best treatment because we need tourism for jobs and for our economy. We did a few role playing scenarios where the students experienced awful service as restaurant customers and then one of a good experience. It was eye opening for them as we discussed both scenarios. Next time, come to Long Island. We are a hidden gem and just as, if not even more, beautiful than Exuma. I promise you, you will get pleasant and helpful customer service.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Awesome lesson! They really ought to learn from young the importance of being courteous on ay job! Long Island sounds like a great plan!

    • bahamamam penny
      April 25, 2017

      Paula- I also live on Long Island for 7 moths every winter now for 14 yrs! I would love to speak/share with your students about tourism or living in a foreign country. (although I fell like LI is my HOME!!)
      ianthia- PLEASE come to Long Island!!!!!! Everyone greets one another at the food store, gas station, bank and restaurants with a “Good Afternoon” ALWAYS!
      I love the people here so very much!
      But I do agree with you- for having tourism as #1 income customer service in Nassau is terrible. We flew into Nas in Oct and had to over night. Back at the airport early the next morning we were treated as if we were an intrusion. I post on FB “If I didn’t LOVE Long Island as much as I do I would leave the Bahamas right now and never come back!” I was so angry and sad for all the people traveling to other islands in the Bahamas and this is the customer service they experience? CRAZY!!
      Thank you for your honest post!
      You are a beautiful woman too!!!!

    • Susan Glinton
      April 25, 2017

      Good for you Ms. Knowles! We need more teachers like you.

  • Karen
    April 25, 2017

    I also feel like our people confuse servitude with good service. I hear people say they are not going to be nobody’s slave but that’s servitude, not service. Good service means getting your hard earned money’s worth beginning with a nice smile or greeting, delicious food and drink served in a timely manner or being able to enjoy native crafts and entertainment with attentive customer relations. It’s what we all deserve no matter where we go, whether it be at home or far away to different parts of the world.
    I pray I never treat my customers disrespectfully. 34 years in business and I don’t think I ever have or will !!

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      PRECISELY! They think it’s beneath them to “serve,” especially when they’re serving someone who looks like them! I don’t pick up my money so wherever I go I EXPECT good customer service and professionalism. It was so clear the lady at Driftwood had a vendetta because she REFUSED to get the salt and pepper, she preferred to argue with me than just pass the bottles. We really need to do better.

  • Daphne
    April 25, 2017

    I spent Christmas with my family years ago over at February point. Naturally we visited the sites had a blast at chat and chill and even Junkanoo on the island! You are spot on the water is amazing!! It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s nothing’s liek how I remember at all and judging from your blog it’s has turn into something that certainly needs a redo. I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about the exact same things you mentioned from soo many other persons. Exuma, where did you go wrong? As for the customer service I think the whole country needs a revamp.. perhaps training. Great read btw!

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Thanks for reading! And yes, the whole country needs a revamp!!

  • Jason Simmons
    April 25, 2017

    As a Bahamian, it is very sad that terrible customer service still exist! I do intend on visiting Exuma next month with my Canadian wife for our honeymoon and I will make sure that I avoid that place! I am a known stiffler when it comes to top class customer service. I am spending my hard earned money with you, so I expect great service or I will tell you about the filthy customer service you’re providing, tell you to keep your shit and spend my money elsewhere! I am sorry that you had to endure that! It is only a clear insight as to why some people are still at the position they are in life now!

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      YES! Do not accept the foolishness and blast them right then and there! i had to teach my little brother the importance of speaking up against crap like that, he thought i was making a fuss about nothing. I too am a stiffler for great service so I demand respect and your boss’ number if I don’t get it. Have a great trip! The place is absolutely beautiful!

  • McDonald Ferguson
    April 24, 2017

    I live here so I see this a lot. Its on the owners to reel in their employees or risk these comments. Keep writing.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Thanks so much for reading! Exuma needs a real customer service turnaround

  • Wayne
    April 24, 2017

    Ianthia your blog was on point. As a resident native Exumian I am really embarrassed. But the truth must be told. We must brush up on our hospitality.
    We always remark about how us Bahamians really don’t know much about good hospitality. Sure we try to be nice to the tourists but could care less about how we treat each other especially in the work environment. We could learn a lesson or two from others who are not tourist destinations.
    I am truly sorry that you had such a bad experience. Ve gat ta do better!!!!

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Thank you so much for reading! And I appreciate the kind words, we really need to treat our Bahamians the same way we treat the tourists. We are tourists too!

  • Williams town
    April 24, 2017

    Good afternoon am sorry for what happened to you in Exuma and hope this letter starts as a turning point for them

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Thank you! Let’s hope this is a turning point!

  • David Walker
    April 24, 2017

    Great write up……and I have to say, I agree with you, I hope it changes, things been getting a bit complacent there.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Yes! Let’s hope they turn this behaviour around

  • Ed Boyle
    April 24, 2017

    Wow we have spent 6 winters in George Town on our boat. The last 3 years we have not gone to Chat n Chill because of the same issues you experienced. Another factor happen the week before the 2013
    Family Reggeta, saw the owner of Chat n Chill dragging his next 2 Sunday pigs across the the government dock on a Wednesday. On the following Friday saw them in a wheel barrel behind his generator shack. The Drift Wood has always been a wonderful experience for us.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Wow! That’s so unfortunate. I’m sorry that happened to you guys. I really hope they change their attitudes. I’m happy you had a better experience at Driftwood.

  • CNottage
    April 24, 2017

    My husband I struggle with this almost weekly on our date nights. We now feel like it has something to do with us personally. Like maybe it has something to do with our appearance. Maybe we look like the type who would tolerate terrible service and poor attitudes. It’s very typical for us to go to a restaurant and have a terrible server but we later notice that a table nearby is being served with smiles and excellence by another server. We often find ourselves having to track down the server, making major compromises on our order to suit the server, or being spoken to rudely by a server.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      Sad! Sad! Sad! This is exactly what happened to us, it makes me wonder it’s because of the color of my skin. Sad to say, but I really felt that way.

  • Anastacia
    April 24, 2017

    I comend you for writing this because it is time someone addressed customer service in our country. A country reliant on tourism, the attitudes are poor and professional. Our country is too beautiful for this.

    • ianthia
      April 25, 2017

      We’ve tolerated it for too long! That’s why they think it’s ok, we have to speak up against the things we want changed.