Pula’s Pastry Shop Woes: ”Sorry, There’s Nobody To Serve You”

Lauren Simmonds

You just can’t get the staff. No, really.

The stories about the lack of work in Croatia are rife, as are the stories about workplaces not being able to find workers. Odd? Yes, to an untrained eye or ear. In the land of paradoxes it’s pretty normal, not that such acceptance makes it okay or justifiable.

Almost philosophical debates on the matter of employment, or the lack of it, take over the ironically constantly busy cafes and bars across the country. From the pensioner claiming he’d have worked any job in order to make ends meet, to the young-blooded university graduate who just can’t understand why his shiny new degree can’t land him instant work, and that McDonalds doesn’t actually require a Masters in political science, everyone’s got an opinion on this no-jobs-no-workers phenomenon.

If you read the news in Croatia, including what we produce, you’ll have noticed this rather bizarre trend. People want work, so they take one way trips to the UK, Ireland, and Germany in search of better lives, better wages, more opportunities, or just to be smacked in the face with the fact that the grass only seems greener on the other side because you haven’t walked all over it yet. The stories of Slavonia’s streets only having two houses with their lights on spread from newspaper to caffebar as swiftly as the planes people are leaving on depart, and by the end of it, you’d think that Slavonia was a town like those from the Old West, inhabited only by horses and tumbleweed.

On the other hand, you’ll notice the employers on the coast desperately seeking waiters and waitresses, chefs and bar staff, even going as far as to argue with each other and offer anyone who will take the job more money, better accommodation, more free time, and anything else they might want. Some restaurant and bar owners have even reported other businesses luring their staff away with a couple of hundred more kuna in money to work for them. It sounds pretty ideal to have potential employers fight over you, offering you more and more cash, right? Apparently not. It isn’t that simple, it would seem.

As Index writes on the 28th of May, 2018, Glas Istre has reported that Pula, the ancient, glittering Istrian gem, home of the iconic Pula Arena, which attracts huge numbers of international visitors every year, is having a bit of bother with a pastry shop. It doesn’t sound that tragic, and it isn’t really if taken as an isolated case – only it cannot be, because it isn’t. Not all that shines is a diamond, and this is yet another undesired symptom of an apparently chronic disease that has spread from continental Croatia, where continuous news of economic issues isn’t really something new, to the sparkling glamour of the Adriatic coast, a place which shouldn’t be so desperate, not publicly, anyway. It just isn’t the done thing.

The pastry shop in question cannot seem to locate waiters or waitresses, so it can’t provide table service. Their rather concerning sign reads:

”Dear all, as we’ve not yet managed to find any waiters or waitresses, we’re currently temporarily unable to serve you at your tables, so we kindly ask you that you come to the counter and speak to the sales people”

With summer just around the corner, it’s hard to imagine that a so-called ”wow” and ”must-go” (and any other annoying buzz word you can think of) destination such as Pula would be suffering such an eyebrow-raising problem. With predictions of yet another busy tourist season for Croatia, where this incredible problem leaves its tourist establishments remains to be seen.





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