BY OZIE WILLIAMS
Barcelos Special Breakfast costs N1750 and has been a frequent feature of my Saturday mornings for some time now. I like to have lazy Saturday mornings and I’ll often roll into the Barcelos outlet on Isaac John Street in Ikeja for breakfast.
The special breakfast is really 1 sausage, about 20 pieces of French fries, 2 slices of bread cut into 4 triangles, 2 eggs fried sunny-side up, 3 tablespoons of baked beans and a few diced pieces of chicken. There’s a teaspoon size supply of both jam and butter. You get to choose between tea and coffee: take the tea; the coffee is the worst coffee this side of the Sahara. But then, when you pay N1750 for a ‘full’ breakfast you shouldn’t expect Italian coffee standards.
For a while now I had noticed that the quality of the food and service at the GRA branch was going to the dogs. I wondered what was wrong as they had never really ever gone below the acceptable Nigerian poor quality level.
So, I grabbed my investigative journalist cape and flew into the convenience, knowing that the rot usually starts there.
I flew right back out.
What happened to Barcelos? Stained and dirty tiles. Doors with spoilt keyholes and broken handles. A mop standing right outside the toilet door, waiting for you and wondering if you have had enough eyesore inside the toilet or you wanted more. Toilet brush that looks like a home for deadly infections waiting to be contracted. A soap container that contains something you’re afraid to wash your hands with.
When I stepped out of that convenience on Saturday July 11, I smiled. Now it was easy to understand the shriveled sausages, the over salted eggs, the over salted chicken, the baked beans that had felt watery for a while, the broken down air conditioner on the corner to your right when you enter the outlet, the service that had gone to the dogs so much so that two customers came to the counter to strongly demand to be served the remaining part of their orders since they had almost finished what was served, without the water, tea or juice they ordered.
You smile because you know what has happened to Barcelos Ikeja: Nigeria has happened to it and it has gone to the dogs.