I do not believe I have ever met a woman as rude as in this shop.
Imperial Teas of Lincoln, located in a Norman house c 1170-80, halfway up Steep Hill, used to be the other side of the street.
I thought they were closed, as very dark inside, if so, a wasted climb up the hill. But no, I tried the door and they were open. A slim woman, dark skirt, white blouse, could have been straight out of a Victorian photo, was serving what I assumed to be two Americans.
I had a wander around the shop. Quite literally, hundreds and hundreds of jars or tins of different sizes labelled with the tea they contained, and dotted around what I took to be Japanese or Chinese cast iron tea pots, very shallow and large diameter, the like of which I had not seen before.
A photo looking through the door of the woman serving, of the containers of tea, of the tea pots, but best ask.
Will have to ask. No, you cannot, but I will ask the manager. This surprised me, but I patiently waited.
An old crone came out from the back and started ranting and raving at me: You would not expect to take photos in M&S, why do expect to take photos in here? She was sick and fed up with people poking around in the shop, video cameras being stuck in her face, of people poking their noses into her tins and business rivals stealing their ideas, and on and on she ranted and raved.
I was astounded by her outburst. Maybe she was mad, not just unbelievably rude.
I said I could see no harm in anyone setting up a rival shop, and that pictures were helping to put her on the map. But she was having none of it, it merely set her off again, or maybe she had only paused to catch her breath.
What is anyone going to steal? Unless they work there or hack into their computers, only thing worth stealing would be suppliers, blends they use.
I could understand no flash, no people in the pictures.
How long does tea keep before it loses its freshness? With so many teas, unless they have a massive turnover, do business on the net, very questionable how fresh.
I asked did they not serve teas or have tasting, as I had heard they did. She said no, only in the summer, and if I wished to try their teas, she suggested I visited Pimento Tea Rooms as they supplied the tea.
I then left. Had I been about to make a purchase, I would have walked out, leaving it on the counter.
I would have liked to have asked her about their teas, where they sourced them from, but I was not going to waste any more time with this unpleasant crone.
I contrast her rudeness with Stokes, who have gone out of their way to be helpful.
Small businesses cannot compete on price as they lack the buying power. They can only survive on offering quality and service. Service and politeness in Imperial Teas of Lincoln obviously in very short supply. If they treat everyone like this, I am surprised they remain in businesses. It is one thing being quirky, but not outright rude.
I have visited many indie coffee shops and tea shops. All have been only too happy to explain to me what they are about, they take a great pride in what they do, they are happy to share, for photos to be taken.
It begs the question: What has Imperial Teas of Lincoln got to hide?