Restaurateur less-than-thrilled about Pokemon Go

By Jude Toyat
@judetoyat
judetoyat@theborneopost.com

 

Despite the encouraging response and positive feedback on Pokemon Go, there are some places, mainly business entities, who have taken to banning the game because according to them, it “disrupts their business”.

This includes Magenta Restaurant located at Kuching Waterfront. Restaurant owner Dino Bidari recently posted a picture on the restaurant’s Facebook page, saying that they would not allow Pokemon players to enter and make a fuss.

“We serve dinners, drinks and snacks, real food, and real drinks, for real people and their loved ones! For those who go around looking for virtual reality creatures in a made believe cyber world, please spare a thought for those who appreciate and want to spend time with their loved ones, friends and business associates!

“We therefore would like to appeal to those of you who walk around looking for make believe creatures to not intrude on those who are having dinner drinks, having a conversation and basically interacting with a real human!

“So if walking around with your handphone looking for furballs, well no one will stop you, they might chuckle at your stupidity is your thing. Who are we to complain but please stay away and do not interrupt the dining experience of those who have their two feet firmly on the ground!” the caption that followed the picture stated.

In a phone call on August 14, Dino said that the reason why he posted the picture and caption was because for the past week, people have been playing Pokemon Go at places where his customers were having their dinner.

Magenta Restaurant proprietor Dino Bidari posing next to a Pokemon stand.

Magenta Restaurant proprietor Dino Bidari posing next to a Pokemon stand.

“These players will be walking around with their handphones and going into the restaurant. I do not have any issue with people who go inside the restaurant to take a look. But the issue is, when one goes in with his or her handphone, those who are looking for Pokemon will go inside my toilet and play the game for half an hour as they said Pokemon are hiding in the building.

“They are happily walking around places where other people are having their dinner, and they just play Pokemon Go on their handphones, not eating or drinking but just walking around and disrupting other people,” said Dino.

Dino added that there are logically other places outside the restaurant where they can catch the Pokemon.

“They can just play outside the restaurant.

“The situation got even worse when some people parked their car in front of the restaurant, which allow only one left for the restaurant’s customers. They will simply park there and split running to the courthouse. I thought it was some kind of Amazing Race but it was all for the game,” said Dino, adding that apart from that some of the players will just sit near the window and put their phones there in order to catch Pokemon.

Nevertheless, Dino said that he was not insulting the customers; the decision to play the game is up to them but he just wanted them to be considerate to others, especially his actual customers.

“I have to protect the restaurant. They can play outside and there is no need for them to come inside just for the sake of playing Pokemon Go. Furthermore, the Pokemon are not hiding under the table or kitchen,” he said.

Magenta Restaurant put out another Facebook posting since the first one went viral:

In the posting, Dino clarifies that the signboard applied to non-paying customers.

“I have read that notice over 20 times just to make sure that my eyes and brains are in sync!.After reading it I Still Cannot find the bits that says Pokemon Players are not allowed or Welcomed or Banned! So those whose comments says that please take sometime to slowly read the sign again and try and understand what it says “No Pokemon Go here and No Camera except for Customers!”

Many posters like Abdul Haziq, Chin Jia Yee and Timothy Tang, however, argue that the source of their discontent is with the contents of the posting, not the signboard.

While others like Vic Phua sided with proprietors in general.

Meanwhile, other establishments have embraced the Pokemon Go phenomenon and gone as far as organising the meet-ups themselves like Spring Management Services Sdn Bhd.

“Our recent Pokemon Go meet-up was fantastic. There were tremendous amount of people who went to catch Pokemon here, including myself. It is part of our way to escape from the hassles of work,” said Andy Song, The Spring Management Services Sdn Bhd director of marketing and leasing.

“They come here and sit at Starbucks and just play the game and it creates a lot of attraction to the mall as we have several PokeStops here so that is fantastic. It helps us to gather youngsters and we don’t have any problem for them to come here for that,” he said, crediting the game for taking people out of their daily routines.

Andy Song

Andy Song

“Earlier last Saturday morning, I was at Friendship Park and there were so many people are doing Pokemon Go… and these are the kids who don’t usually wake up on a Saturday morning. It is fantastic,” said the 42-year-old who loves to play Pokemon Go.

There are many PokeStops (places in Pokemon Go that allow one to collect items such as eggs and more Poke Balls to capture more Pokemon) scattered all over the city. Pokemon Go players usually come to these places and place a Lure Module to attract wild Pokemon at a PokeStop , which later attracts other players to come to catch ’em all.

This includes the Sarawak State Library.

“We do have people coming to Pustaka to play Pokemon Go, but so far we have not received any complaints from the public about these players.

“After all, Pustaka is a public place,” said the state library head of corporate communications Laurena Aloh.

Meanwhile, for those who do not play the game, they can still take advantage of it by doing promotions at their outlets just to get the players  spending their time and money there.

“I am not a Pokemon Go player and I do not really understand how the game works,” admits Charlotte Liew Chiw Wei of Rusty Bean and Batter.

“But we do this kind of promotion so that those Pokemon Go trainers will get attracted by it and come to our outlet, maybe for a drink and spend here.”

“Despite the negative perception towards the game saying that it disrupts businesses, I do not think it that way. The players really are aware of their surroundings and they do not disturb my customers.

“I do not have any issue with the game and I think other businesses should not have one either.”

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