Lisduania Victorero Reinoso

Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — A short time ago I went to the Coppelia, the famous outdoor ice-cream parlor on 23rd Street here in Havana. After standing in line for about an hour, this is what I found:

One: the flavors posted on the display didn’t match those that were actually available.

Two: the service was poor, just like any place where we pay in national currency – and since we we’re not tourists.

Three: I was left with the question as to whether Coppelia is state run or private.

The facility is divided into halls, each with X number of tables and divided for service by X number of employees, though there’s a single area of ice cream bins with several employees filling the orders. So far, so good – nothing out of the usual.

But then our waiter said, “We just ran out of chocolate ripple.” Though a little disappointed, I simply changed my order. But when I looked across at another table, I saw them serving the very same flavor that had supposedly run out.

At first I questioned the waiter because of his apparent lie, but he explained to me that if I wanted that flavor I’d have to buy it from waiter serving that other table.

I asked why there was a division of flavors among the waiters if there was one dispatch area for all the tables in the different areas of the ice cream parlor.

Either the ice cream was the same for the general public in the three halls or a scam was going whereby the waiters with the most money were buying the tastiest ice cream so that they could resell it and make the most profit for themselves as individuals?

Then, the question that struck me was whether Coppelia is state-run for the public good or privately owned for profit?

And all this only to eat half scoops of ice cream, because they never give you a full serving.

But then if it were privately owned this wouldn’t happen and I’m sure that not so many people would have left upset like they did when I was there.

Another equally amazing thing what that the “syrup” (which actually looked like sugar syrup), something that was going to be digested, was packaged in plastic shampoo containers.

I’m no chemist and I don’t know a lot about that science, but I’ve always heard that plastics retain chemical residuals that can be harmful to people’s health. On top of that, they’re esthetically displeasing.

But what’s worst of all is that we keep coming back to Coppelia as if this were the most normal thing in the world, with us responding with no more than snide comments to the employees, when we should be taking things to higher levels.


Lisduania Victorero Reinoso: I’m 35 and live somewhere in the city of Havana. I am a middle-level graduate in economics and am self employed, preparing and selling food items. I am also a photography aficionada. I have never put myself to writing not even a kids diary, but I will try here in the most sincere and clear manner possible, always with a personal touch. I’m looking forward to your comments.

16 thoughts on “State Run or Private

  • Are you, John Goodrich, speaking for the Cuban population? I would think a gringo would not have the audacity and lack of common sense of coming to a Cuban website to antagonize those who criticize their daily life while comfortably sitting in front of a computer in your mother’s basement probably eating a tub of Breyer’s ice cream while you’re at it. Please notice — if you can keep your attention focused for more than the time it takes your knee to jerk — that NOT ONE CUBAN here is mentioning a thing about your Leftie gringos’ meme of “the embargo” — now, think hard and try to come up with a plausible answer as to why that is. I promise, thinking won’t hurt…much. However, even if you can’t stop that knee of yours from doing the talking, please, re-read the article and you will see that what is described has NOTHING to do with the embargo and everything to do with poor management, service and quality. But knowing the likes of you, you’ll probably blame the CIA, the Mob and the Marines for that one. Here in Cuba, we call the syndrome that affects the likes of you “pajitas mentales” — I hope you can figure out what that means. 🙂

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