A tram ride through Christchurch city for her son Simon's 50th birthday turned into an unsavoury experience for Kay Rainey – the canapes left her cold and the beverages were lukewarm.
Rainey was so unhappy with the catering provided during the hour-long function on December 27 she sought a refund through the Disputes Tribunal.
She was awarded $333 after seeking $750, half the cost of the function.
Rainey said tram operator Christchurch Attractions had offered $400 before the hearing, though for her the outcome was priceless.
"It's not all about the money, I wanted to have that judgement," she said.
Rainey's complaint centred on the two types of canapes ordered: the rare beef with homestead Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream; and the smoked chicken, avocado, heirloom basil tart.
Asked to describe the canapes, Rainey replied: "One word – inedible."
"My two grandsons said: 'What's this nanny?' I couldn't identify it from the taste."
Function-goers, who were allocated two canapes each, agreed when supporting Rainey's bid for compensation.
They variously labelled the canapes as "stale, cardboard-like, bland and unacceptable".
Rainey, who sampled the caterer's canapes selection in the days leading up to the function, also claimed only the first six beers were chilled sufficiently.
In correspondence to Rainey, Tramway Restaurant's marketing manager Emma Thomson said her concerns were passed on to the caterers.
"The canapes were made by their head chef and had been tested for quality, and there were no issues that arose," Thomson wrote on January 15.
"As there were no quality issues identified by the caterers we are unable to offer a refund for the event."
Thomson added the caterers would ensure they brought additional chilling facilities in the future as "all beverages should be served cold".
The tribunal found on the balance of probabilities, the canapes were not of an acceptable quality so Rainey was entitled to $333, the estimated cost of the food.
Rainey received the refund last week, plus two complimentary tram tickets, which she was "not inclined to use".
In spite of the food leaving a bad taste, Rainey praised the tram and office staff.
"The staff on the tram was exceptionally nice, the girl who took the booking was exceptionally nice," she said.
- Star News