When I was a kid there was a competition on K-TV, called Reggies Rush. If you were selected to participate, you were given an empty shopping trolley in a Reggies (now Toys R Us) store with no-one else inside. The clock started, and you had 60 seconds to put whatever toys you could in the trolley- and then you got to keep everything inside!
Every kid in South Africa wanted to be on Reggies Rush. To have the chance to just go into a toy store, take whatever you want, and then leave without paying a cent. It was a dream come true.
I unfortunately never got chosen for Reggies Rush, but I have been lucky enough to experience CafeBlue at OR Tambo airport. This is basically a store (or cafe as they like to call it), only accessible to eligible Standard Bank customers, where you can take anything you want from the shelves. And then you just leave. There’s no till, no queuing, no payment, and no catch – you just grab whatever you want and skip off to your flight. It’s incredible.
They have a great selection of juices and drinks, ready-made sandwiches, fruit, pastries, magazines, and I’m sure there’s more on offer that I can’t remember. There’s also a coffee station where you can order your drink of choice from a friendly barista and sip it on one of the high chairs by the bar. I personally go straight for a fresh fruit juice and a water for the plane, maybe a cappuccino, and a quick bite to eat.
As incredible as this service is, it still doesn’t replace a full airport lounge (like the SLOW Lounge or Standard Bank’s Bookmark Lounge), and there isn’t really room to sit down and relax for half an hour before a flight. It also could use a few more items on the shelves, some magazines I would actually like to read (the Economist would be awesome), and a few sweets and chocolates (after all, holidays are a time to indulge, right?).
I really commend Standard Bank for coming up with a service that is not only truly unique and refreshingly innovative, but is also a big benefit to their clients (you should see the envy in my other-banked friends’ faces when they jealously ask me to pick up something for them from inside). Now Standard Bank, if you want to make the experience truly game-changing, please introduce “line waiters” who could keep my place in the queues at the nearby gates while I run in to get a quick bite.
Also published on Medium.