Setting the Bar(ista) for Service

Yesterday afternoon, I bought a weekend coffee so I could bask in the sun and sip it. No big deal. I went to a family-owned place with a nice patio outside for sitting and ogling other people’s dogs.

The barista was of fair-enough friendliness. She half-smiled at me as if we were acquaintances (not friends) and fulfilled all her responsibilities with no great fanfare. I didn’t get the feeling she thought much of me, but I couldn’t really tell either way.

But then! When she handed me my coffee, the following happened.

Barista (B): So it’s pretty nice outside today, huh?

Me (M): (jumping at the chance for brief human connection) Oh yes, it’s very nice outside.

B: I bet. I have been inside all day…(musing off into distance)…in fact, since 9 a.m.!

M: Aw, that’s too bad.

B: Yeah, and I have to work until 7 p.m.! (overworked pout) I’ve been working really hard.

M: Oh dear.

B: My father asked me if I would work today last week, but I didn’t know it was going to be so nice outside…

M: Yes yes.

B: And now, it’s work all day! And work all the time!

M: Ok, thank you.

I really didn’t know how to exit the conversation except to give her an understanding head tilt and warm puppy eyes while backing away slowly to imply earnest empathy for her situation.

But I felt like she wanted something more from me. Else why all the outpouring of gritty sentiments!

You guys, here’s what I think played out! She wanted me to regift her the coffee she just made me. It was really all I could offer her…besides my credit card again (as I am a non-cash-carrying buffoon).

Then she could add it to her vast pile of sympathy coffee cups (similar to the pile of bones giants have in their cave that make up a fond display of their past victims). And thus make the day worthwhile somehow.

I hope you like your espresso made via guilt drip.
photo courtesy of Flickr and gahdjun

But here’s what I did! Walked away without a smidgeon of external remorse!

Because I am more scared of customer servants than they are of me. An exception to the rule they probably learned in training. Be warned; I will bolt at the first sign of solidarity.

Also, aren’t most revolutions planned in coffee shops?! Free trade and all that.

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