boo-hoo latte

sometimes baristas can be too adept at remembering their customers.
twice this week i have driven customers to tears because my memory is just too darned good.

incident #1
middle-aged woman i haven't seen since the holidays came yesterday. she has always been super pleasant and nice - one of those customers who always has a smile on her face, even if her drink was made regular instead of decaf. so, after a couple minutes of hellos and chit chat, i asked her how her husband was doing.
"oh," she said while her eyes teared up. "he passed in january."
i gave her my condolences, but of course it was useless. she was too upset to stay and order her coffee.
i felt like such a cad.

incident #2
young woman comes in today after a long absence. she orders her drink and informs me that she isn't in as often because she moved to another city. we talked about her new place of residence and how traffic is worse in her neck of the woods. she told me her new condo was really nice and she couldn't wait for the weather to clear up so she could barbecue.
"oh yeah, i forgot how you and your friend used to barbecue all the time," i told her.
"my friend?" she asked, her eyes clouding over.
"um, yeah. the guy with blond hair that used to come in with you," i said, sure i hadn't confused her with someone else.
"that was my fiance," she starts to cry. "we broke up and that's why i moved away."
she had a breakdown right at the register. then she spent fifteen minutes in the bathroom trying to compose herself.
my cad status confirmed.

i think i will spend the rest of the week hiding behind the bar.

partner rant: if you were too busy to prep - no problem. if you were too short staffed to pre-close - i understand. but if you didn't do prep and you didn't pre-close, then why the hell did the store look like a hurricane hit? it's not that hard to wipe down counters and load the sanitizer during your shift - even if it is busy. and when i pulled the numbers from the computer, it was clear you had over an hour of lag time! please don't turn over crappy shifts. it makes me less inclined to leave the store nice for you.


Beth said...

Having just lost my dad (we were very close), I may have cried if you asked about him -- but I would have appreciated your asking and remembering him. You did the right thing.

BTW, I really enjoy reading your blog!

Bravemonkey said...

How are you to know when somebody has passed away or been in a breakup? Don't beat yourself up over it!

Ale8one said...

o.k. brat: stop making customers cry! that's just bad business practice.

on another note: did you see the 60 minutes interview with the founder/CEO? forgot his name. pan to the projects where he grew up, his dad was a delivery driver who broke his leg and had no benefits. he now makes sure his employees have benefits.

guerrilla blogger said...

you are not a cad, you didn't know, think of the times when your memory made them feel like they were important enough to be remembered...THAT is customer service....

littledevilworks said...

Awww. Don't feel too bad. They were honest mistakes. :)

Benny said...

Damn, Brat. Why you so mean?


barista brat said...

i was feeling all comforted with everyone's kind comments, then benny came in with the suckah punch.

soit gentil! haha