4.25.2011

everyone's an expert

being a relatively new coffee house, i get unsolicited bits of advice all the time from customers.
it can range from small suggestions: "get a prettier tip jar so people will want to toss their change in" to comfort requests: "you should put some tables and chairs outside, that way we can hang out with our dogs while we drink your coffee".
and sometimes they're a little too specific: "you should organize your flavored syrups alphabetically".

but yesterday i had the most bizarre suggestions from a woman i'd never seen before, and wouldn't mind not seeing ever again.

she was in her mid-50s, very well put together, and by her accent i'm assuming she originally hailed from eastern europe. she opened my front door and totally ignored me when i greeted her, instead standing in the doorway and scanning my coffee house like the borg.
"you make food?" she asked without making eye contact, her head still turning on a swivel.
"no, we make coffee and espresso drinks." i told her.
"but i'm hungry!" she rolled the last syllable into a whine befitting a toddler.
"there's a restaurant just on the corner." i pointed to the small cafe in our strip mall.
she waved her hand to shut me up and shook her head, again whining "but i want organic."
i could only shrug, since we clearly are not a restaurant.

at this point she decided to come inside my coffee house and have a proper look around. she checked out the condiment bar, our community corner where our customers display their business cards and show announcements, and she tried to peek inside our backroom.

"you don't make food?" she asked in disbelief.
"nope, just coffee." i reiterated.
"just coffee?" she was incredulous. "but how do you expect to survive just making coffee?"
again, my only response was to shrug. considering coffee houses originated much closer to her part of the world than mine, i was kind of shocked she had such little faith in them being successful enterprises.
"you should make food." she emphasized by pointing her finger at me.

i was a bit surprised when she actually bought a loaf slice, a doppio espresso, and complimented me on the taste. but her happiness was fleeting because she then proceeded to harangue me again about serving food.

"i have no space to put cooking equipment in." i told her, hoping this would be an irrefutable statement.
"get rid of these!" she pointed the comfy chairs and tables. "you know what else? you should offer yoga classes. everyone can get their coffee then do yoga!"

maybe i should take it as a compliment that she wants me to be successful, but i mostly think she was pretty clueless.

so no - the brat will not be serving food or leading yoga classes.
somehow i think we will still survive.

8 comments:

Zoltar Panaflex said...

Yes, you should make food, on the off chance she might come back again???

barista brat said...

zoltar panaflex - i'm brushing up on my sun salutations just incase! haha!

Ken said...

You should have called in a favor at the corner compassionate caregiver and had them deliver an organic edible for your new friend.

barista brat said...

ken - she would've told me to give up coffee and do what they're doing!

Johnny Yen said...

Yay! The brat is back!

The sense of entitlement that some people have is beyond belief. I've worked in maybe a dozen restaurants and bars over the last 31 years, and I've discovered that people are outraged if their chicken noodle soup is not exactly like their mother's, their ribs are not exactly like those ones they had in Kansas City when they were in college, etc. The owner of a service establishment can only serve something one way, and is following their own vision. If they don't like it, as you say, feel free to go to the place down the street, or open their own place-- and listen to crybabies liek themselves.

I'm eager to follow your progress, both with your new endeavor and your writing.

SkippyMom said...

Not only food, but ORGANIC food with a side of yoga.

Yeah, good luck with that lady. sheesh.

halfinhalfout said...

Where I work we have alot of foreign customers, they all seem to have very strong opinions about what my building should provide for them too, drives my manager and I nuts trying to work out why a coffee and convienience store should want to put a vending machine in the corner for when we're closed....

barista brat said...

johnny yen - thanks for checking back! i miss reading your blog :( hoping to have time again in the future to keep up with you!

skippymom - right?!?

halfinhalfout - vending machine, stamp machine, redbox, haha!