But it’s reeeeeally important to be nice.
In December I spent an inordinate amount of time at BP Connect in Tokoroa. Julio and I made two trips south and I may or may not be addicted to those Southern Style Bites, which meant stopping on both legs of each journey.
I see customers treating staff like shit all the time, but it was more evident than ever while waiting for my coffee in Tok. Maybe it’s because people are moving from one area of the country (not looking at any area north of Bombay in particular…) to their lake houses in another region? Whatever it is, the ratio of assholes to normal humans in that place was astounding.
The coffee at Wild Bean is terrible. I drink it short and black so it’s really hard to hide a shit brew, but I must admit the Southern Style Bites make up for it. Waiting for coffee is shit chat, and explaining the concept of short black to the server can be frustrating, but there’s no need to be a dick about it.
On one occasion, as I waited for what is possibly the fastest coffee to make in the world, I observed some lycra clad individuals. The cyclists barely made eye contact with the woman behind the counter (we’ll call her Maureen), they huffed and puffed when she asked them to repeat their order (she can’t hear you if you’ve got your back to her!), then they stood around, waiting, and complaining loudly about having to wait.
Hey mate, this is not a swanky coffee shop, this is BP Connect, you are in Tokoroa – not a bustling metropolis of hipsters last time I checked. Maureen isn’t a barista, she’s pumping out coffee all day erry day, for minimum wage, and she probably dreads seeing “coffee making” under her name on the A4 roster out the back.
So Maureen makes a triple shot soy latte for Asshole #1, she puts it on the counter and calls out “Dom?!?” From what ensued, I’m guessing Asshole #1 wasn’t actually called Dom. Maybe he’s Don, could be John, perhaps it’s Ron, does it really matter? My name isn’t Rebecca, but I get that or Rachel more than my actual name.
So the crew started (really loudly) mocking “Dom” and mocking Maureen for thinking it was Dom when it’s clearly not, Maureen! Poor Maureen, she’s got The Breeze pumping in the background and she’s got the milk frother going full blast to her right. “Dom” had already made her feel like shit for asking him to repeat his order, and to be frank “Dom”, it’s 3pm and Maureen has probably run out of fucks.
Here’s a hot tip: When dealing with someone in the service industry, make eye contact and smile. When they ask you a question, answer it – that’s basic manners. Heck, go all out and ask Maureen how her day is going, make small talk about how she’s gotta be living the dream cranking out coffees to arrogant out of towners all day *insert eye roll* “nowhere you’d rather be, right Maureen?”
When Maureen hands over your coffee, or Taylor passes your cheeseburgers through the window, or Sophie offers you the handles of the plastic bag with your new shoes, make eye contact and smile (I know, twice!). Say “thank you”, if you’re feeling really chipper you could say “thanks Shiloh, I appreciate that, enjoy the rest of you day”, throw in a third smile for good measure.
Call me crazy, but I would bet my life savings (currently $6.72), that Maureen would much rather be the one putting her designer wallet back in her designer bag and making her way to her Q7, than burning coffee for $14.60 an hour.
As I left BP Connect, heading towards my Range Rover (Suzuki Escudo) in my designer (Zara) shoes, Julio asked, “what did you say to Maureen? She’s looking over here smiling”. “I just told her Dom’s an asshole, and judging by the lack of bulge in his lycra, it’s not her, it’s definitely him”.