December 2, 2012


Chaos is big, heavy word, with implications for things far greater then general coffee bar problems. So I probably shouldn't use it here, except that things have sometimes felt very chaotic, in leu of that thing I mentioned earlier, my owner's new shop. Still, I know, very nearly running out of lids, sleeves, tea, and I think that's about it, is not "chaos". But damn if it didn't feel like it.

I spent an inordinate amount of time leaning against the back counter, gazing out the windows, hoping for things to magically rectify themselves, for the delivery truck to arrive, finally. I kept - at least I think I did - a calm external demeanor, but inside, I was often anxiety ridden. Lids? Lids? You can't run out of those. You just can't. But we almost did - and would have, were it not for some creative lid acquisition on my part.

And that's to say nothing of the food, which we did not have any of for three days, and only had limited options the other two. Telling people that they can't have a cookie or scone or whatever sugary starch bomb their heart desires can trigger a fit of pouty rage the likes of which you've never seen, or maybe you have, in which case I feel sorry for you. Things run out, of course, especially when you have no kitchen to make them for you, but that's not reason enough, apparently. Not to be the guy who bitches about society and stuff, but it's really quite sad to see how many people apparently have no ability to delay gratification, to hear that they can't have exactly what they want, right at that moment.

I think - and hope - that this blog is an outpouring of positive feelings the vast majority of the time, that I have a very optimistic view of customer service interactions, and coffee bar culture in general. But we're all vulnerable, all capable of bitching about relatively trivial things - which these are, ultimately, I realize - when they seem to consume a week's worth of time.

Still, I tried to do my best, and think that was still pretty good. Not one of those problems was my fault -  or anyone else's, for the most part - so there was no point in letting anxiety drown my other mental processes. You control the things you can control, and let the other things sort themselves out. And I did, mostly. There was still coffee, there were still drinks, and we didn't actually end up running out of any lids or sleeves. I tried to be grateful for all of that, and for the 98% of customers who understood that shit happens, that sometimes you can't have a scone, that life goes on. They were - and always are - great, and the best part of the job.

Looking back on things, that's the lesson. It's easy to let small things ruin hours, and then days, and then weeks, and where then does it stop? Nothing is ever perfect, but most of the time, most things are pretty great. Focus on those, control what you can control, work hard, and stay positive. Even if we - myself included - can't meet that perfect standard, we can strive for it.


  1. Ah yes, the snotty denizens of the ivory tower commence to groaning and whining if even the slightest, most negligible inconvenience occurs.

    1. Thankfully, the VAST majority of my daily interactions are with polite, and otherwise spectacular people. Perhaps that's why those who lack courtesy stick out so much; they're really quite rare.