Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Community,

I'm a coffee drinker. Im also grossly impatient. If there were two lines- one with 10 people serving the most delcious treat and one with no line serving stale white bread, I would broably choke down the bread. Unless I could be banking online while inline. Which I would never do because I hate those people.

But there are a few exceptions. A bakery. And a coffee place- where I got the coffee pictured left this weekend. Both of them are incredibly slow. As far as I can tell, every employee there is required to have the attitude of 'i am in absolutely no hurry and if there is a 25 person line, I will probably slow down, because i can'. You finally get to the front to order and are sweating and angry and impatient and they give you this really slow smile and then take a good 30 seconds to ask you "what would you like"- which is a serious feat- thats like 7 seconds a word.

But I keep going back. I take my friends there. I tip them. And I have decided its because I know what to expect. You can't go there if you are in a major rush. And, as a result, for the most part, people in line are some of the chiller line waiters out there. And that makes waiting in the line better. Everyon has their first angry sweating experience, and then they either never come back, or they adjust. And take 45 minutes to get a cup of coffee. They bring a book. They chat with the other chill people in line. Hopefully the chat about how we should do away with the word 'chill'.

Its almost like the coffee place has its own little set of community rules. Everone is waiting an exhorbitant amount of time for (really good) coffee, but no one is upset. So the new commers get the idea that this is to be expected and they don't yell. Its the trickel down affect. The employees set a culture which the regulars pick up and pass down to everyone who visits.

At Starbucks, you get a free drink if it takes over 5 minutes. If someone calls corporate to complain about an employee they get fired. And, Im not sure it makes the customer happier- maybe just more entitled. Everyone there is always yelling- especially in the morning- especially if the clientell is wearing an outfit that cost over $250. These are important people who Starbucks makes feel even more important. And important people yell a lot.

My coffee place has decided that they are the important ones. Which is a unique customer service model in an age where everyone is trying to give us exactly what the customer wants. They make delicious coffee. And they know it. And you can wait.

And it would seem they are right. I can.


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