Okay after returning to Calgary most of you know that I started working at Good Earth cafe to sell fair trade coffee and drinks to willing coffee needing customers. It’s a weird dynamic being in the service industry again after working a 9-5 job at SMART using a completely different set of skills. It has given me an interesting perspective on being the employee in the service industry, and some of the things I’ve seen have made me realize a few things.

It should be law that everyone has to work in the service industry. I shit you not. I think it’s to easy for people to avoid this part of life and never learn that there’s a human being on the other side of that counter. Don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of kind people out there who tip beautifully, are beautiful, and generally want more than their coffee (as in friendship and chats) but I think being on the other side gives you a different sense of appreciation. And props goes out to all those beautiful people that have worked service industry before. You know who you are. It makes me cry because it’s not like being in school is the cheapest life expenditure you’ll ever undertake. So the biggest hugs go out to you…oh and the ubber friendly people too. I love the chats!

Rules of the RoadNot MEE!

  1. I’m not robotic and no my name isn’t R2D2. I know you are having varying days and sometimes days of ups and days of downs. Just remember there is someone on the other end of that counter that is human too. I’m not electronic and I do have feelings whether you want to acknowledge that or not. Suggestion: Just be courteous, friendly, and polite that’s all I’m askin’ for. Pretty easy.
  2. Burn those cell phones…burn them all! Cell phones are a sweet convenience for society (I honestly hope I never own one) but there is a major problem with them. People with cellphones are in another world and generally aren’t paying attention to what’s happening around them. Think about it…you’re talking on the phone and trying to interact in your current environment (hence the reason they are banned from the use of car drivers in many cities around the world). 99% of the time I end up competing with the person on the other end of the phone for the customer’s attention so that we can figure everything out. Suggestion: Get in line for whatever you need and don’t answer/use/talk on your phone. Don’t worry it’s only going to be for the next 3 minutes and then you are in the clear.
  3. Tip jars are for tips. This is one of the biggest pet peeves I have to date. People have this weird sense that because there is a bowl of money they can A) take money out of it to pay for their drink (cappuccino, mocha, or latte) or B) exchange one tip for another. Ironically, this has happened by older people at the university who are getting a fairly good salary (or so I suspect) or at the very least better than my current salary. If you don’t realize you are actually further marginalizing the people who are marginalized. One women came in the other day and paid a huge tip (very generous $2 which shocked me). Her friend came in line after her and was short about 20 cents. She told her friend that she’d just use some of the tip to pay for the drink and without hesitating took it out of the tip jar and used it to pay. Yuck. That money is going towards paying for the food that goes into my belly. Suggestion: Don’t touch the tip jar just pretend you’re like a kid sticking your hand in a cookie jar when your mom explicitly told you not to. Be prepared for the repercussions. If you don’t have an appropriate tip A) ask me to get you some change B) don’t feel like you have to tip. I don’t expect a tip and appreciate it when you do leave one. But know that when you drop money into a jar and then take some out it looks like a magic trick. Did he take more out then he put in?
  4. Complaints Department. I feel the most uncomfortable when someone orders something, pays, and then makes a comment that it was really expensive. I think I end up feeling really uncomfortable because I know that the food we are serving (healthier than fast food crapola) is better. But yah it’s sold at a higher price and it is expensive. I feel trapped between A) making a comment that confirms that (getting reprimanded) B) not saying anything like I’m snobbish. Ugg it’s just a really awkward situation to really be in. Suggestion: If you are unhappy with the price ask for a manager, write something on a comment card, or write an e-mail/phone/fax whatever. Just remember that some complaints I can deal with like bad food, poor drinks, etc. and others like price I have no control.
  5. Have Patience. Sometimes people forget that it takes a bit of time to make a speciality drink or that there are other people in line. Especially, when you are ordering something that requires a bit more work then pouring a coffee (like getting soup or making a specialty coffee) Suggestion: Just ask to make sure we haven’t forgotten you and then hang tight. I think you have plenty of reason to get upset if I’m standing around, but if I’m not then bear with me.

I’m still brainstorming more ideas for this, but so far that’s what I got. I think generally people are super respectful and nice! I really appreciate that. But the bad apples definitely need a 101 on how not to be…or at least hte good apples hanging around with the bad apples should coach them along.

Hugs, happiness, and friendly smiles!

PS – Let’s hear yours.