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Are You a Good Customer?


When you’re at a restaurant do you stack your dishes at the edge of the table so your waiter can easily pick them up as he/she passes by, or do you leave them scattered around the table with trash on the seats? Do you politely ask how your barista is doing before ordering, or do you ignore the pleasantries and demand your order from them? Do you abandon unwanted items in another section of the store, or do you put it back yourself?Are you a good customer or a bad one?

As a barista, I get to deal with all kinds of people. I get to deal with people who have just woken up, are grouchy, need caffeine, have no sense of humor, or are generally just being bitchy. I also deal with wonderful people who are kind and considerate, may or may not be tired but with great humor and a refreshing respect for humanity. Naturally, I feel more inclined to give the latter type of person my very best service.

People, I noticed, are very reactionary. If someone is a complete cow to me, I notice my natural inclination is to snap at them. that’s bad business, but I cannot always help how I feel. Sometimes it takes a couple of customers after the cow has left for me to regain my good graces. In those few customers where I’m trying to change my mood back into a good one, I may have made their days into bad ones. Then they wind up passing on their bad moods, and it becomes this “Pay It Forward” chain of nastiness.

However, wonderful customers create their own chains of good. If I help a wonderful customer, I’m in a great mood for the next person to come my way. Then I’m nicer and more willing to work with them on their picky order, or help them figure out what they want.

So please, whenever you are a customer, please remember that the employee helping you is a person, too. Treat them kindly and courteously. Warn them if you have a complicated order, or if you have a particularly difficult request. The warning may not actually affect the outcome of the order – I always make espresso drinks to the specifications of the customer – but knowing that they are going to change everything on me in advance prepares the employee for what is to come and helps them be more accepting of the complications. Also, clean up after yourself as much as you can. I already have 6 trashes I need to take out, a stack of dishes to wash, milk that spilled onto the counter and a coffee brewer that sprayed coffee everywhere. I don’t want to throw your snot-filled napkin away, too. Honestly, I don’t want to touch it at all.

I like to think I’m a good one now that I have customer service experience, but on bad days I know I can be a psychic vampire and suck all the good energy out of a place. How about you? Are you a good customer or a bad one?

One Comment
  1. crazyguyinthailand permalink

    Great 🙂

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