Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bit of Fluff Before the Good Stuff!

So, this is an old post but darn it, I finally finished it and quite frankly, it’s still pertinent. I have too many things to catch you up on, loyal reader, because I’ve been preparing for a show which has occupied all of my disposable time and income but I shall get to that later. For now, I am going to relate an amusing tale apropos of nothing. It’s about my morning trip to the buck of the Star, that caffeinated haven where we pay homage and too much money to order for too long so we can feel satiated and important. Don’t misunderstand, I love it. I am a Chai freak and I look forward to the changing of the seasons just to see those wonderful fall pumpkin pastries return and the startlingly perfect shot of peppermint which drives away the winter doldrums in my hot chocolate. But additional to the joy of sensory overload and jittery bliss we all look forward to, one of the things we know we are paying extra for is exemplary service. It’s what they are known for. In fact I think Buckies may have invented the concept of the secret shopper, to which I say, well done, because bad customer service is a big pet peeve of mine. So on this particular day, I was quite startled to find myself in the land of the lost servers.

It started like any other day, better in fact because I actually was staying in the area, forgoing my usual hour plus commute and I had left a little earlier than usual so I thought I would stop and give myself a little caffeinated treat. I checked my GPS and lo, there was a store right on my way. So I pull in with days to spare, feeling quite cheeky about the whole thing, like I was treating myself to a night on the town. It’s the little things, you know?

I walk in the store, stand in the not particularly unreasonable line and place my order. As always, my card takes about seven swipes to read but at last, I am in the cue. I walk over to the drink counter to wait for my order and notice a rather large crowd has gathered so I turn back to take in fully the vision behind the counter. Here is what I see.
There are currently five employees in the store, four behind the counter and one in the kitchen area. One perky blonde woman who is attending the register, one slow but steady gentleman working at the drink list, and one woman who appears to not be stocking the pastry cabinet, but just moving the existing pasties around and another woman who just seems to be moving pitchers form one side of the work area to another. After a couple of minutes, the fifth person comes out of the kitchen, walks past the ever growing line at the register, walks over to the now very large crowd that has gathered at the drink counter, stops, shrugs and walks back into the kitchen.

The silent angst has now grown into a tangible rage but still no one says anything. I can take it no longer. Me being me, I had to say something. So I turn to the woman next to me, who is beginning to noticeably change color and I say, “does anyone else think this is weird? I mean, what are we looking at here?”

The response was immediate and profound. The woman next to me started talking about how she was running late and was just waiting on coffee. The man next to her began his story and all focus turned from angry mob mentality ganging up against the poor young man who was actually working to a sudden explosion of shared confused, bemused and ever ebbing collective frustration. I think I may have stopped a riot. Interesting. Sometimes it just doesn’t take much. I thanked the universe for this small gift of a sociology experiment, and went on my way. Happy for my moment off the grid, and of course now running late, but as that is my MO, I really was kind of ok with it! I never loved that job anyway.

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