Getting Heated Over Coffee Temperature, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | October 28, 2020

I’m a server at a restaurant attached to a hotel at a popular theme park. Normally, we’re a full-service, high-end restaurant, but in the mornings, we offer a complimentary breakfast buffet for hotel guests. All the servers do in the mornings are drinks. I’m coming to the end of my shift. I have three other tables when I get this one.

Me: “All right, folks, here are your drinks this morning. Can I help you out with anything else?”

Customer #1: “No, thank you.”

The customer takes a sip of the fresh coffee I have placed on the table and immediately spits it out.

Customer #1: “OH, MY GOD, ARE YOU TRYING TO HURT ME?!”

Me: “Pardon? Is something wrong with the coffee?”

Customer #1: “It’s scalding! You should really warn people. I just burned myself.”

Me: “It is just brewed, ma’am, but I’m very sorry. Would you like to speak with my manager or a medic?”

I’m required, if the guest in any way indicates they are hurt or distressed, to offer management and onsite medical attention.

Customer #1: “No, I’m just letting you know for the future. Someone could get hurt and file a lawsuit.”

It’s worth noting at this point that we serve our coffee in paper cups so people can take it with them. On the side of the cups and the sleeves and the lids, “Caution: hot!” is written in all caps and bright red lettering. I listen to her go off for another minute.

Customer #1: “Anyway, I drink a lot of coffee but this is hot and it hurt.”

Me: “I’m sorry I can’t do more to help. Would you like something else to drink, maybe milk to help cool it, or water?”

Customer #1: “No, I’ll wait for it to cool.”

Wondering why she couldn’t have done that in the first place, I fix my cheery smile back on my face.

Me: “All right, well, let me know if you need anything else. Otherwise, enjoy your breakfast!”

I walk back over to my other table. I’ve gotten on amazing with her since we bonded over horror stories; she used to be a server. She rolls her eyes at me and speaks loud enough for the other guest to hear.

Customer #2: “Can I get some more of that amazing coffee?”

When I return with her newly-filled cup, she takes a small sip.

Customer #2: “Thank you for ensuring the freshness of the coffee. I hate when people give me lukewarm coffee. It’s not too hot; it seems perfect to anyone who can read the word ‘hot’ on the cup.”

[Customer #1] turned red and left with her husband. She complained about me to my manager, but [Customer #2] also spoke to my manager and said I handled myself well. She left me a large tip, which helped because Ms. “I Drink A Lot Of Coffee” left me nothing.

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Getting Heated Over Coffee Temperature

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