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Don’t Use Your Kids As A Crutch

, , , , , | Friendly | May 25, 2021

I’m sitting alone at a table for two outside a busy cafe in the park, enjoying a coffee and cake. A woman with two young children in a double buggy comes up and buys drinks and sandwiches. There are no free tables. She comes up to me and points at the empty seat.

Woman: “Hi, can I sit here?”

Me: “Er, no, sorry.”


Woman: “Oh, it’s just me. The kids are fine in the buggy.”

Me: “No. Sorry, but no. I’m not happy being that close.”

Woman: “Well, can you sit there and I have the table?”

She points at the counter where there are tall bar stools.

Me: “No. Sorry, but I’m staying at this table.”

Woman: “But it’s only you. I’ve got the kids; I need a table.”

Me: “Look, sorry, but no. Please leave me alone.”

She stomped over to the counter and glared at me as she drank her coffee. I finished my food, grabbed my crutches from where they were very obviously leaning against the back of my chair, hauled my awkward self up, and hobbled away.

She was red as a beetroot, staring down at her cup and refusing to look up.

A Food Service Onslaught

, , , , , | Right | May 12, 2021

I’m working at a Korean-style cafe. We have a pretty big dining room with about 25% taken up by studying students when, around 9:30 pm, a group of about eight comes in wearing matching shirts sporting the logo of a well-known religious organization.

Group #1: “All of us will be on one tab. There are actually about twenty-five people in our group; we’re just waiting on the rest.”

We like to have people call ahead for groups bigger than ten so that we can prepare and make tables big enough to fit them. Twenty-five is a lot of people, but it’s doable, so my coworker starts taking their orders and I start making drinks. About halfway through the first eight orders, more people wearing matching shirts with the same logo but a different color come in. We figure it’s the rest of the group. 

Group #2: “We’re all going to be on one tab. There’re about twenty in our group.”

Me: “Oh, the rest of your group already told us! You don’t have to explain.”

I gesture to the first group.

Group #2: “Oh, we aren’t part of that group.”

Now we are expecting about forty-five people to be in the store, which is way more than average, and that’s usually after people order in scattered order and sit for a few hours, not all at once about an hour and half before close. We would usually start closing things down around now, anyway, because the owners like to make sure we aren’t staying too late after we close to clean.

We know s*** is getting real; it’s the biggest rush I’ve ever been in. But it gets bigger.

We end up with another three groups of people in the same shirts, each group a different color, ranging from ten to twenty-five people in each group. We have at the very least seventy-five people come in and order drinks and some desserts within a thirty-minute period.

I stop to talk to one of the customers.

Me: “What’s going on? You’re all in matching shirts.”

Customer: “We’re having a district meeting for the staff of [Organization]. It’s just a coincidence that we all showed up at the same cafe!”

I got all the drinks done thirty minutes before we closed, and for the first and only time in my time here, I had to make a last call for drinks because we would have been there all night otherwise. We made over $250 in thirty minutes. Many of our regulars left because there wasn’t any walking room. My coworker had to go outside and come back in another entrance just to serve people their drinks because they were blocking all walkways in the store.

When they were leaving, two of the group leaders came up to my coworker and me — both of us sweating, panting, and looking all kinds of tired — and handed us a business card for their organization and said we should join them sometime. None of the groups or individual people tipped at all.

Not Being A Jerk – What A Novel Concept

, , , , , | Working | May 5, 2021

I’m at a cafe where I usually hang out on Saturdays to work on my novel. Most of the staff know me, but they recently hired a new manager, and one of the baristas admits that they don’t really like her.

One day, I sit down in front of my computer at the cafe and prepare to type the words of a future bestseller. I have my earphones in, listening to music.

After a few minutes, I realize that there’s a lady beside me, tapping her foot. I take the earphones out.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Lady: “I’m the manager here.”

Me: “Okay… Am I doing anything wrong?”

Lady: “Are you even prepared for the interview?”

Me: “What interview? I’m just a customer here.”

She looks at the clipboard in her hands.

Lady: “Aren’t you [Job Seeker]?”

Me: “No, actually, my name is [My Name].”

A man in the corner speaks up.

Job Seeker: “I’m [Job Seeker]. I was here for an interview about the baker position?”

The lady huffed and stomped over to him. My barista friends tell me that she’s still there after a year and a half, and they hate her even more because she’s incompetent and rude.

Welcome To Retail: The Gluten-Free Edition

, , , , , | Right | May 4, 2021

I am a baker at a popular cafe. The only gluten-free dessert we offer is a triple chocolate cookie, but there is cross-contamination, and we have to warn customers about this in case they are allergic. A teenage cashier who has just finished her training calls me over to help her with a customer.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “The triple chocolate cookie. Does it have gluten?”

It says gluten-conscious right on the tag, but it’s written pretty small, so it can be easy to miss.

Me: “No, but there is cross-contamination with things that do have gluten.”

Customer: “Oh, sweetie, I don’t think you understand. I want to know if there is gluten in the cookie.”

Me: “There is no gluten in the cookie itself, but it is around things that do have gluten.”

Customer: “But does the triple chocolate cookie have gluten?”

Me: “Are you allergic to gluten?”

Customer: “Oh, yes. But, not so bad that I have to worry about cross-contamination.”

Me: “Then you should be fine, ma’am. The triple chocolate cookie has absolutely no gluten, whatsoever.”

Customer: “So, there is gluten?”

Me: *Internally screaming* “No.”

The customer finally buys her cookie. When she is gone, I turn to the cashier, who looks like a deer in the headlights.

Me: “Is this your first job?”

Cashier: “Yeah.”

Me: “Welcome.”

Welcome To Retail, Part 5
Welcome To Retail, Part 4
Welcome To Retail, Part 3
Welcome To Retail, Part 2

Common Courtesy Isn’t So Common, Apparently

, , , , , | Friendly | March 31, 2021

A new Italian cafe has opened not far from where I live — a fifteen-minute walk — and I decide to check it out by myself for breakfast. When I get there, I see that there aren’t many smaller tables; the ones they do have are filled and there’re only large tables left. It’s the type of place that does table service, and the woman working on the door directs me to a six-seater.

About five minutes later, a family of five comes in. They look around in dismay to notice that there’re hardly any free large tables; they all have one or two people sitting at them like I am. Because the table I’m at is right near the entry, I can hear their conversation as they debate whether they should leave.

I haven’t ordered yet, and I decide that this won’t do; I’m a single person and they’re a family who have come out for a nice breakfast. So, I get up and tell them that they can take my table — where there’s more than enough room for them — and that I’ll find somewhere else. The family looks shocked, and the mother thanks me twice. The staff asks if I will be okay sitting at one of the bench-seat-style tables — one has another lone person at one end, so I would be at the other — and I say yes. I’m sat and served a coffee and rather delicious bruschetta, with the staff alternating between thanking me for moving and apologising for the inconvenience of moving. Before I pay and leave, the woman from the family runs up to me and thanks me, again.

Seriously, do people not do nice things for others anymore? Moving tables as a single person isn’t a huge deal, especially when you’re given a huge one, but the staff and family acted like I’d done this massive thing for them. To me, it seemed like the sensible — and right — thing to do. Why would a single person need a six-seater, anyway?