I know it’s been done before, and probably better, funnier, and more succinctly than I am about to do it, but after 18 years (yikes!) working on and off in the food and retail industry, I think I am entitled to a little humor-filled venting, cleverly disguised as a “Customer’s Guide to good behavior.” Honestly, sometimes I just have to laugh or I’d cry in this business…. People who are hungry, need their coffee, or are looking for the perfect jeans/sweater/floral arrangement/gift for their mother-in-law are notoriously prone to bad behavior. Because I have been working the front of the cafe on Tuesdays (until now — we just hired a new full-time waitress, bless her) I have recently been reminded of all the frustrations I faced during my years as a front-of-house-gal and salesgirl. Remember kids, there is a special place in the next life for folks who treat those who serve them badly. Don’t be that person.
Ari’s rules for customer behavior, brought to you by Tuesday and the letter F
1. Communicate clearly. A waitress/saleswoman is not there to help you work through your feelings about Greek salad or the color blue. If you need a few moments to decide, politely tell her that she can return in a couple minutes, instead of making her stand there awkwardly while you work through this important process.
2. If you are in a rush… don’t make it someone else’s problem. If your favorite morning drink takes more than 3 or 4 words to describe, you may want to make it yourself, at home, or save it for a leisurely coffee date with your friend/loved one. Ditto for breakfast orders.
3. Be considerate. Although clearing your plates or picking up clothes off a dressing room floor (or, even better, off the hooks) are standard parts of working in the biz, cleaning up dirty bandaids, soiled diapers, chewed gum, or any other carriers of bodily fluids should not be your waitress/salesgirl’s job.
4. Respect the house rules. There are reasons why there are minimums for credit cards and why a place may not accept checks. Be prepared and carry a little cash when you’re out and about. Remember cash?
5. Use nice words. Please and thank you go such a long way. If you feel like you are giving respect and consistently not getting it from a place you frequent, consider simply not giving them your business. Unless of course they make the most kick-ass sandwiches in the free world, in which case just deal with it — you can’t have everything.
6. Watch this.