Do You Know What a Cappuccino is? Part II

To begin, I will acknowledge that my Batista training is lacking. Starbucks baristas would laugh at the haphazard way I was taught to make hot coffee beverages. However, in spite of this, I think I’ve got a fairly good grasp on what’s what. I’d like to think that I can tell a cappuccino from a latte and can also make them. Having said that, this is my disclaimer on the accuracy of this story. Maybe I was in the wrong.

Commence story:

This woman came in with her small daughter and ordered a cappuccino. I made it up for her, and handed it to her, without a lid. This is important to note. She put a lid on it and headed off with her daughter.

Ten minutes later, she came back and complained that her cup was only half full. I took a look in it. The foam had collapsed, of course. I went to put more milk in it (it’s not really a cappuccino then, but whatever). The lady stopped me, and said, kind of nastily, “Is it OK if I just put more coffee in it, since I doubt there was any to begin with?”

I said yes, but let it be noted that her milk was that brown colour that milk becomes when it is mixed with espresso. I don’t know what kind of milk this woman had been drinking, but she could obviously tell that there was coffee in the milk.

Now, I’ve come up with two reasonable explanations for what this woman was complaining about. One, she put a lid on her full cup herself, took it upstairs, didn’t bother drinking it, then looked inside and was like, where did the milk go! Because she doesn’t understand how foam works. Maybe she wanted a latte and asked for a cappuccino. Either way, she knew the cup was full when she got it because she put the lid on.

The second explanation is that she drank half the cup, and for some reason expected there to be half a cup’s worth of espresso at the bottom. Which isn’t normal. A shot of espresso is exactly that, a shot. When there wasn’t half a cup of espresso, she became enraged enough to return it.

I’m pretty sure this woman had no idea what a cappuccino is. Or was scamming us. Either way, Baristas everywhere, beware!





Resident Crazy + Ten Cents

It seems that I may have overestimated Resident Crazy’s ability to scam. Today, she shows up, and pulls her typical, ‘oh I don’t have enough money’. She was short ten cents.

I ask, “Can you bring it tomorrow?”

“I can’t! Im really busy tomorrow!” She yells in reply. (This is bullshit by the way. I would bet five bucks she’ll show up tomorrow. Twice. This is the reason I thought she was scamming).

So I tell her sorry, but we can’t serve her. She starts freaking out, and the café was unusually full, so I think Oliver just wanted to shut her up, because he offered to give her a coffee anyways. (You might be saying, but Anna, you make tips, why didn’t you just cover the ten cents. The reason is very simple. I don’t want to set a precedent. I just know that if I do it once, I’ll have to do it every time, and she’ll start treating my tip bowl like her personal spare change. That’s what she does with her boyfriend because he’s willing to cover for her when she’s short. This is the same reason that Oliver doesn’t usually cover the change she’s short.)

This is where things went a little off. I expected Resident Crazy to sort of hesitate but then accept. Instead, she started freaking out, saying she couldn’t take the coffee. There were two customers behind her and she wouldn’t say yes to the coffee, even though Oliver was already making it for her. In retrospect, maybe she just wanted me to give her back the dollar fifty I’d already managed to get from her.

She kept going on over and over again that she couldn’t take it. Finally, one of the women in the café said “it’s an Easter present.” I parroted this, and looking confused, she went and got the coffee.

That’s not the worst part of the story. Oh no, the real kicker is this: she gets her coffee from Oliver, and she sits down, sort of fuming, and then I hear her loudly grumble “[something something] you’re ripping me off!” That’s right. He made up the difference on her coffee, and in return, she accused him of cheating her.

What a charmer.


Epilogue: she came in the next day. Twice. And she had a ten dollar bill, so I think she could have paid us back those ten cents.


Resident Crazy + Your Local Napkin Hero

An unfortunate reality of being a tiny business is that you are painfully aware of the cost of every little thing. For example, one of Oliver’s biggest pet peeve’s is when people ask for something to go, and then sit down and eat it in restaurant. We have perfectly good plates, and if you take it to go, you cost him extra money on the take-out container. He doesn’t begrudge anyone passing through a take-out container. He just hates it when people who don’t need one ask for one.

Another big one is napkins. And this is where Resident Crazy comes in. One day, as Oliver and I are cleaning for close, Resident Crazy comes in and gets a coffee. She sits down to drink it. I’m washing dishes, and am considerably closer to Resident Crazy than Oliver, who is filling the drinks machine on the other side. However, it is Oliver’s hawkeye that notices first when Resident Crazy spills her coffee everywhere. Most people clean up by using one or two napkins to mop up. Resident Crazy starts cleaning the mess by taking *stacks* of napkins and wiping the table with them. When I say stacks, I mean 10 or more napkins, and trust me, the top ones weren’t even getting wet.

Oliver is obviously mentally counting the cost of this napkin mountain, and tells Resident Crazy to stop! And that he will clean it. Now Resident Crazy and Oliver have a love-hate relationship, and clearly that day, Resident Crazy was feeling hate. Besides which, because of her mental state, I get the feeling that she gets treated like a child a lot, even though she’s obviously over 50. She didn’t understand that Oliver was trying to rescue his napkins. She seemed to think that he was babying her, so she yelled “I CAN DO IT!” very angrily, stuffing wads of napkins into the garbage.

Irritated but defeated, Oliver went back to the drink cooler, muttering angrily to himself. Resident Crazy settled down, and sulked over her coffee.

But a couple minutes later, she tipped her coffee *again*! She lept up and began wiping the spill with MORE stacks of napkins. Oliver was calling at her angrily to stop it, but Resident Crazy wasn’t having it. She turned to me, and yelled, “Can you make him stop?!” This is something she says pretty often, as if I have any power over my boss, or as if he was doing something wrong. Usually, I just shrug at her, but even I was sick of how many napkins this woman was destroying. It was like she was literally cutting down trees, so I stopped doing dishes, grabbed the table-wiping cloth, and said “Here, [Resident Crazy], let me do that.”

Surprisingly, she let me, but she went on and on about how mean Oliver was, and could I please tell him not to be so mean to her? I looked her in the eyes and said “He’s just mad because you used so many napkins.” I picked up one of her stacks. “These cost a lot of money.” And then I waved my cloth at her. “This doesn’t.”

“Ok,” she said. “But he didn’t have to be so *mean* about it.”

I ignored her, and walked back to my dishes. Oliver had a look of relief on his face, and Resident Crazy seemed to have calmed down. I felt like such a hero in that moment. There had been so much tension in the room before, and now everyone seemed to have relaxed. It was such a good feeling.

I wish I could say that Resident Crazy learned a lesson that day about how valuable napkins are, but a few weeks later, Oliver told me that she had spilled something and then dumped a pile of napkins on it. Oh well. I guess there will always be crimes for this napkin hero to stop.

tl;dr: I wrote the word napkin so many times that it has lost all meaning


Sketchy Tea

Today a woman came in and ordered a tea (and a frittatta). We serve a kind of gourmet, locally made type tea that comes in clear tea bags. When she got the tea, she wanted to know what the white bits in her tea bag were. (Its tea!!!). Of course, Oliver and I don’t make tea, so we had no idea. Oliver talked to her and she seemed to come to terms with the white bits, but she still wanted a new cup of tea, and ‘put two tea bags in it.’ Both of the new teabags had white bits in them, and she didn’t seem to notice, so why she needed a new cup is beyond me but it doesn’t matter because once she actually tried the tea, she hated it, and went to get a coffee instead. She poured milk in her coffee, sat down, and then got up again five minutes later because her coffee was too cold ( you put milk in it!!!). So I microwaved it for her. While she was waiting for the microwave, she looked at the muffins and wanted to know what flavours they were. When I told her the banana muffins had chocolate chips in them, she asked ‘ALL of them?’ And I said yes.
‘I hate it when they do that,’ she griped. I didn’t apologize. We are a small business. We don’t sell enough muffins to put out five different kinds.

The only upside was she gave me a decent tip. I guess she knew she was being annoying, and figured the best thing to do was compensate for it financially. I’m certainly not complaining (about the tip that is :P)

Math is Hard Sometimes

I bought a coffee at Quickie today for 99 cents. With tax, it came to $1.04. I gave the clerk 3 quarters, 2 dimes, and 2 nickels. He counted my change, looked up at me and said “This isn’t enough.”
I asked to see the change, figuring I’d forgotten a quarter or something. But there was enough there.
“See,” I said, pointing to his right hand, where he held my three quarters. “That’s 75.” Then I pointed at each coin in his left hand as I went: first dime “85″, second dime “95″, first nickel “a dollar”, second nickel “a dollar-five.”
“No,” he said, and pointed to the two nickels. “This is 10 cents. That’s not enough.”
“Yeah, it’s 10 cents,” I said, and proceeded to repeat myself: ” So, 75, 85, 95, a dollar, a dollar-five.”
“No, these are 10 cents,” he said, pointing AGAIN to my two nickels.
“OK, yeah,” I said. “That makes it 75, 85, 95, a dollar, a dollar-five.”
“No,” he repeated. Pointing to the dimes and the nickels in his hand, he said, “This is thirty cents!”
“Yes,” I agreed. “It is. So 75, 85, 95, a dollar, a dollar-five.” (in hindsight, it was pretty clear that this strategy wasn’t working, and I should probably have tried to math some other way.)
“No, it’s not enough,” he insisted. Thankfully, at that moment, his manager came over and said, “how much?” and then counted the change. “She’s right,” he said.
I thanked them and got the heck out of there, thankful that there was a manager around to confirm my math! Seriously though, this is the guy they have handling their money??