I took my cup of coffee from the window like any other day. The young woman, a long red braid flowing down one shoulder, beamed out at me. I thanked her and told her to have a good day, as I had countless other women leaning out of countless other drive-through windows.
She replied, “It’s a beautiful day.”
I settled my cup in the hole between the seats expressly made for such things. As my attention turned back to the wheel, I glanced up toward the sky and around at the view. Clouds hung in a monotonous flat grey blanket. Trees stood silently as a few flakes drifted aimlessly toward the earth. Buildings echoed the color of the asphalt surrounding them.
It wasn’t a beautiful day through the lens that the rest of us were seeing it. An immediate smile came to my lips. New love. I’m quite certain there isn’t anything else that brings sunshine to a grey day like it, and her eyes shone with it. I was at once full of hope and sympathy for her. Passion is a fire; thrilling and bright, but it burns hot. It isn’t until the flames have died and the embers glow that we can settle into love’s warmth, and grey days are nothing more than grey days again.
In the minute while we waited for the barista to finish making my latte, she glowingly suggested I try the Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato. And why not? Next time,
I support the opportunity to tip those in service to me. It gives me a chance to offer immediate feedback. Whether the server is intelligent enough to take the feedback as an opportunity to improve is always questionable.
There are pros and cons when tips go into one pot that is divided up at the end of the day. I like the idea that the person who clears my table or makes my drinks will get a portion of a tip I leave at the table. Unfortunately, a poor server will not make tips that reflect the service the bartender may have given me. Likewise, customers may tip lower for a meal that did not meet their expectation, and yet was brought to them with exemplary service.
If possible, without asking, I will always know my server’s name. When I receive extreme service in one direction or another, I think it is important to let his or her manager know what is happening in the establishment. I recently filled out one of those surveys from the link at the bottom of my receipt. I was so very impressed by the young lady who waited on our table, I made sure to plug her once or twice in the survey.
This is one of those establishments where the servers sit down at the table with you in hopes of charming their tips right out of your pocket. This person performed none of that silliness. She didn’t even smile in abundance. What she did offer was very professional service, help in navigating the menu, advice on how to order exactly what we wanted, certainty when we requested a substitution (even though she admitted later she hadn’t known how to enter it in the register), and of course, prompt delivery of our appetizer and meal. I saw her checking on us out of the corner of her eye while waiting on another table, clearly a multi-tasker! Oh, and did I mention she called me “Miss?” Okay, okay . . . I’m a sucker for flattery. But she did it in a way that I think she calls every woman that, not to gain tips, but because she knows it makes us smile.
Now, take the coffee shop. I really just don’t understand the concept of the tip jar. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to tip my barista for a job well done. But why is the tip jar at the beginning of the process? For what am I tipping . . . the HOPE of great service? Is it a bribe to make a good drink?
For instance, this “cappuccino” I am drinking right now is not a bad drink for a latte. But I didn’t order a latte. I ordered a cappuccino. I don’t mind lattes, so I didn’t say anything, but I saw right off that she was making a latte and not a cappuccino. I heard the person behind me ordering his cappuccino, and she asked him if he liked it dry or wet. As I am writing this, I am wondering if he had a different cashier, because I wasn’t asked if I liked mine dry or wet. It wouldn’t matter. Lattes don’t come in dry or wet. They are not cappuccinos.
And so I didn’t circle back to place a tip in the jar, like I am often seen doing. Does the barista think me a bad tipper? She might if the jar was at the end of the line, so she could get immediate feedback, but as I said, the jar is at the beginning. Is it possible they have a signal to make a bad drink for a non-tipper? Yes, of course it is. Life isn’t easy as a non-confrontational, passive-aggressive customer. Too bad there isn’t a link to a survey at the bottom of my receipt.