Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fuck off...Yes, Really.

This past weekend I visited New York City’s Brass Monkey to get some tasting material for my first real post. Unfortunately (or heroically depending on your stance) the night started with an impromptu streetstyle sampling of Liquor Outlet’s second edition Eagle Rare 10 year Single Barrel Bourbon. While I do prefer my whiskey served as a double on the rocks, luke warm in a used plastic bottle on the PATH train is also quite nice. Needless to say, my judgment and memory were already beginning to falter as we approached the bar and once inside I drank a number of forgettable beers including Palm; a subtle Belgian style ale that did nothing more than get me hyped for the more distinct flavors of a Belgian Blonde, more specifically Ramstein’s Double Platinum Blonde. I think a trip is definitely in order.

Speaking of Blondes, I would like to take this opportunity to discredit my blog and myself by regretfully admitting that I did partake in a Redheaded Slut toast on Saturday. In my defense, I find it extremely rude to turn down a drink if some one enthusiastically invites you to join them in a toast, and in my slightly inebriated mental state I was actually interested in trying it.  It was as gross a drink as you could imagine it to be. In terms of quality drinking the weekend was uneventful and at times deplorable. In the future I will try and refrain from posting about getting drunk and taking training wheel shots.

On a more serious note, a good friend of mine was visiting the Starbucks in Bedminster when a disgruntled employee, unprovoked, verbally accosted her after she ordered the wrong drink size. After apologizing for her mistake my friend proceeded to the condiment stand where the employee continued to berate her from across the café; citing a rule that states 'customers shall not pour liquid into the garbage can'. This "partner" was clearly interested in sending a message:

While the behavior of this irate employee is unusual for Starbucks, what struck me most about this story is that it is a complete reversal of how the customer/server dynamic typically plays out, since the worker is usually on the receiving end.

Working in counter service for many years I have had sufficient time to ponder the customer/server relationship and I believe that there are two myths strong in the mind of every asshole customer:

1. The customer is always right.

2. If you have money you have a right to whatever that money can buy.

Both of those statements are far from true and in reality they would probably read something like:

1. The worker is always right.

People do not generally work for fun. Most people are forced to work a third of their day and I believe that if someone spends 40 hours a week toiling away while interred in an establishment they should have more authority than a customer who voluntarily chooses to enter said establishment for an insignificant amount of time.

Businesses do want the customers to spend their money and service providers will tolerate a large amount of idiocy and even ingratiate themselves to the customer in order to make them feel special. A customer who enters an establishment believing that they are in a position of power is sorely misled by marketing campaigns aimed at coddling their egos and making them feel important.  While the customer is paramount at the promotional level, at the point of sale the customer is always an asshole.

2. If you have money you have the right to whatever the worker will allow you to buy.

To use a simple example, if I work at a coffee shop and I am selling a latte for three dollars and you come into the store with three dollars and a bad attitude I could either sell you that latte or refuse to sell you that latte. Essentially, you are at the mercy of the worker.

Either way you look at it, there are standards of human decency that should be observed regardless of a person's employment status. Just something to think about next time you get exceptionally bad service.

 Cheers up.


  1. i don't like it when starbucks baristas make a big deal about the wrong sizes etc. -_____-

  2. Very well said. My wife is in the service industry and boy the stories she tell me about patients (optical practice). I just sent her a copy of your piece.

    Someone needs to change the rules etched on the rock standing at the entry to each Stew Leonards store. The store is known for its customer-service policy, which greets shoppers at each store's entrance etched into a three-ton rock:
    1.The customer is always right.
    2.If the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule #1