It Really Annoys Me When Cafe Staff Do This…
I’ve had just about enough of snooty cafes.
“Excuse me…? Um…excuse me? Yes, you with the tattooed neck and the too-cool-for-school attitude, I’m talking to you. Can I possibly get some water here to table 4? Please…?”
We’ve all been there. There’s one coffee shop down the road from me that I’ve only walked into twice. The first time, I dared to ask for a takeaway soy flat white, but by the look of pained suffering I received you’d have thought I’d just asked my barista if she wouldn’t mind popping over to my place after work to do three loads of my washing. The second time I walked out after 15 minutes after no one acknowledged my presence at all; I’m your customer, right? Not just an annoying potential threat to occupational health and safety.
A girlfriend and I went to a brand new café for breakfast. It had just opened and was getting rave reviews for the décor (think old steel library furniture from the 1960s) and menu (simply everything had been infused, smashed or turned into ‘dust’). We noticed something unusual on the menu, morcilla, but what was it?
“I’ll just have to check with the kitchen, I dunno what it is,” replied our lovely, casually dishevelled waitress. No problems with that, but it did raise an eyebrow considering that the menu was only eight items long, and this was quite clearly not her first day. The confusion continued when my friend wanted to know what type of gluten-free bread they were offering.
“It’s gluten free,” replied our knowledgeable sage. Um, but what type of gluten free, my friend wanted to know. Was it made from rice flour? Quinoa? Maize? The questions were piling up by the minute. Luckily we had the mismatched vintage tea cups to admire and the din to roar over (oh damn these polished concrete floors) to keep us entertained while our waitress up-skilled her menu knowledge.
Then there’s the noodle shop I go to that plays the most god-awful Thai top 40 hits. Loudly. While waiting for my competitively-priced bowl of Tom Yum with tofu I’ve got to sit there with my ears being assaulted. I’ve thought of mentioning it to the owners, but even a slight deviation from the set menu creates confusion (“Can I have the soup with no baby corn in it please?”), so I’m not sure what would happen if I suggested a playlist update, I’d probably end up with a whole bowl full of baby corn and nothing else.
Are diners today too fussy, too picky, too cheap? Is it me? Should I return to the kitchen despite Masterchef’s 6 night run making me feel like I’m chained to the cooktop almost non-stop as it is? Each time I go out with a wallet stuffed with disposable income I feel very wary that I’ll get a good meal, a good experience, and good value. I’d tattoo my neck, but I probably wouldn’t like the polished concrete floors and the playlist at the tattoo parlour either.