roaches happen.
it's true.
in any food service industry, whether it be full service restaurant or coffee house, you will attract cockroaches. it's just a matter of fact and that is why i get regular pest control service.

in my part of the world german cockroaches are the biggest bother because they are resilient and populate quickly. you can't wait until you see evidence of an infestation to call the bug man. or you can, but will have to deal with roaches for days, if not weeks, while you wait for the effects of the pesticides to do their magic.

being in the food service industry for as long as i have, i've seen plenty of these german cockroaches. i hate them. they are quick and unafraid and i revel in finding their upturned carcasses. and because i've seen so many, i can tell when a roach is of a different variety.

cue weird customer who came in last week.
he claimed to have been meaning to come into my coffee house for weeks. he asked questions, like how long we'd been in business, did we have a lot of customers, etc. at first i thought he was from a rival coffee house (believe it or not i've had more than a few "fishers" come in or call me, digging for info on my coffee blends), but it soon became clear he really didn't know much about coffee. he didn't even know how to order it. he stood at my counter for close to five minutes. it was like extracting teeth just to figure out he wanted a large black coffee.
and then he made sure to sit in a chair just in front of my register and continued to talk to me, though he never once took a sip of his coffee.

low and behold, during our conversation, i saw a roach walking on my counter. not a small, dark german cockroach, but a larger, very light brown roach. i swiftly killed it and it was at that point he informed me that he worked for a large and well-known pest control company. he asked me who i used, and spend the next few minutes pitching his services to me. he then left, without ever drinking his coffee.

now i'm not saying it's impossible for a non-german roach to make it's way into my store. i'm not even saying non-german roaches can't coexist with the german ones. but what i am saying is i haven't had a single roach sighting since, and this guy has contacted me by phone to quote me his service charge, even though i've told him i'm quite happy with my pest control guy.

if he calls again i'll just tell him to quit bugging me.


the fussies

so, i've mentioned before that i have a wonderful set of customers. i'm lucky to be in a city that really embraces and supports local businesses, and i know many of my regulars pass a bux or two on their way to my coffee house. as we get busier, our clientele gets more varied, which means i'm beginning to see the kinds of personalities i would deal with on a consistent basis when i worked for bux.

we have a duo of women who use our coffee house as a weekly meeting ground. i guess they picked us because we are equidistant to the both of them, because they certainly don't seem to care that we have organic coffee or free wifi. in fact, every time they come in there always seems to be an issue with their drinks.

the first time they both wanted decaf lattes, but one of them forgot to tell me.
"i'm PREGNANT!" she stressed aggressively.
so, without matching her attitude, i remade her latte.

the next time they showed up the non-pregnant one asked for a vanilla latte. remembering the decaf fiasco from before, i verified her order, and asked if she wanted decaf again.
"no, HALF-caff" she half-growled.
so i made her half-caff vanilla latte and after two sips she informed me it was supposed to be sugar-free vanilla. yup - yet another modifier she failed to inform me about WHILE I VERIFIED HER FRIGGEN' ORDER!

the third time they came in mr. brat made their drinks. he didn't give me the details of that encounter, he only informed me he was now calling them "the fussies" because nothing seemed to make them happy.

cue to earlier this week. the pregnant one wanted only water, and i was somewhat surprised she didn't have a complaint about the temperature or the amount of ice i put in. her friend, however, wasn't going to let me off scott-free.
"i want my usual," she told me.
"half-caff sugar-free vanilla latte?" i verified the order. but seeing it was insanely hot that day i figured i'd ask if she wanted it hot or iced.
"oh definitely iced!" she fanned herself with hand.

so i made her iced half-caff sugar-free vanilla latte and handed it to her.
"oh, i wanted it blended," she said as she wrinkled her nose.

so, again without attitude, i remade her drink. when she saw i was making it from scratch instead of just tossing her drink in the blender she said "oh, you didn't have to totally remake it!"

um, yeah right.


music people

ok, i have to admit one of the BEST things about running my own coffee house is getting to handpick what's on my playlist.

you might remember the numerous rants i had regarding the horrid choices bux/hearmusic made (or were forced to make by record companies who were supporting the corporation) when creating the mix cds that were played on a continual, tortuous loop. often times the music would be mostly innocuous, easy to tune out during a busy rush, but the bulk of the time we were forced to listen to a cacophony of warbles and shrills - joni mitchell, i'm talking to you!

there were only two times in all my bux history that i approved of the music (because, you know, seattle needed to worry about what i thought, haha). at my first bux we had a reggae cd which also featured tons of ska bands. it was like a party every time that cd played, but the cds were supposed to be time sensitive and one day the it would no longer play.
until i figured out how to force play it.
of course at this time i was working with a partner named adam who acted so much like a passive aggressive girl that i called him "madam". one day i came in to bux to find the reggae cd was nowhere to be found. looking over the schedule at who opened that morning i saw it was madam. knowing he was the sort to be a killjoy, i checked the wastepaper basket. sure enough, there was the reggae cd, broken into three parts. of course, since it was the only cd i could tolerate, i was very pissy about madam's actions. BME (best manager ever) ordered me a new cd, and although madam admitted to throwing the cd away because "it didn't work", he denied breaking it, claiming instead it must have broken into three pieces when he tossed it into the empty trash can.
i mean, if you're going to be a dick, own it. yeah?

so now at my coffee house i play only what i like.
and i absolutely love when customers come in and ask who's playing (IAMX, nixon, morten harket, ampop, maria mckee) and when they profess their own love for what i have piping in through the speakers (adam ant, sneaker pimps, a-ha, portishead, shakespears sister). i've never once had anyone ask me to change the song, which was an almost daily occurrence at bux, and i've even had a record label contact me and send me some cds of a band to listen to and play in my coffee house if i thought they were any good (their name is the belle brigade, and yes they are).

but one of the funniest music related customer interactions happened yesterday:
fellow strip mall worker: "who this?"
brat: "it's lily allen."
fellow strip mall worker: "ah, yes. she has a little funny music, but cute. i like."
brat: "yeah, i love her, too."
fellow strip mall worker: "she has blonde hair, yeah?"
brat: "uh, no, she has dark hair."
fellow strip mall worker: "yeah, yeah, she have dark hair but was blonde before, yes?"
brat: "not really..."
fellow strip mall worker: "yes, she wear funny costume. have blonde hair, is very popular. funny songs, but i like."
brat: "i think you're thinking of lady gaga."
fellow strip mall worker: "no, it lily allen. funny costume, blonde hair."