Thursday, June 05, 2008

I Love My Local Baristas

An odd statement for a self-proclaimed coffee snob, who has all but given up on American coffee, but the folks at my local coffee shop rock. They know what I order (chai, not coffee) - at the beginning I tried to mix it up, not be too predictable, but I like what I like - they'll see me come in, give me a quick look that asks, "The usual?", sometimes they'll have it ready before even I get to the counter. A couple of weeks ago one of the staff called another store to see if they had any croissants left after the last one had been sold out from under my nose while I was waiting in line.
I use a prepaid card to buy my morning chai & croissant, which gets me out of even having to think of tipping, but recently I've been thinking about the tipping thing. As a foreigner who grew up without tipping being commonplace - only if someone REALLY went the extra mile for you, after all what they are doing is their job, its what they get paid to do - I don't particularly like the tipping system. Plus it's another thing that gets added on to what you pay, so the price on a menu is not the price you actually pay. First there is the tip and then the sneaky tax which they add on.
Today however, I reached into my wallet and stuck $10 in the jar. How could I not? They had my order waiting for me when I reached the counter (and as someone who is perpetually 5-10 minutes late for work I really appreciate this), but in the confusion as the staff served a homeless guy who wanted butter and sour cream without having bought a bagel (although he did buy a coffee) they forgot that they hadn't charged me. When I reminded them I got a smile and a shrug, "Ah well, its on the house then".

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