Sunday, December 05, 2010

Bad Coffee: It's Too Much Trouble

It's your Sunday treat. You've been looking forward to it all day.

So you take a walk with your spouse and stop at the coffeehouse in the neighborhood.  It is convenient, but you are kind of leery.  The coffee there is not always good .  Nevertheless, coffee is the specialty of a coffeehouse, and you shouldn't have to drink bad coffee.  When the manager is not there, however, you often end up with old, bitter coffee that has been sitting in the pot.   Today you also end up with the wrong flavor of the snack you order, which you don't find out until you bite into it.  

You paid $4 for this experience.

So what do you do?

1.  Your husband says you should have had the cocoa, but you tell him you can't afford those calories.  He can't bear complaints in restaurants: my sister-in-law has been known to send soup back TWICE because it's not hot enough.  
2.  You bravely drink the coffee, though it tastes like instant, and you eat the snack because it's too much trouble to do anything.
3.  You set the coffee aside and concentrate on the snack, which turns out not to be the chocolate croissant you ordered but tastes okay anyway.
4.  You politely ask the barista to make another pot of coffee and exchange your snack.
5.  Make a scene.

So what is the right answer?

I combined # 2 and # 3.   

Answer # 5 is just plain wrong.

Websites seem to imply that # 4 is the way to go. says:

"When your meal arrives, check it's what you ordered. Make sure it's hot if it supposed to be and hasn't got anything in there that shouldn't be. If your meal contains any undeclared ingredients that you dislike or are allergic to, then politely request the meal to be taken back and re-order. Most restaurants will happily comply and only charge you for one meal, but it's worth checking to avoid an inflated bill." suggests:

"Act immediately. The key to successful complaining is to highlight the problem right away, thereby giving the restaurant the opportunity to resolve the problem with minimum fuss."

And Life Spy says:  

"Talk to the waiting staff directly. Make sure that your tone is calm and your words are polite. There are waiters and waitresses who prefer not to have their supervisor called as this may cause termination of their employment."

That extra little step of polite complaint would have taken only a minute and --voila!--the coffee would have been drinkable.  $4 isn't much in our economy, but it's jolly more than I want to pay for bitter, watery coffee.  On the other hand, my husband told me to "suck it up."  He says I know the coffee there isn't good.  He can't bear complaints in restaurants.

The REAL solution?  Make good coffee at home. And try to remember to patronize the good coffeehouses, of which there are many...


Anonymous said...

ON my long arduous Friday I did not order the coffee. Happily I was alone and so did not have to have someone next to me asking why I didn't order the coffee when I was at a place which also specializes in coffee.

I just had the eggs and soup dish. Yes I missed a drink, but I did without it.

Sometimes it's really easier alone -- though I don't recommend such a day as I endure each long Friday. Part of my problem is I don't have an office and so no where to find privacy and yet no one much to be with -- though to be fair in each class a core of students now wait for me and we have a good time. the others have fallen away by this time.


Vintage Reading said...

I'd have complained. It's doing them a favour in the long run!

Frisbee said...

Ellen, it is nice to sit alone sometimes, but I wish you had an office. It must be exhausting to find a restaurant or coffeehouse to take breaks in during the day.

Nicola, next time I'll complain.