Espresso Over Ice

The customer is always _____?
I’ve been having fun reading this epic Metafilter thread about some blogger who was denied espresso over ice at his local coffee shop. The coffee shop owner claimed that it’s because espresso over ice goes sour and icky, and anyway most people just turn around and make “ghetto lattes” with it. The blogger felt like he should be able to order whatever he wants, coffee-snobs be damned. The MeFi discussion pretty much covers the whole spectrum. I was particular interested when people started bringing other service professionals into it. Like, should a good bartender serve a customer single-malt scotch and soda? Would a true culinary artist acquiesce to a customer’s demand for risotto with a side of spaghetti? Should a real music fan refuse to sell a treacly Steve Wonder hit? Or – to make it relative to my own experience – should a yarn store employee sell a newbie Feathers yarn to make their first scarf?

Personally, I tried to talk people out of bad decisions. If I felt they were going to be disappointed with their project, I’d tell them why their chosen yarn wasn’t really suitable for their pattern. Then I’d suggest alternatives. But I’d never go so far as to refuse to sell them what they wanted. If they want to kill themselves making a aran jumper out of cotton or a six foot long scarf out of Feathers, so be it. We’d had a “Knitting Nazi” working at the store before, and it’s just not good for business.


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  1. Reminds me of the scene in High Fidelity when a guy comes into the shop looking for a recording of “I just called to say I love you” for his daughter, and the jack Black character refuses to sell it to him “because it’s sentimental tacky crap and he offended me with his terrible taste” and John Cusack points out that if they refuse to serve people with no taste they will have exactly three customers.

  2. I once had a customer order 80 year old cognac and diet coke. Seriously.

    I was working in a very high end cocktail bar, saying no wasn’t an option. So I gave it to her.

    In separate glasses.

  3. Ali – that’s the Stevie Wonder bit I linked to. 🙂 Yep, definitely an example!

  4. Sorry – I am so eager to be a cool commenty person that I didn’t click your link. Am embarrassed now.

  5. Heehee… I was just amused we both thought of the same one!

  6. I appreciate advice when buying, though a jack Black style attack would seriously piss me off. For example I purchased Feathers yarn to make hair for a doll. Worked out very Fraggle Rock, perfect. Sometimes you never know. (except the cognac and diet coke, which is very wrong)

  7. If you like stories about stupid customers, head over to I can’t remember where I saw it (if it was here, I’ll be really embarassed), but I read it every day. If you are having a crap day, read a few stories and you’ll instantly feel better.

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