Two Positives Followed by Fifty Negatives

espresso barI had a bad morning yesterday and Friday at work. After those last two posts where I had only nice things to say, I have to take several steps backward.

Friday morning immediately started out on the wrong foot when I noticed every single one of our ground coffee bags was too fine.

We have this new-ish person who’s been working at our store, someone who usually works at the downtown locations, and I think she had a customer who requested a pound of coffee ground for espresso Thursday at some point. We have two grinders – one can be set for whatever the customer needs (it looks a lot like those ones you see at the grocery store) and the other is purely for our machines. It’s big and imposing-looking. The grind must always be on a certain setting and it should never be moved. Our owner can come in and taste a cup and know immediately if the coffee has been ground too coarse or too fine. So there’s masking tape all over the front of that machine with big, black letters written in a Sharpie saying “Grind Set for Coffee of the Day — DO NOT MOVE” and so on.

How she managed to use the wrong one is beyond me. Every coffee shop I’ve ever worked at or been in has two grinders. At least, from what I recall. One is only for that which you brew in the store and the other is for everything from french press and percolators to espresso. Of course I am talking about the person who put liquid dish soap (like Joy instead of Cascade) in the dishwasher one morning and I found myself in what appeared to be a slapstick comedy or cartoon as I was fighting back bubbles with the mop for twenty minutes in an effort to clean it all up. In this girl’s defense she hasn’t been at our store that many times and I’m sure it’s hard to get used to working all these different places. I have been with the company for two years and three months and I have yet to work at another store. I can’t imagine how many things there are to remember.

However, even if she had adjusted the wrong grinder, someone else (someone who will remain nameless but who has been with the company longer than I have) proceeded to go through about 25 bags of coffee without once noticing how fine it was. I noticed it as soon as I picked up a bag to brew the first pot of coffee Friday morning. The grind for our regular brews is pretty coarse. When you hold a bag it’s sort of crunchy. These felt almost like they have liquid in them, they were so soft. Audrey and I had to go through and dump out every single bag, then grind more. She put even more masking tape over the machine and wrote in even bigger letters.

As she was working on that I was on the bar, making drinks and ringing people up. A little, disgusting brown cockroach came scuttling out from underneath the espresso machine at me. I screamed a little bit, out of surprise more than a girlish fear of bugs! and tried to kill it without anyone noticing. I was unsuccessful.

Next was the constant barrage of questions about What’s Going On? We’re doing some remodeling at the store and I really have no idea what they’re going to change. Okay, that’s not completely true, but I’m so sick of people asking me that I’ve begun telling them I don’t know. Audrey and I both have rather short tempers when it comes to The Questions Customers Have, and they have a lot. So we were both irritated by the time Matt got there.

Remember when I was asking you for ideas about the employee photographs? I’d have a dozen people in a morning asking “And where’s your picture?” It’s like that, only it’s just something else. And I know for a fact that several people have asked me more than once and have overheard people who’ve asked me what’s going on, asking the same of another employee. So, to be a jerk, I purposefully withhold what little information I have. But it’s like they want blueprints posted up in the store so they can see what it’s going to look like. And this is only one thing they obsess over. If it’s not that, it was the photographs. Before that it was the new awning out front. Before that it was the new tables and chairs outside. People ask where we got things, how much they cost, when they were done, what else is going to happen. It’s like they’re obsessed with getting as much out of every person as they possibly can and that they’re freaked out by any small change. I feel this only provides more evidence my theory that a lot of our customers are OCD.

I’m reminded of when I worked at the used bookstore and customers would simultaneously treat us like idiots and expect us to be a resource for all their ridiculous questions. I don’t know if people confused bookstore with library and thought we weren’t just a retail shop but also an information center, but it sure felt that way. And keep in mind, when I worked there the longest we didn’t even have an Internet connection, so there was no way for us to just look up this stuff for people.
“Where’s the closest Greek restaurant?”
“How late is the mall open?”
“What’s the phone number for Barnes and Noble?”
“Can you see if Borders has that book, then?”
“How many miles is it from here to downtown?”
“How long will it take me to get to Bloomington from here?”
“Who’s going to be on Oprah today?”

And my personal favorites:
“Where’s the closest real bookstore?”
“What’s the name of that book, by that one guy, you know, the one who was on that show talking about it? It’s red, I think.”
“Why can’t you look up what you have in stock?”

Since we were a USED bookstore and bought only USED items from the public, it would have been nearly impossible to keep a catalog of what we had in the store.

But I digress. A bit.

Then, while I was counting down the drawers, I discovered we were something like twenty dollars short. This has happened occasionally in the past but always seems to stop when “certain people” would quit. But that morning had been me, Matt, and Audrey, and I know for a fact that I can trust each of us. I counted through everything four times and still couldn’t find it. Coincidentally, on our last paycheck was stapled a note from the office stating that any register discrepancies would now be the responsibility of whomever was ringing people up during that shift. Just like when I was at Starbucks, any difference of $5 or more, two or three times, and you’d be fired. Great.

When I was ready to give up and start crying I noticed a twenty dollar bill stuck under one of the register drawers. Argh.

When I got home Friday Charlie and I were discussing this new scab Trinity has on her nose. It was – and I shit you not – raised up a good 1/2 of an inch off her nose. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is. It was perfectly round and about the size of a dime in circumference. We had just noticed it appear out of nowhere two days prior to that when we realized she had pulled the entire scab off. She now had a big, red, oozing, infected-looking sore. It was super-gross. So then we’re discussing what the hell to do with her. Is it a tumor? Can we get her in to see the vet? Is it really infected? Is her face going to rot off?

I’m Googling dog, nose, scab, ooze and so forth and look up the hours for our vet which, as it happens, are only 9-12 on Saturday mornings. Charlie has to work Friday night and has plans to see a Purdue football game with his dad on Saturday. It’s 9pm on a Friday night and I have no one to call who isn’t guaranteed to be drunk or who I know for a fact won’t answer their phones. So Charlie has to get up extra early in the morning to call the vet and try and get her in.

So while I was at work Saturday morning I was all stressed out, feeling guilty that he would miss the opportunity to go to this game with his dad. He’d already said “Man, I can’t remember the last time I went to a football game with my dad!” All excited. So I felt like a big jerk and was calling everyone on our phone list to see if they could come in for me for just two hours.

Charlie got an appointment for Trinity at 9:45 and Matt actually came in for me around 10. I was able to meet Charlie, switch out dogs and cars, and he got to the game in time. Trinity was only suffering from the world’s worst case of ringworm and the vet bill wasn’t too expensive. I wrote my paper for Monday’s midterm and even managed to Murphy’s Oil Soap the entire house. So I guess it all turned out okay in the end . . . ?

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