Cafe Scene: Closed Doors

Text and Photo: Kaycie Gayle

In a small local quiet cafe, a woman is seated in a corner while silently eating her pasta and occasionally sipping her frappe. She is typing on her phone at the same time and once in a while glances around to look for some inspiration. She is the only customer in the cafe at that time.

Eventually, three men with luggage were spotted coming in the glass door with two women at their back. In a while, a commotion was heard. The other woman who is probably in her 50’s was loudly saying “you’ve seen that she is entering and you let go of the door. You don’t dare hurt her. We traveled just to be here and yet…” she didn’t finish her line. She was outrageous to the waiter cum barista. It was seemed reasonable that she gets angry and everybody would seem to agree with her demeanor especially after seeing she is defending a quiet old woman.

The woman who was writing was silently aware of what happened. The barista opens the door to welcome the group of customers that came in. Three men and two aged ladies were at the cafe door at the same time. Anybody would see them will think they were together since they came almost like in one group. When the barista opened the door, the three men entered the cafe. Thinking that the door will remain open when the two ladies follow right after the men, he let go of the door to guide them towards the table they can sit on.  Apparently, after the men entered, the door automatically closed since no one is holding it back and the older woman who’s probably in her mid-70’s was entering when the door shut. Hence, the younger woman who’s probably in her mid 50’s was mad at the barista for letting go of the door and scolded him in front of other customers.

The shutting of the door when the older woman was entering is unintentional. Letting go of the door was indeed an honest mistake, but this is because the cafe was only being manned by one person. The barista who opens the door and welcomes the guests is also the one who ushers them to their tables and the person in charge to take the orders, prepare the meals and do the cashiering. However, a single mistake is easily interpreted in just one situation, but understanding deeper can only be possible if you’ve seen the bigger picture. Perception only depends on the story that one knows and experienced. But if you would see what went wrong you may change your mind and even have compassion to the barista.

While being scolded, the barista was just silent and apologetic. He is humble and repeatedly saying ‘sorry’. He was humiliated but continue to work quietly and serve the customer even the mad woman continuously talking sarcastically. He goes on to serve and ask the woman ‘table for how many?’  and then she answered ‘we are four, four persons that are angry with you’.  The barista was still quiet and just started to put water on their table.

In a little while,  two ladies came to their table and wondering what happened for sensing the kind of mood there is, still angry the woman keeps on talking about what just happened. The two ladies who just came by seems not to give a budge on it. When the first two woman who came by went to the comfort room, the two ladies who just got in later talked about them. The younger one who is probably a teenager said ‘when I get here their face is like this..’ and mimics the expression of the woman who talked to the barista as if making fun of her.

For the woman, who appears to be defending and protecting the older lady by uttering a warning on the barista, one would understand that she is just is being protective. However, what she said and the way she delivers it sarcastically, only garners unfavorable impression towards her. Respectable and intimidating people are the ones who are modest who knows how to say the right things at the right time at the right way. Humiliating a server for a simple honest mistake in front of many people does not make one look intimidating but supercilious.  In that situation, a salute is much deserved by the forbearing barista for being patient and humble while facing a disdainful customer.

A single unintentional mistake with one customer doesn’t reflect that a server cannot provide great service to others. He actually delivers courteous service to each guest. Behind one ungrateful customer are fourfolds of customers that appreciate him. Despite of providing service to all customers alone, he diligently works to meet the demands of customers to please them.

Despite being required to be served, customers must also learn how to be worthy to be appropriately served. Diners often go to cafes for dining and relaxation hence, cafe crews are expected to provide exceptional service. However, proper decorum in treating servers must be observed by customers as well. Therefore, one of the customer etiquettes that every diner should know is ‘to be respectful to waiters or the people who serve you’

Before the woman sitting on a corner leaves, she wrote on the bill receipt a note to make the barista know that someone knows he is providing a good service. On it she wrote “Thank you. You are doing a great job. Great service.” and then she leaves.