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Not About Food

Café Plume: Since when it is OK to ask a customer to leave before they finish their food?

garmonbozia | Apr 1, 201309:42 AM     117

I have been a loyal customer of Plume. I recommended it to friends, rave about it on Facebook (just did it 2 hours ago actually). I took a few first dates there, because the place feels familiar and comforting. I go there about once a week, sometimes more often and usually end up having breakfast, lunch and maybe an afternoon tea if I feel lush. My ex used to go there every single day before he moved out of the city, he had a “bar tab.” I like to have a workday there, and never ever once got any attitude about this. People are usually super kind and friendly. Besides, there are many people who are doing the same. I also buy their beans; mostly because I want to reciprocate and fulfill my duties on my side of the moral economy between them and me. I liked the space and staff, hell it has been my favorite coffee shop in town; well until today.

So today I go there. I order a croissant and a latte and sit down to work. I finish my coffee and keep on nibbling on my croissant. About an hour later, a staff member comes in and asks if “I want my croissant to go?” I say WTF, sneaky! I pretend I don’t understand, and state that I am working on it. I really am. Fifteen minutes later, she comes in again and tells me that if I don’t consume I have to give up my table. I am not hungry enough to have lunch, yet and yes I am actually still consuming the food I paid for. I will probably have a sandwich later, but not when they want me. I look around to the sea of laptop jockeys and wonder why I am singled out. She insists that this is not personal and she has to turn tables and there are people waiting. I get upset, leave my half eaten croissant behind and leave, telling her that I have been a loyal customer and this really ruined my day. It is weird politics. On one hand, I understand there is a business to manage; on the other hand, extremely poor taste to ask someone to move who obviously still has food on their plate.

So I write it here, because well I need to rant somewhere; but also am really wondering if I do not get the rules of the coffee shop game even after working in them for many years. Heck, I even wrote about them in the professional context (details of which cannot be disclosed due to anonymity). I mean if you are managing a coffee shop with wifi and lots of laptop outlets, isn’t it the norm to let your customers park and give them some credit that they are not leeching too much? Can you at least let a customer finish their food? That’s all. Thanks for reading.

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