Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I tend toward self-fulfilling prophecies like this one:

I've been feeling shockingly upbeat for nigh on a week now, which means that some sort of slump or crash is surely just around the corner. Given this likelihood, I had better say the following before it ceases to be true, or (more accurately) I cease to be aware of it.

Since launching the "giving up saying mean things to customers" campaign, I have discovered something wondrous. I like our customers. It's true that there are still the moments when one or two make me want to leap across the counter and strangle them. Or at least conduct a seminar in Ordering Etiquette. Ms. Not-Her-Real-Drink continues to have difficult moments. But since I have been trying hard not to cave in to the very real desire to wreak verbal havoc on people behind their backs, it's actually been working. First of all.

Secondly, when my colleagues start the verbal-havoc-wreaking process instead, I listen sympathetically (I haven't yet got to the point where I can say nice things about all our customers), and actually feel very little need to join in. I'm not saying there aren't lapses, but really, this is sort of a break-through.

The best part, though, is that I have been much freer to notice just how fantastic the vast majority of our customer base truly is. This hit home especially last week when it felt like a natural part of the morning's chit-chat to announce to quite a few of our regulars that my book is getting published.

Seriously. How amazing is that? It suddenly occurred to me just how many people I see on a daily basis, and how crazy it is that enough of a relationship can be developed between baristas and customers that you can ask them if they've won their court case, or how their kids are, or wish them a happy birthday, and then tell them you're getting a book published.

I've stopped announcing the book thing because now I don't remember who I've told and who I haven't, and I don't want to get tiresome. But doing it turned into an exercise in wonder and appreciation for all the great people who come into our store every day and don't cut the line, or make a big fuss when we miss their drink, or who sit at the bar and regale us with their own stories.

It's funny what you notice when you cut the criticism.


Scott said...

good comments Jenn. A good attitude does work wonders when we are faced with challenges in life.
Keep up the good work.

Craver Vii said...

"It's funny what you notice when you cut the criticism."

That is so true. I have seen people change so much when they were given grace rather than what they deserved. Of course, there will be times that no one sees your acts of grace except God, but that's not a total loss, either.

dave grosser said...

Yay. This post was a veritable rubber ball to the face for me, Jenn. In a good way. Thanks!

Annelise said...

The sentence Craver vii noticed is really quite profound, as was Craver's comment on how people change when we are given grace rather than what we deserved.