I went to one of my favorite coffee shops after class Wednesday night. I was hungry and wanted to check a few things online before I got home, and this place is one of the many eateries in town that offers free wireless.
The guy ahead of me in line asked if he could have just a tall cup of hot water – he brought his own tea bag. My opinion is that he’s a freeloader, but the young barista with huge holes in his earlobes smiled and treated him like he was a paying customer. Freeloader took his free hot water, store-bought Lipton teabag, and laptop to a corner and got down to business. Our earlobed friend is to be admired; service – he’s doin’ it right.
I ordered my usual: a BLT and a Double Irish Cream Latte (DICL). Okay, I ordered almost my usual – I made it a Decaf (Are you there, Dr. B? Are you happy?) to become a DDICL. My very old, very used gift card had enough for all but the last $1.87, so after adding couple bucks, I also pulled out my debit card and refilled my gift card with another $100. That’s my standard refill amount. Earlobes hurried off to make my DDICL while his partner with the Buddy Holly glasses conducted my transaction and marveled at ringing up a gift card for more than $25. Buddy Holly was unintentionally amusing from the get-go, but I had just come from a fulfilling UAFS class and enjoyed the entertainment. Service – he’s doin’ it right.
Freeloader was sitting in a comfy chair with no table. His teabag was simmering in the cup of hot water wedged between his knees as he maneuvered his laptop from its case when I walked past. Free hot water, free wireless… I wonder who he borrowed the laptop from.
I set down my DDICL and opened up my small 10-inch screen Sony Vaio to turn it on. (Small? Of course. It’s about portability. I have issues with the huge “laptops” but that’s another story for another time.) The young lady at the table behind me was grumbling about still being unable to connect. I wasn’t able, either, to connect to the free wireless, and freeloader was walking toward the counter. Freeloader began explaining in a loud, expert tone of voice that the router was obviously the problem, and all they had to do was reset it; if they’d show it to him, he’s done it many times elsewhere and would be happy to assist.
By this time I was busy running a DOS batch I made for releasing and renewing my IP. Next step was refreshing my list of available wireless signals. After all, I should at least eliminate all local possibilities before asking for outside intervention, right?
Earlobes asked a tall, lanky employee to please unlock the router so he could reset it. Then things got weird. Lanky started waving his skinny arms and said loud enough for the whole dining room to hear: “I’m not resetting the router. These people have been complaining all day, and it’s their laptops – not our router.” Umm… okay… We have another twilight zone case of all the variables being wrong and the one constant being the only thing working. Yeah, right. Service – Lanky’s doin’ it wrong.
The wireless is free, so why should I complain? Maybe because the promise of wireless – free or not – is the reason that I refill my gift card by $100 every 45 to 60 days.
I’ll go to this store’s eastside location next few times I want to use my gift card, and then I’ll get over it and go back to this larger location. I'll be back within a couple weeks, I’m sure. But what about a first-time or occasional patron who gets the same treatment? Would they be back? Not likely. One bad service incident can do more harm than a day’s successful sales. For their sake, I look forward to improved customer service. Or maybe just an attitude change for Lanky.