Monday, April 13, 2015

Home Sweet Coffeeshops: On the Weird & Wonderful World of Becoming a Regular

In case you were wondering how long it takes to be considered a regular at your local coffeeshop, here's the answer: two weeks.

I've been going to a new Starbucks, for reasons some of you may have read about on Facebook & that others of you will never know about because I can't talk about it here. Suffice it to say that the Starbucks I'd started to call home - like, all day, every day - is now off-limits. Instead, I've taken up residence at a new location, one slightly further from my home but in an area of town that I like a little bit better (namely because it's next door to my favorite restaurant & now I eat there basically every day). It's rarely crowded, & I never have trouble finding a seat, & one of the baristas remembered my name the other day without asking me for it, which was a milestone in my relationship with this Starbucks.

The next milestone came just this afternoon, when one of the other baristas said to me,"So you pretty much live here now, huh?" I was equal parts embarrassed & proud - embarrassed because there's something lame about being such a regular, but proud because it also makes me feel more like a real person & less like every other faceless customer when the baristas start to recognize me. VIP treatment means they don't even spell your name wrong on your cup! Usually.

For awhile (two weeks, exactly), I was going into another cafe regularly, one that's locally owned & that I like a lot, save for the fact that they sometimes rent out their space & I end up getting the boot; this has happened frequently enough that I don't go there much anymore. When I was going every day, though, I worried that the baristas started to think I was big bitch because one day, when I got kicked out for a room reservation, I sort of blacked out & stormed up to the manager & demanded to know, "Can you start putting a sign up to let people know when this is going to happen? Because it makes me not want to come here anymore." After that, I was super nice to the people who worked there because I wanted them to know that that particular incident was a rage-induced fluke & that I am indeed a super-nice person (OK, that might be an exaggeration of my personality, but I'm pretty nice).

Anyway. I went into that joint on a weekend day, & one of the baristas, this pretty, friendly blonde girl, said to me, "Hey, you just started coming here during the week, right?" I was so weirdly excited to be, like, worth recognizing. She introduced herself & made me a special drink & then by some moderately creepy coincidence of the Internet, we ended up following one another on Instagram. But still, I don't go there much anymore because I'm embarrassed about the time I raged out about the room situation - & also because I'm still mad about the room situation itself.

My point is this: It takes two weeks for the baristas to start to remember you. If you're nice, they'll even tell you that they remember you, & they'll start remembering your name along with it. If you're really nice, they'll ask you on a date (inside joke, ha ha ha ughhh, don't ask), but remember: This is your office now. Keep it professional. You're just there to drink coffee & do your work & spend half your salary on lattes & croissants & cold-pressed green juice.You're a regular. Don't eff this up.
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