Not cool, Ristretto Roasters. Not cool!

My dog looks scary.

He’s a rottweiler, and though he looks full grown, is still a puppy. I am actively training him to behave well around other dogs (people are not a problem, but when he’s on a leash, other dogs drive him batty), but he’s got some growing up to do. I’ve seen great advances in his behavior over the last few months, and I know he’ll continue to get better.

So when my running girlfriends told me that the barista at Ristretto Roasters told them (I was in the bathroom) that someone had complained about the rottweiler and the dog wasn’t allowed to come there anymore, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, shit – this is my fault, I’ll have to hold him down the street while someone gets my coffee from now on.” I understand that Jack looks scary, and I’m super annoyed/frustrated/embarrassed when he acts like he wants to tear the throat out of any dog who happens to walk by. Part of my frustration is that when he actually meets another dog face to face, or off-leash at the dog park, he’s totally wimpy and submissive – about as passive as you could get.

I thought it was odd that the barista hadn’t spoken to me, though. I had gone in to the bathroom, and while I was in there, he asked the gals if Jack was theirs. They explained that he was mine, and I was in the bathroom. Instead of waiting for me to come out, he scolded them, saying there had been a complaint about Jack, and he said in a rude and condescending tone (according to the gals), “Not cool!”

I find this especially odd because when I came out of the bathroom, I deliberately tried to make eye contact, smile and say “Good morning!” to the guy, but he turned his back when I came out, and wouldn’t look at me – so I went straight outside to see how Jack was doing.

Now as I said, my first response when I heard that Jack was now banned from Ristretto Roasters was to accept responsibility for my dog, wait on the corner, send in money with my friends, maybe even write a letter to the owners apologizing for the inconvenience. But after hearing how awful and scolding this guy was to my friends, after refusing to even look at me (knowing I was the actual dog owner), I just started getting mad.

Two of my girlfriends and I have been running a few miles two times a week for two years, always ending at Ristretto Roasters for lattes. In November, I started a meetup group for the other three days of the week, and between 2-5 of us having been going three days a week. So that’s 2-5 women going to Ristretto Roasters, 5 days a week.

Several times (twice in December), we have arrived there well after opening to find nobody there. The barista just didn’t come in to work!

A few of those times, she showed up as we were standing there. She insists on putting out all the tables and chairs on the sidewalk before letting us in the store. Because it’s more important to get those tables and chairs out in the pouring rain than let the customers standing in said rain come INside. Right?

As the girls and I walked home with our coffees today, we couldn’t stop talking about the accumulation of snark and bitterness and now open hostility we felt from the people working at this coffee shop that we loved. We felt like his, “Not cool!” remark was really how they all felt about us. They don’t like us showing up within 10-15 minutes of opening, because then they actually have to work. They don’t like that we’re all 30-40 year old moms, and not hipsters like them. They don’t like that we’re sweaty and exuberant, proud of our daily accomplishment of 3+ miles, just wanting that delicious coffee as a reward for our fitness and determination.

I was willing to continue to overlook the bad attitudes because I love the coffee and the ritual with my girlfriends. But this Jack thing threw me over the edge. Why couldn’t he approach me as a human being, and say, “I know you come here all the time, but we’ve had a complaint about your dog. Can you wait outside with him, or find another place for him to wait for you while you order your coffee? We don’t want to lose you as a customer, but we have to honor our other customers’ needs, too.”

But no, that would mean they actually cared about us as customers.

I’m just fed up with this attitude. I get that you all think you’re too cool to actually serve people. I get that you’re probably all artists or film-makers or grad students or whatever and you don’t really want to be baristas. But right now, you are in fact a barista, working at a coffee shop which is intended to serve customers. Can’t you just be a little bit nice about it? It really doesn’t seem like that awful of a job to me. The people at Starbucks all seem happy and friendly.

So you know what, Ristretto Roasters? I won’t bother you any more. I’ll save my $80 a month and won’t sweat up your precious coffee shop with my early morning running mommyness anymore.

Not cool!

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Food

20 responses to “Not cool, Ristretto Roasters. Not cool!

  1. I just wanted to apologize to you krista for getting overly heated about my posts not publishing. I had assumed this was the case in error, because that is what had happened on the facebook page for the blog. That being said, I really have to let you know that what happened with jack was no exaggeration, and I am understanding about dogs with these types of issues. It is serious. My only goal hear is to apologize for calling her a jerk…..the situation is emotional for me and spreading the word about these types of issues and the remedies is important-because i still miss my dog – and he was alot like jack. ok everyone- fire away about my attitude.

    • Thank you, Melynda. As I said in my initial response to you, I really am sorry that happened to you. We take it very seriously, and have taken steps to get Jack (and us) the additional training that we need. We’ve had 4 rottweilers between us, and never these kinds of issues, so we need some help in dealing with it.
      I’m also very sad for you in losing your dog. I can only imagine how painful that must have been.

  2. I guess I need to see Jack in different situations because I wouldn’t classify him as aggressive. He can use more training on basic skills, so can Enzo, but they’re still somewhat young. I can see him pulling at his lead at someone, which could be perceived as a “lunge” but I just can’t see him snarling at a person. Yes, he’s a big, solid dog but he’s a huge cream puff.
    I still have the opinion that it could have been handled MUCH BETTER by RR Staff and that you don’t have to pay to be treated like that when Portland has some wonderful little coffee shops around.
    Sorry you have to endure narrow-minded unproductive flames.

  3. I saw what they posted on their FB page about this blog and I had to comment especially when they came out in support of someone who attacked you personally for your opinion. Here’s what I told them:

    Sadly, RR is pointing fingers instead of addressing the problems at the core of the issue. If you look at other review sights, you find MANY complaints about the behavior of the RR employees. (I looked – see YELP) This isn’t just ONE person complaining about rude treatment and slow openings there’s a whole community trying to tell you that something needs to be changed. Most businesses welcome this type of feedback and try to address situations before they affect their customer base. As for the dog, the customer acknowledged that her dog is a work in progress and that she is working on the issue. To attack her personally (or support those who do) because she expressed an opinion about the quality of your service only serves to prove HER point. Had your response been “Hey, sorry you felt you were treated poorly, we’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” the issue would have been forgotten by now. Instead, this is the second time in a week I’ve been reminded that RR has poor service and is doing nothing to address the situation. She’s right, not cool.

  4. Krista,
    You ARE a responsible pet owner. Lecturing you from a high horse is not productive. The commenters above were unduly harsh about Jack. If you are already researching dog trainers then good for you.

    I understand that the woman was startled and scared, but her response was filled with anger. The fact that you immediately owned the situation and apologized is the determining factor in the snark war. Water off a duck’s back, babe.

    As far as the barista…I agree. NOT COOL. I suggest you contact the management and let them know about his handling of the situation, the late openings, the lack of customer service, and the over all attitude problem.

    If this was happening at my establishment, I would be mortified. That barista would be gone so fast!

    Smooches, darling! Maybe you guys should hit a bar for early morning mamosas instead!

  5. In reading some of the above comments…I am taken back that a dog professional would be so arrogant towards an owner who has very graciously apologized and been more than humble in her attitude. The dog didn’t bite your face off, it hasn’t been tied behind a car left outside for days…really the attitude isn’t necessary. 2-3 min waiting for an owner isn’t a big deal. AND YES, Krista acknowledged her dogs wrong…but she was treated AGAIN ungraciously by the Barista. Remember the old saying , “you get more bees with honey”.. not by calling people jerks. Shame on you….you could have been helpful and kind and made a difference.

  6. Krista,
    I specialize in these issues, and I would be more than happy to work with you and Jack. 🙂

  7. Dog Woman

    Please allow this post as it may be beneficial to the readers of your blog as well. There are resources available and maybe others are having similar struggles and sometimes information makes the difference between tragedy and a happy ending. http://www.dogstardaily.com is another amazing resource for information.
    Original posting:
    If your dog is displaying behaviors like this while tied, inappropriately I might add, then it IS your responsibility to not put your dog in that position or force perfect strangers to deal with it. This is not about your dog “looking scary”, it is about your dog acting scary.
    I implore you to seek out professional help for your dog. As a puppy, these are the behaviors that will manifest themselves as permanent as he comes into adulthood, which will make them that much harder to extinguish. If he is able to practice them over and over without your presence to teach him otherwise, they will also become increasingly overt. Please do not ever leave your dog unattended, tied on a extended lead (which should NOT be used at all) or in any other situation where he is set up to fail rather than succeed. Love your dog. Teach your dog.
    I am a dog professional that happens to love Rottweilers, this is not about your dog’s breed. This is about you putting your dog in seriously inappropriate situations where is able to practice aggressive behavior and that is grossly irresponsible on your part.
    Changing coffee houses is not the solution to this problem, helping your dog is.
    You can go to the Association Of Pet Dog Trainers to find a positive trainer in your area (www.apdt.com). It is obvious you love your dog, but love is not enough. And as much as I wish it weren’t so, the fact that he is a Rottweiler does mean that you have an added responsibility to help him be an ambassador for his breed.

  8. Dog

    If your dog is displaying behaviors like this while tied, inappropriately I might add, then it IS your responsibility to not put your dog in that position or force perfect strangers to deal with it. This is not about your dog “looking scary”, it is about your dog acting scary.
    I implore you to seek out professional help for your dog. As a puppy, these are the behaviors that will manifest themselves as permanent as he comes into adulthood, which will make them that much harder to extinguish. If he is able to practice them over and over without your presence to teach him otherwise, they will also become increasingly overt. Please do not ever leave your dog unattended, tied on a extended lead (which should NOT be used at all) or in any other situation where he is set up to fail rather than succeed. Love your dog. Teach your dog.
    I am a dog professional that happens to love Rottweilers, this is not about your dog’s breed. This is about you putting your dog in seriously inappropriate situations where is able to practice aggressive behavior and that is grossly irresponsible on your part.
    Changing coffee houses is not the solution to this problem, helping your dog is.
    You can go to the Association Of Pet Dog Trainers to find a positive trainer in your area (www.apdt.com). It is obvious you love your dog, but love is not enough. And as much as I wish it weren’t so, the fact that he is a Rottweiler does mean that you have an added responsibility to help him be an ambassador for his breed.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response and obvious passion for dog care! I will certainly explore the resources you cited.
      Jack was very rarely left alone for more than a minute or two at a time, but as I said in my post, I accept responsibility for my dog and I realize he needs more training than I am capable of providing.

      But yes, changing coffee shops is a solution here. It’s not about Jack, it’s about being treated like valued customers. The way they handled this situation was merely the proverbial straw.

  9. already deleted it huh? jerk.

  10. If you are who i think you are, the reason you were chastised at the coffee show was because your dog lunged at me snarling and straining against a retracto leash that is inappropriate for a do that size puppy or no.

    Scared me to death coming around the corner early in the morning, and I have no doubt that dog would have bitten if i had passed instead of yelling for someone to come control the dog. I have no doubt that your dog suffers from leash aggression. ( am a dog person and used to have a dog with the same problem) and guess what? he was never left unattended like that.

    I really do hope that you do some professional training with your dog if you love him….because as soon as he bites someone ( he will without intervention) you will be faced with putting him down, and the pain of knowing it was because you chose not to avoid situations that make him anxious and fearful and cause him to exhibit fear aggression. I know this- i have been through it.

    I thank the employees at ristretto for looking out for me, and the many children that go there with their parents.

    • Melynda, I am so so so very sorry that happened to you. Jack has been with us in front of the coffee shop for months, always within sight, only for 2-3 minutes at a time. One of us was out there with the dogs.
      That day, there were three other dogs already at Ristretto when we showed up. I put Jack (his retractable leash was locked) at the bike lock up the corner and waited there while my girlfriend went to get my coffee. I don’t remember why exactly, I think she had a question about what I wanted, so I went over near the store to answer her question. I was already walking back to Jack when I saw him lunge at what I now know is you.
      Based on that situation, I completely agree that I need some professional trainer help with Jack, and my husband and I are researching that.
      Again, I’m very sorry that happened and I wish I could take back the fright you had.

      My issue with Ristretto is the way they handled it. They wouldn’t even talk to me about it, they scolded my friends. It highlighted 2 years of snarky unfriendliness that I just don’t need to put up with when there are so many other fantastic coffee shops around with friendlier staff.

  11. Jeana

    It seems like more and more places just don’t insist that there employees have excellent customer service.

  12. Jim Johnson

    I guess I am confused….if the dog is outside then they have no right to say anything. If the dog is coming inside….this is a health hazard. Either way, they don’t have to be buttheads about it.

  13. Brianna Miller

    Well…after this post…I believe I will not stop there if ever in that neighborhood! AND I know 2 other small business owners in that area (both restaraunts) and I will be sure to let them know of your grievance!!! Thanks for the tip! The words of mommies can be very effective!!!

  14. Who can blame you? Well said.

We'd like to hear from you

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s