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.