Cafe etiquette

As you know I drink a lot of coffee. Just like any addict, I started out being very discriminate (‘I say, is that single origin my tattooed friend?’) but then you reach a point where you realise you’d drink coffee out of an ashtray or worse, from a roadhouse in Cann River if that’s all that’s on offer. I frequent a range of different cafes because I always end up becoming overly involved with each one and then need to move on like some train car riding drifter.

What I don’t know dear readers is how to wind back the relationship I had with my cafe owning and working ‘friends’ to the point where I can get a take away coffee and leave in less than 35 minutes. It’s all my fault. I’m guilty of gobbing off to everyone I meet and am perhaps too friendly. I like to be liked. More than that, I think I like to be well mannered. It all starts off so innocently, just smiles and orders and paying and change and please and thank you. Somewhere along the line I make the mistake of making eye contact while I wait rather than checking my emails on my phone. Or when a waitress kindly asks me ‘Can I have a name for the order?’ and I end up in some stupid exchange about my name or other people’s better names or names I’ve used when drunk when it was wise / necessary to obscure my identity. I over share. I know! I’m that lady!

Then each time I go in, I hear about their bad dates or ridiculous house mate or  What’s App and perhaps I feel young again or like I’m being included, hearing about people’s weekend misadventures but then I also have a job and other friends who don’t get paid to talk to me so I really can’t be spending half an hour chatting to people about their lives when I should be buying the bread and Vegemite for tonight’s dinner.

I know Jerry Seinfeld had a thing he imagined which was sort of like an answering machine for your face. “Sorry I’m not in right now, I just want coffee and I’ll be on my way”. Has that been invented yet? How do I fix this? I don’t want to be rude to people in cafes, I worked in them for so long and I hated it when people would mime an order while shouting into their phones or if you asked ‘how are you?’ they’d just bark ‘flat white’ which I still think is pretty punch worthy. Oh internet friends, your advice is very much appreciated. Cafe workers – do you secretly want me to shut up too? What is the delicate balance between good customer behaviour and good customer service? And as a customer, have you ever just moved on to a new place to avoid all of this?

Love to hear your thoughts.



  1. Jeff

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