Today was a lovely morning to meet a business acquaintance for coffee. At her suggestion, we agreed to meet at one of her favorite breakfast spots. If my wife had walked into this establishment, she would have surely thought it “adorable”. It was that sort of place. It looked good and smelled amazing. By the looks of the glass case, this was a carb-lovers paradise. Fresh baked goods and breads were calling my name. I hadn’t eaten a thing and already I was planning to return. And then the lady behind the counter, who could not manage even the slightest smile, asked if she could help me.
I ordered an iced coffee and, adhering to my healthy food plan of late, asked if they offered oatmeal. “No, we don’t” came the reply from the borderline unfriendly woman behind the counter. It seemed like such a wholesome cafe’, so I was slightly surprised that oatmeal was not on the menu. Employees are trained to know what the cafe’ offers, so why would I doubt the response. So they don’t have oatmeal. I’ll eat my fiber bar on my way to the office. Coffee will do just fine.
And then another customer showed me the oatmeal. About four Umpqua Oats (a rather upscale, gourmet instant oatmeal) flavors were lined up on a shelf, among a few other items. The shelf was literally at my back and within easy view of the lady behind the counter. There must have been 30 containers of oatmeal. So I selected one and asked if the lady behind the counter could provide some hot water. The lady behind the counter completed my transaction while another, kinder, employee took the oatmeal container from me, added hot water, stirred it, and returned it to me, ready to eat.
It was rather odd, actually. That the lady behind the counter didn’t even know they had nearly 30 instant oatmeal containers within six feet of where she stood was a tad strange, it was even more bizarre that she never acknowledged that she had nearly sent me on my way with just a coffee. I’m afraid for the owner of the cafe’ that this employee didn’t really care. Someone needs some sales training or another job!
My friend and I sat with our coffees al fresco in amazingly comfortable, end of summer temperatures with unusually low humidity. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. The upscale oatmeal, perhaps requiring an acquired taste, not so much.
by Brian Litofsky, CRO
Chief Recognition Officer, Crown Trophy