Reasonable Critique or Queening Out?
Baristas, Eater co-founder Ben Leventhal would like to come into your cafe in the morning. He wants you to remember his drink order before remembering his name, and he’d prefer to say no more than two words during the interaction. Please set up his drink for him as he walks in the door, as he’d just generally like to be in the cafe for as little time as possible. And “please, God, don’t be annoying.”
Mr. Leventhal’s feature, “Coffee Shop Rules of Engagement“, did not run on Eater.com itself, but rather on his personal Tumblr, the heading for which identifies him as Eater’s co-founder. Like a lot of folks, Mr. Leventhal is the kind of morning coffee customer that just plumb has needs. He’s the guy who comes in, doesn’t want to talk, wants fast service, and has to get in and out ASAP for his big blog meeting (he’s already close to being late). He’s probably also on his cellphone, managing the full social calendar that comes with being one of New York’s most eligible bachelors.
We had several conversations throughout the morning about Leventhal’s piece, with friends and colleagues around the United States. Here’s a few notable quotables from our afternoon spent yammering on:
“People in the service industry get mad when they’re treated like service people.”
“Is there a distinction between getting mad for being treated like service person and getting mad for being treated like shit?”
“It’s very possible Ben Leventhal has never made 120 lattes in an hour, or woke up at 4am to open a cafe. He doesn’t know how hairy it can get, but that’s the point, because he doesn’t need to know what it’s like to be able to write about what it’s like to be the customer who just needs a coffee to wake up before work.”
“Leventhal isn’t saying that baristas need to be more robotic, he’s just saying they need to be more efficient and self aware. All of the points he hits on are like Starbucks Training 101 Stuff.”
“We’re only having this conversation because the guy started Eater.”
What do you think? Is this just tough love for the sub-par experiences described in Mr. Leventhal’s feature? Or do his words strike you as a diva supernova Yelp-style queen out? Sound off in the comments below!