I usually do my coffee shop paperwork at a table in the corner where I can observe all the goings on during my time there. Interesting, the things you hear.
Customer #1: Do you have grilled cheese sandwiches?
Barista: No, I’m sorry, we don’t.
Customer #1: Can you make a grilled cheese sandwich?
Barista: All of our sandwiches are pre-made.
Customer #1: You didn’t answer my question.
Barista: Sorry, no, I can’t make you a grilled cheese sandwich.
Customer #1: Can’t or won’t?
Customer #1: Okay, I’ll have an apple turnover and a vanilla latte then.
Customer #2: Can I get change for the bus?
Customer #2: Can I use your phone?
Customer #2: Can I get a small coffee and I’ll pay you next time I come in?
Barista: I’m sorry, we can’t do that.
Customer #2: Wow, you guys aren’t very accommodating here.
Me: (to a group of a dozen or so high school kids who had been occupying several tables for half an hour. Not one had purchased anything.) Hey guys. Are any of you planning on buying a coffee or anything?
Group: (complete silence – they just stared at me)
Me: Because the tables in here are for the use of paying customers.
Group: (still silent)
Me: Okay then. (I turned and walked away, but every single one of them came up to the counter and bought something. Weird.)