Customer Serviced to Death

From News and Observer’s Check it Out column:

Have you noticed we’re being customer serviced to death? Not when we want or need it, mind you. But retailers are more willing than ever to help you when you don’t need it, as witnessed by this exchange, with only a modicum of dramatization, that occurred at a local coffeehouse, the name of which doesn’t matter because they’re all the same.

Us: Hi. We’d like a coffee and a bagel.

Them: Would you like an el diminutivo, a medio or a talla grande?

Us: Is the middle one a regular?

Them: We have an el diminutivo, a medio and a talla grande.

Us: We’ll have the middle one.

Them: Regular or decaf?

Us: It’s 8 in the dadgum morning.

Them: (Blank stare).

Us: Regular.

Them: Light or dark roast? We also have a popular el cuppo cintemante khakichinos blend.

Us: What’s that?

Them: It’s a melange of our house blend and a darker bean that speaks to an urban lifestyle.

Us: Dark.

Them: OK. And you wanted a muffin?

Us: No, an everything bagel. Toasted, butter.

Them: Do you want the butter on the side or do you want us to butter it?

Us: You butter it.

Them: Do you want it buttered before or after it’s toasted?

Us: (Long pause because, after all, it is 8 a.m. and we’re still waiting for them to hand over our first cup of coffee — dark roast, if memory serves — of the day.) Surprise me.

Them: Will that be for here or to go?

Us: (Glancing at our watch) You know, it’s almost noon. What do you folks have for lunch?

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen