There’s a little coffee shop close to where I work. Whereas I didn’t stop in there every day, I did pick up one of their lovely macchiatos (the Italian kind, not the ones with caramel flavoring) more frequently than I should.
Did you notice the past tense in the last sentence? I haven’t been in that shop for 6 months. I’m sure the coffee is just as good but. . .
One morning I didn’t recognize the barista. Why should I? They change their shifts frequently. When I placed my order she requested my name. That had never happened before and I asked her why she needed it. Her reply: That’s our procedure so we can announce when your drink is ready. Now, can I have your name?
Well, I see no reason why my name should be broadcast and told her I’d watch for the drink. Her reply: No. I need your name. It’s our procedure.
Interestingly enough, it had not been the procedure all the other times I’d stopped by. But that’s neither here nor there. I said, “Perhaps you can make an exception.”
Her reply: No. It’s our procedure and, besides, we’re being audited. Your name?
I suppose I shouldn’t have but I said, “Rumpelstiltskin.” And she asked me to spell it. And laboriously wrote it on the side of the cup, chanting each letter loudly, while the line grew behind me. Suddenly I was embarrassed and slunk off to get my drink.
I haven’t been in since. The whole episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Tembua is an ISO 9001-certified company which means we have procedures for every business interaction. But if my staff every uses those procedures to drive away a customer, they’re fired.
End note: The person pulling the espresso shots that day took one look at my cup with the long name on it and announced, “Small macchiato.”