Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Where everybody knows my name, sort of

Pledge drive continues in the public radio wing of 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters. This morning, things went fast and furious, which -- in general -- is a very good thing. (For example, pledge drive dollars pay my salary.) But it was problematic in one respect: I wasn't on the air this morning, which meant that by the time I got to work, the pledge room breakfast was already consumed by the roomful of busy volunteers on hand to answer the phones.

Again, that's not necessarily a problem. The volunteers deserve the coffee more than I do, if only because they were here at 6:00 a.m., while I was still an hour and a half away from hitting the snooze bar - for the first time. (Ah, the virtues of living six minutes from work.) But the depletion of food resources in Public Radioland made me head back out to forage for coffee and a muffin, lest my breakfast consist of Dr. Bold (the Albertson's Dr Pepper rip-off) and Red Vines, known affectionately around Pledge Central as "Ghetto Twizzlers".

I have a favorite coffee place in town. I like it because it's one of the few coffee shops around the community where buying coffee doesn't feel like a political statement. We have our Coffee-and-Vegan-Cuisine place, our College Student Coffee Hangout, our Mostly Just Bicyclists and Hikers Wearing Expensive Clothes coffee shop, and our various drive thru places that mostly cater to high school students who can drink mochas at 8:30 p.m. and not be kept awake for the next 36 hours. Oh, and of course, the 37 Starbucks outlets.

The place I go once or twice a week basically serves coffee and pastries. And they know me -- well enough, in fact, that I get the Unadvertised Regular Customer Discount on my frozen, chocolate-intensive coffee beverage. Plus, I get the Nonexistent Large Size drink, as well.

At least, some of them know me well enough. Being a coffee place, the counter staff comes and goes. A few of them have been around for the past three or four years. They're the ones that actually notice me parking out front and often have my drink made by the time I'm inside. (They don't actually yell, "Norm!" when I come in, but the effect is similar. Plus, my name's not Norm.) But a few of the counter folks - while they might have seen me enough times to guess at my order - aren't familiar with the Unadvertised Regular Customer Discount and the Nonexistent Large Size, which leaves me with a slightly overpriced, regular sized drink, which is okay, but not the coffee-drinking experience that makes me a regular.

This leaves me wondering what to do - do I motion the new counter people aside and, out of the earshot of other customers, whisper confidentially that I normally get a larger, less-expensive drink? Do I feign ignorance and just ask for it in a larger cup? Ideally, I'd get a schedule of when they're breaking in new coffee artistes and just show up so that the Unadvertised Regular Customer Discount and the Nonexistent Large Size become part of their training.

Of course, Benjamin Franklin probably had a maxim for just such a quandry - something along the lines of "Beggars shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth". But then again, I never bought a $4.50 coffee at a Ben Franklin store, either.

1 comment:

Carol Davidson said...

Just tell them if they pledge to give you the larger cup, they get their choice of CDs of either the jazz pianist collection or the folk singers you've never heard of boxed gift set.