When I Own a Coffee Shop

I resolve that:

  1. I will not give my shop a name that sounds like a lingerie store.
  2. I will not attempt to call a customer by name unless I actually know it.
  3. If compelled to call my customers by name, I will teach my staff phonetic notation.
  4. I will investigate whether a theme of linguistics is feasible.
  5. If it is going to take more than 10 minutes to make a coffee, I will let my customers sit down.
  6. I will not call anything with skim milk in it “skinny”. I will accept suggestions for alternative appellations.
  7. I will not permit my staff to ask customers how to make a latte.
  8. I will consider having as my logo a giant coffee ring styled a la “The Ring” but ultimately reject the idea.
  9. Pink marshmallows will be available only on request.
  10. I will keep a dictionary at the counter for resolving arguments.
  11. When people ask for a “small” coffee, I will not passive-aggressively pretend to assume they meant a small bucket just because I don’t call my smallest size “small”.
  12. Tea will cost less than coffee unless it actually contains gold leaf. Particularly if I use teabags.
  13. I will not use teabags.
  14. I will occasionally permit performing arts students to perform low-key unannounced dramas in the shop.
  15. I might have a samovar.
  16. I will not skimp.
  17. I will encourage customers to leave and take secondhand books. Penguins, for visual preference, but I will probably be unable to stop myself seeding the bookcase with speculative fiction and Heyers with inoffensive cover art.
  18. I will not offer insulated souvenir take away travelling mugs unless that is the look the coffee shop is going for.
  19. I will decorate the walls with framed notes and sketches in biro on the backs of napkins, possibly also completed crosswords.
  20. I will consider offering bookings for “coffee parties” for women who are going to have a party but won’t eat anything because all the guests are on diets. Although it would save everyone money, I will dismiss this idea as mean and mocking, but I will still tell people I considered it.
  21. If I have chess boards, I will also offer backgammon and Connect4.
  22. But word games would be even better. There could be two jars for a continuous game of 1 Noun 1 Adjective (or similar styled games), but would have to monitor for abuse.
  23. If there is a stuffed raven over the door, neither I nor my staff will acknowledge its existence.
  24. I might have a notice board where people can leave messages, but this could prove unwieldy. It could be a board where people add to a continuous doodling artwork.
  25. I will not serve prepackaged food in its original packaging.
  26. I will consider hosting life-drawing sessions of the draped figure.
  27. Chai and hot chocolate will be accompanied by elaborate rituals and implements.
  28. Table size will be proportionate to newspaper size.
  29. I will call my sizes “small”, “medium” and “large”.
  30. If I must give my sizes proper names, they will not be cutely thematic. They will be disturbing.
  31. Until such time as I can think of disturbing names for coffee sizes, I will observe #29.
  32. *If* I wrap paper napkins around the silverwear I will not (a) use superglue or (b) give them to costumers still damp and disintegrating.
  33. If I cannot prevent my staff putting the serviettes between cup and saucer, I will at least make sure my clients have access to dry alternatives.
  34. I will serve my coffees with miniature biscuits for free.
  35. I will not investigate blocking mobile reception in my store, but in the case of particularly loud or obnoxious calls I may cue staff and regular customers to react with resounding silence, glares, commentary or dance moves as seems appropriate.
  36. I will not cover my products with plastic cling-wrap while the store is open.
  37. I will not put decontextualised “inspirational” quotes on my menus, walls, cups, serviettes, whiteboards, blackboards or other equipment.
  38. I may put decontextualised quotes on any of the above if when extracted from their context they make no sense and are probably only inspirational in the way a Rohrshach inkblot is representational . E.g., “With the soup was a popkin” – Stephen King.
  39. I will not pretentiously call my products by their own name in languages which neither my customers nor I speak.
  40. I will offer eat-in customers the option of real mugs, cups, glasses, plates and cutlery. The latte glasses will be tall and ornate and have handles.
  41. I will understand the key word in #39 is “pretentiously” which, in coffee shops, means “French or Italian” and will therefore feel free to name my products in Latin, Inuit, Basque or Pitjantjatjarra where comparable concepts exist in those languages.

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