Opinion: Where not to drink coffee (on St. Maarten)

POSTED: 01/14/13 12:58 PM

The Fashion Cafe in Maho got a beating when a customer reported about its manager’s attitude to Jeff Bergers online newsletter St. Maarten and St. Martin Weekly News. Under the headline:
“The Bad Attitude is Free” the frustrated client had the following to say:
“I ordered coffee to go. Got an argument / attitude about what “leave room” means so I could get light coffee for my wife. When I told the waitress politely that I needed more room for cream, she started arguing with me and put some of the coffee from my cup back into her coffee urn, an uncommon and not particularly smart move.
When my wife sampled the coffee, she said it tasted awful and was full of grounds.
Decided to bring it back (it was 6 ounces of slop for $2), spilled some when I tripped and fell on the wet stairs to the restaurant. Nobody came to ask “Are you ok?” or “Can we help?” They stood behind the counter looking but did nothing.
The woman manager gave me a lot more lip when I asked for my money back — and she did nothing — no refund, no re-brewed coffee, only attitude a machete couldn’t cut.
In 35 years of visiting this island I have never found a more arrogant, uncaring, haughty, obnoxious person working at any restaurant. The coffee was garbage, the attitude was horrendous, no refund, no caring about customers, just pure attitude. If this were simply a server I would have walked away. But when I asked for the manager, she said I am the manager and at that second I knew I had to publish this story.
As always, where you go in SXM is totally your decision. We know where we will never go again when we want coffee.”

When we read these kinds of stories our first thought is: maybe the manager just had a bad hair day. Happens to a lot of people. Maybe the dog died, maybe the husband was found in bed with somebody he was not married to, maybe the tax inspectorate delivered a blow to the unreported income – anything is possible.
As some people like to say: you-know-what happens. (See that we don’t have to use obscene language to get our message across?). But whether you are working the funeral business or in a coffee shop, you are still working in the service industry. People expect decent service and they have enough headaches of their own. So don’t bother them with a bad attitude.

If a story like this leads to fewer customers at the Fashion Cafe, we’d say: fine, that serves these people right. Close the place for a week, read up on customer service (Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh [English pronunciation: /ˈʃeɪ/ “shay”] will definitely blow you away) and promise yourself to always treat customers the way Tony does. That’s the best way to run out of coffee instead of running out of customers.

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