Coffeeshop Etiquette 101


I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to camp out in a coffeeshop to get some work done, either before or after meetings, due to travel, or because I just want a change of scenery.

I have pretty much seen and heard it all, over the years and this morning’s adventures have prompted me to post a quick, albeit not exclusive, list of coffee shop etiquette – the do’s and don’t do’s when you’re working from a public space.

Feel free to add to this list, or debate items on this list.

  1. Learn the difference between your phone’s speaker and it’s regular headset.  The gentleman beside me is unaware that he is using his speaker, and has the phone right up to his ear, has the volume very high, and is telling the person he is speaking to that he cannot hear him.  We all hear everything about the conversation and it’s REALLY loud.
  2. If you’re going to watch videos on your cell phone or laptop, invest in a pair of headphones.  Nobody wants to hear whatever you are listening to – music, news, videogame sounds, etc.
  3. If you’re holding a meeting with the rest of your office in, say, the Starbucks I am currently sitting in, trashing your competition and berating a staff member might not be the most professional approach.
  4. If you’re working in a coffee shop and it’s really packed and you’ve been nursing the cheapest drink for 5 hours, it might be time to move on…  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished my drink, then packed up earlier than I had planned because paying customers need space.  If I’m going to stay longer, I go back and buy food and another drink (although at Starbucks the additional drink is free, so I can buy better food… yum).
  5. Like being on an airplane, there are certain seats which have responsibilities attached, so if you’re sitting near one of the few outlets, be prepared to politely engage people who really need that free jack in order to meet a deadline or get through their morning.  Don’t be a grumpy outlet ogre!
  6. Be super respectful to the staff if you’ve been to a particular location more than once.  They know you, they recognize you, so don’t abuse your comfort level there.  Shake things up, try foods or drinks they recommend every now and then.  Remember, they control the on/off switch to the WiFi.
  7. If you’re not sure, ask.  I’ve come to many coffee shops and asked if it’s okay if I crash for a few hours, and I’ve asked them how long I can stay, and I have even told them upfront that if it gets busy, I’ll leave, or they can come tell me it’s busy and I’ll go.
  8. Make sure your sound is off on your laptop if you have a headset on your phone.  There is nothing worse than someone listening to music or having a conversation on their phone while their laptop is chirping away without their knowledge.
  9. Smile.  A smile goes a LONG way these days…
  10. Don’t make a mess, and be helpful, and you’ll be a welcomed customer for a very long time.
  11. It might go without saying, but for some people this is a real problem, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone to the washroom only to find the person / people before me had not flushed the toilet… UGH.  I can only assume these people also do not wipe themselves or wash their hands, because I teach my children to ALWAYS flush the toilet and wash their hands.  If they don’t want to touch the handle they can use paper towel or their foot to flush, then always wash and watch the door handle on the way out.
  12. If there are few seating options, taking a table for 4, or the handicapped seating is fine, unless there are people in need of those spaces.  Then you absolutely need to move or pack up and leave.  There is no reason to stay unless you are willing to share your space, which is absolutely a nice thing to do.  Sharing is, after all, caring.
  13.  Remember that as loud as it may seem in a coffee shop, with the music and coffee machine noises, it’s equally as loud for the person on the other end of the phone.  Before you change your voicemail, or make that critical business call, or job interview call, to step outside where it is quiet.  (To the kid who had a hard time on his phone interview last week, you really did lose out on that opportunity because you took your call in the washroom for 20 minutes, then flushed the toilet mid-conversation.  They totally heard and that lack of judgement blew it for you.  It was not because they didn’t like the answers to your questions… Trust me on that!

 

Happy to hear your thoughts and stories, as I move through my morning here in my local Starbucks where I keep my headphones on but am listening to everyone and everything…

Starbucks NEW Pumpkin Spice Latte Arriving September 2015. Updated.


My coffee sources tell me that Starbucks is set to roll out the new and improved Pumpkin Spice Latte in September 2015.

In an effort to rid their drinks of artificial ingredients and artificial flavors (as they do in Europe), Starbucks has reinvented the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with natural ingredients, without artificial caramel coloring but with real pumpkin.

Hard to believe that it has already been 12-years since Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My understanding was that he Pumpkin Spice Latte was not a slamdunk choice by Starbucks and that that they had tested an “orange cream” creation (yum) and when they settled on the “Pumpkin” drink for the fall, they were leaning towards using the name “Fall Harvest Latte” instead.

Word on the street is that when Starbucks tested the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” in stores they found out very quickly that their customers loved it and they knew it was going to be a regular fall / winter drink for the company.

Up until recently, you could not even purchase the Pumpkin Spice Latte syrup in store or online, but one quick peek of the starbucks online store at starbucks.ca/store tells me it is available in wide circulation.

As for the new, revamped, Pumpkin Spice Latte… Real pumpkin.  Real spices.  It’s coming! Real soon.


Update:

So I went to Starbucks, tried the drink and I thought it was fantastic.  Its even better than the “original” one which I had always found to be a bit chemically.  The new Pumpkin Spice Latte is not overly sweet, and no where near too pumpkin-y.

It was satisfying and really does hit the spot as the weather turns cooler.

Monday Musings and More


Monday Musings and More

Exercise:

So my wife found a 21-day exercise program for us to do.  My first question to her was, “will there be fat people in the video?”, because I am not doing any exercise program where every person is 20-years-old, has 1% body fat and muscles where I didn’t know muscles could be.  It is those workouts where I feel my age and more afterwards.

After one workout, I have to say that I can still move, and yes, there was a “less-fit” person in the video.

If you have never seen me, I have to explain that I am a fairly big guy, bone-wise, and I hide my weight well considering how much I actually weigh, probably because I’m active – play ball-hockey in a league at least once a week – and I try to get active a couple more times per week.

In fact, I hide my weight so well that I always win in a guess-your-weight contest, the last couple of times the “expert” was off by 70lbs. I even gave him a second and third chance but he just got more and more upset, then was embarrassed once I stepped on the scale… Oops.

 

Sports:

Does NYY DH A-Rod deserve to be an all-star? No, but I have to say that I was sure I would NEVER be able to forgive this cheater for being such an arrogant asshole while cheater the entire time, but with all the crap the Yankees heaped on him, I actually feel that if he is clean, he has worked very hard to earn his playing time and I’m actually kind of rooting for him.

TNA / Impact Wrestling:
Because of the dumbass decision to have their program on The Fight Network, one of few stations we do not get in our massive cable package, I have to resort to watching it on YouTube.  The YouTube broadcasts are worse than awful, the program is still very confusing and with rumours of wrestlers leaving en mass, I’m watching less and less.

Even worse is Josh Matthews pretending to be at the event when we all know the show is taped and the commentary is being recorded after, but why does it look like he’s in a bee hive and does it sound like he has his hand over his mouth when he is speaking.

Again, I’m thrilled that Mike Tenay is not on these shows, but the quality of these broadcasts make Impact look more like Ring of Honor.

Why can’t TNA just finally drop the TNA, merge with a legit brand or bring back a real name and get back to basics. Fewer wrestlers, more stories, and get fans excited about the brand again rather than having us rush to be watch the death of the show.

Before it’s too late…

 

Coffee:
The Second Cup’s Butter Pecan coffee might just be one of the best coffee’s available. It’s fantastic, and requires less sugar than other coffees.

It was nice to see my new favourite coffee company, Javaworks, is the official coffee supplier for one of our favourite breakfast joints, Steve’s on Bathurst Street, just north of Wilson Avenue, in Toronto. The coffee there is always delicious, and now I know why!

 

The Urban Daddy:
If you’re looking to be more involved in The Urban Daddy, now might just be your chance! I’m looking to get back blogging on a more frequent timetable and to have some time to address the pitches and requests which come my way daily.

I cannot get to them all, and as of right now, I’m giving preference to the local (Toronto and surrounding area) ones.
If you are interested in writing a post her and there, or attending an event on behalf of The Urban Daddy, and then writing up a post, with some pictures, please let me know by email to: realurbandaddy@gmail.com

I’m not just looking for one person, to be honest, the more the merrier.

 

Children:
With 2 of my 3 kids away at sleepover camp, I have found that the 3rd and youngest really seems to be growing up fast!

I also cannot believe how much she talks! It seems like it’s been non-stop and while I felt this way last year, I find this year is even more tiring.

Anyone else have similar experiences?

 

Tax:
As many long-time readers will be aware, I’ve been operating a tax consulting business for a few years now, and I thought it might be interesting to point out in a parenting / family blog, that the most common question asked of me this past week had to do with divorce.

More specifically, what happens when a husband and wife are in the process of divorcing and the husband either has not filed, nor disclosed his accurate income to the courts. Is there any recourse on the wife’s side, or should the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) be made aware of this?

Furthermore, if the husband has a debt owing to the CRA, can the CRA take actions against the soon-to-be ex-wife and / or seize and sell the house.

The answer is… Maybe.

It depends on the details and I’m more than happy to listen to a situation and provide my thoughts.

My email is info@intaxicating.ca

Starbucks Secret Menu Drink of the Day: Roasted Chestnut.


I came across a fantastic website devoted to the Secret Menu at Starbucks.  I too have an interest in the Secret Menu possibilities at Starbucks and have written about it, here.

A drink that caught my eye is called the Roasted ChestnutRoasted Chestnut Starbucks

Here is the recipe:

  • Start by ordering a Hazelnut Macchiato
  • Add toffee nut syrup (1 pump for a tall drink, 1 1/2 pumps for a grande, and 2 pumps for a venti)
  • Add extra hazelnut syrup (1 pump for a tall, 1 1/2 pumps for a grande, and 2 pumps for a venti)
  • Add white chocolate mocha syrup (1/2 a pump for a tall and for a grande drink or, 1 pump for a venti drink)
  • Top with spiced whipped cream and hazelnut drizzle

Drink.

Some important notes to keep in mind when ordering a drink from the secret menu:

1.  Make sure you know the recipe of the drink you would like to order and not just the name.

2. Depending on what drink you’re ordering and what add-ins there are, be prepared for extra costs.

3.  Paying with a registered Starbucks card or with the Starbucks mobile app will earn you stars towards free rewards.

4.  Savour every sip

5.  Come back and post your thoughts here!

What are your favourite Starbucks drinks?

How my 1 hour reprieve from Parenting was Ruined at Starbucks.


There really is nothing worse than having only a few precious minutes of kid-free time – today’s was to have been spent at Starbucks Canada while the kids were in a program – and it’s ruined by someone taking their time doing something very simple… Like ordering a cup of coffee.

Crazy, eh?

I dropped the kids off at their program, then headed over for a cup of coffee and for a sanity break at the closest Starbucks.  I had 55 minutes now, and I just wanted my drink and to sit down and get to work.  I had my laptop and there was only one guy in line in front of me.  He was already ordering when I settled in behind him in line.  I figured I was a minute or two away from my coffee.  Little did I know it would be almost 15 minutes later before I had my drink…

It was so bad that once he realized he was entitled to a free drink, paused to figure out what to order and after what seemed like 2 minutes, he ordered a venti (huge) triple-quad, half-caf…. something, something, something… That drink order was as long as the wait, and of course, as barista repeated the drink back to him, she made a mistake and he went through his entire order all over again to make sure she understood.

Yawn.

Then once he was finished – 8 minutes later – and he had to pay for his drink, he decided he needed a snack, so he walked over to the window and thought about that, before ordering the food.

Now came time to pay.

Of course, he had not taken out his card to pay!!! He searched high and low for his wallet, but could not find it.  Then he decided he was going to pay through his phone, which he had to retrieve, turn on, open the app, load what ever the %^$^ he needed to load only to find out there was not enough money on his phone to pay.

So back to his backpack he went and this time he produced a debit card.

He paid (no tip) and then turned and smiled to me.

I waited 12 minutes for him to order, and pay, and he smiled and me.

So I smiled back.

Said good morning.

Walked up to the cash, ordered a grande Americano with a pump of mocha and a pump of peppermint and I knew that in a mere minute I would be enjoying a delicious drink.

It’s bad karma to be an asshole, plus it’s a lot of work.

My hour of freedom was now down to 35 minutes.

Sigh.

Have a great day everyone!!!

The Urban Daddy