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phaelon56

You know you're drinking too much espresso when...

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I post this mostly in jest but because I just had a rather amusing experience. I typically drink one quad shot latte per day and if I'm drinking straight coffee, rather than espresso, rarely exceed two mugs per day. Sure.... I know I'm hooked and if I stop drinking it for awhile, which I do on occasion, I'll get a minor caffeine withdrawal headache on the first day of abstinence.

I suppose that the more significant fact is my devotion to the glorious bean. I talk about it, write about, ponder coffee and espresso related issues on a regular basis, and accept it as an integral part of my daily experience.

Despite the fact that I roast at home and make excellent espresso drinks in my kitchen, I stop at a favored local espresso café several times each week, in part to show my support and also because it's a part of my social ritual.. The combination of a busy schedule and some temporary financial impediments has restricted me to making and consuming drinks only at home for the past two weeks.

So.... Sunday afternoon I'm busy puttering in the kitchen and there's a knock at the door. I open it to find the smiling face of the espresso café owner, who hands me a stack of "free espresso drink" cards and says "We've missed you - is everything okay?".

I laughed because it's a bit like the local drug dealer giving you a free sample or two when they think you're contemplating entering a rehab but on further consideration... I was genuinely touched and felt it appropriate to share the tale here. It's only by chance that she even knows where I live (her sister lives in the neighborhood) but I was blown away by this act of kindness and caring. She may have surmised that my reasons for not appearing were in part financial but her actions went far above and beyond the call of duty.

I suppose this whole notion deserves a separate thread in General Food topics.... what has some restaurateur, grocer, café owner or other food/beverage person perhaps done for you as an an unsolicited act of kindness that startled you and affirmed your faith in people's fundamental goodness?

I'll start a separate thread there on the topic but felt that I should share here first.

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I don't think this fully counts but for dinner parties I usually go with the espresso pods because of the speed of preparation and ease of switching between caf/decaf. I like the Starbucks pods mostly because they are individually packaged and stay fresh for a surprisingly long time despite the expiration date.

I'm not a big patron of my local Starbucks partially because I've been locked into the FrancisFrancis/Illy plan for the last 12 months (I'm now free!!!--well, I will be as soon as I finish the 10 or so remaining cans), so the S/bx act of kindness may not be correlated to my spending or even the familiarity of my face.

Twice now, I've gone in and tried to buy a package of regular and a package of Decaf pods. When I took them to the counter, I pointed out that the packages were expired and asked if they had any fresh ones. Both times the answer was no and they just gave me the pods-no charge. I felt a little guilty because I knew they were OK, but the manager insisted and did not accept any money.

I guess I could count Illy too: they automatically cancelled my membership after the year was up.

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That is really quite wonderful. A personal touch that certainly, if nothing else did, won your loyalty to their business most likely for life.

Not that I'm implying that is the reason that she stopped by.

But its things like that, that make you feel included in a community of sorts, and makes it a special feel good community. And that makes you more likely to support the business.

I am so glad that she stopped by to check on you. I wish more businesses were more personal. Its not only nice, but its good for business.

Folks tend to be willing to pay more in a place that makes them comfortable, happy, and included. Its not just small business that can do that but larger ones as well, if they hire the right kind of people and have the right kind of business model.

My father does the grocery shopping for the house. Oh hell, all the shopping for that matter, the man has impeccible taste, and the shopping gene. He goes to the local gourmet market in Austin "Central Market."

Its not the closest grocery, and is certainly more expensive than the closer ones.

Last time I was home, I had the pleasure of shopping with him there.

He was greeted by name, by not less than three employees. I was shocked.

Geeeez Dad, how much time do you spend here??? But I was touched as well. They were obviously happy to see him, and he them. There was a rapport and that is obviously one thing that keeps him returning to the store, day after day, apparently :laugh::wub: . They go the extra mile for him. Dad is gregarious, yes, but I know it makes him feel good for the people there to take the time to greet him and talk to him, and actually be interested.

The company certainly has my loyalty now, even if they had it before due to their lovely food.

I also get good treatment at the Central Market in Dallas, even if they don't greet me by name :hmmm: Whenever I've had a question they take the time to answer it, and have a conversation, offer suggestions etc. I feel like I get VIP treatment even though they seem to treat all of their customers like that.

Anyway, I'm glad that your cafe' owner took the time to stop by, its a beautiful story that makes me feel good :biggrin:

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Yes - me too. My former employer had a similar experience but in a different vein that blew him away so much he still recounts the details to anyone who will listen, many years later. I'll post in the other thread once that gets started.

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He goes to the local gourmet market in Austin "Central Market."

Just another reason that I am happy to argue with anyone who disagrees that the Main Central Market in Austin is the Greatest Grocery Store on Earth.

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I think the making, selling, giving and receiving of food creates an immediate, intimate bond. There are so many instances: a waiter giving me mangoes for no apparent reason, a restaurant whose owner who likes to introduce everyone to everyone so it s a sort of a salon, the extra carrots and celery that get thrown into your vegetable back. Food, pleasure, community: a very natural blending.

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I work at the North Lamar Central Market : my job description is actually "Foodie" or Food Expert. Hence my name online.

I've been there over 8 years and have forged wonderful relationships with customers. I've seen customers pregnant...then with newborns...then with school aged kiddos. I've had a few customers who have passed on. One was a wonderful portrait artist whom I commissioned to do a chalk portrait of my daughter's dog for her birthday: she did it with great good humor and much talent. When I went to England, I brought a bag of treacle toffees back for an elderly customer who hadn't had them in 50 years, but had wistfully mentioned them in the course of a conversation. I brought canned passion fruit puree for another elderly customer from Australia because it had been years since she'd had it.

I just mention all this because my job has given me a fine sense of community that hathor talks about. And when the time comes that I no longer can work 40 hours a week pounding that cement floor, I'll revert once again to being a shopper, knowing that I'll probably spend at least an hour of every trip socializing with the grocers!

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