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Welcome to the Etiquette Excursion with Mrs. Mona Johnson

Mona Johnson | 3/16/2017, midnight

Going to a coffee shop for many of you is like a visit to your living room. You feel right at home, but you need to remember, you are not at home. There are a few manners you need to observe. These reminders by Maralee McKee will only make your visit more enjoyable.

  1. Know what you want before it’s your turn to order. Can’t decide? Step out of line, and allow others to go before you. People often stop into coffees shops in a hurry on their way to work or an appointment, and they need to get in and out fast.

  2. Have your method of payment out and ready when it’s your turn to order. This is for the same reasons as above.

  3. If your order is anything other than what’s on the menu, make sure to speak clearly and slowly enough that it can be written on the cup. If the barista asks for clarification or for you to repeat something, take it as a sign of good customer service. They want to make you exactly what you want!

  4. If you order two or more drinks, keep in mind that your drinks might not be ready until after those of the people behind you. That’s often because one person is often making your whole order and someone else is making the next person’s order. If you order three drinks, and the person behind you orders one beverage, theirs is probably going to be ready before yours. You aren’t being ignored or receiving inferior service. It’s just that a larger order takes longer to prepare.

  5. Names, even common ones, can be difficult to hear if the shop is busy and may be difficult to spell. Don’t take it personally if your name is incorrect. There are lot of ways to spell even common names. Take Sheri for example. Other correct forms include: Sherrie, Sherri, Sherry, and even Shery. No harm is meant, and unless you plan to become a regular, there’s no need to mention the mistake to the staff.

  6. If you’re on your cell phone while you order, place the person on the other end of the call on hold, and give the barista your full attention complete with “Hello!”, “Thank you!”, and any other common niceties. There’s a person behind that apron. People have feelings. People need validation that they’re worthy of your attention, especially since you came to them for something (coffee, in this case). Please don’t make them feel like an ATM by speaking your order with little or no eye contact and not giving them your full attention while ordering. Plus, if you’re talking on your phone and the team member needs to ask you a question for clarification, it’s difficult.

  7. Stand a few feet back from the pickup counter as you wait. When people gather around the counter, it makes it difficult, and dangerous, for those being called to reach around others for their hot coffee. Also, don’t use this area to add condiments to your drink. With the lid off our coffee, it’s easy for it to be bumped and spill on us or those near us.

  8. Check that your name is on the cup you take. All the same-sized drinks look alike, and the barista I interviewed said that every day several people walk out the door with someone else’s drink(s), leaving that customer waiting. When the customer speaks up that they never received what was ordered, the order gets made immediately. However, that backs up everyone else because a new order jumps in front of them, not to mention that there’s a coffee sitting there that is now wasted, and the person who went out the door with the wrong cup doesn’t have the right order either.

  9. Be conscious that you’re sharing space with others at the coffee station. Almost everyone stops by the stations with milk, sugar, napkins, stirrers, straws, and small trash receptacles, and space is at a premium. Quickly get what you want and need, smile, and make eye contact with those near you saying, “Good morning!”, “Excuse me!”, and “Thank you!” It’s a good way to spread a little good will.

  10. If you spill anything at the coffee counter (coffee, milk, sugar, even water), clean it up with a couple of napkins. You’re helping to protect the clothes of the next person. If you notice a large spill, let an associate know. During rush hours, it’s usually all hands on deck taking and making orders, so the station can get a little messy. (by Maralee McKee)

Join me weekly as I answer your questions and share ideas as we explore the journey to good manners! Send your questions or comments to the Inland Valley News, 2009

Porterfield Way, Suite C, Upland, CA 91786, e-mail to editor@inlandvalleynews.com or e-mail, msparksj@verizon.net.

Mona Johnson is the CEO of Personnel Best a consulting firm specializing in how to conduct effective meetings, teaching public speaking, team building, leadership development, microphone use, networking, organizational and self-awareness.