So it's New Year's Day and you want to go out for coffee. Perhaps some breakfast. Well have no fear, I am here to tell you all you need to know about correct cafe etiquette for the day after the biggest night of the year (even if you didn't think you needed or wanted to know).
1. Be hungover. Hungover customers are the best because they are too busy feeling like they are really and truly dying and going over the terrible things they did the night before to care how long their coffees take or that their food isn't actually what they ordered.
2. Questions, special requests and comments are all welcome as long as you remember one thing: KEEP THEM SIMPLE. We are tired, most of us were out the previous night, some of us are still rocking our 'town' outfits. We are nowhere near the right head-space to deal with complex meal changes or in depth complaints. In fact...
3. Don't even bother complaining. Quite frankly, nobody cares. You'll get a few "Oh, I'm so sorry's" and some apologetic smiles but that's probably as far as it will go. We will check on your meal for you but it will always be "only five minutes away", and when it isn't, we will avoid eye contact with you until you have left the building.
4. Conversation with us is likely to be un-enthralling at best, unintelligible at worst. It is the end of one of the busiest weeks of the year in hospitality and also the day after the biggest night. If all you need are smiles and head-nods in response to your stories, you're in the right place.
5. Don't be noisy. And probably leave energetic little mini-humans at home. Most of the time we smile understandingly when your kid runs into us as we are delivering hot coffee or balancing stacks of dishes on our arms. Today we won't.
6. When you order your coffees, as you invariably will (new year's day and all) just get a flat white. Or a tea. Or if you have to get something else, try to convince the other members of your group to have "whatever she's having". Because there really is nothing worse than a docket for five coffees that goes something like... a very hot latte, a soy flat white, a skinny decaf cappucino, a half strength soy mocha and a large long black with a little hot milk on the side. This is annoying at any time of the day but especially at five in the afternoon. If you bring this order to the counter at five in the afternoon on new year's day...
7. Be prepared for the DEATH STARE. This is the look- and you will recognise it if you see it- that rests briefly on you before it passes between waitresses and it basically means 'Seriously? Get out. Just get out. I'm not doing that, you're a jerk, I hate this job.' We don't really hate this job. But we are cleaning up and it is new year's day and now we have to dirty a whole bunch of milk jugs and all we really want to do is curl up in the corner and ignore everybody.
8. And actually if you come in at five in the afternoon and want to order a coffee? The best coffee you can order? It's a bottle of water. You will be rewarded with smiles of gratitude and farewells dripping with relief if all you want is a bottle of water.
9. But mostly? Just remember that we are people too, we make mistakes, and we like it when you are nice to us. We really like it when you are nice to us.
So there you have it. What to do in a cafe on new year's day if you want us all to like you, brought to you by a veteran waitress who spent six hours of the first day of 2015 pouring love hearts into flat whites. Pop this someplace safe to use in 364 days.
Happy twenty fifteen!