The biggest factor for why I like my job is always the people. The job itself could be a drag, difficult or tiring but it’s always mad better by the people that I work with. I have some amazing friends where I work already, but today as Hairy suggested, I’m going to talk to you about the regulars that come to the tea room.
It always fascinates me who comes back regularly, and I probably spend way too much time trying to figure out what sort of person they are and what they do, that means that they can come to a tea room on a weekly basis and not work.
As you might expect, we often get customers who must have retired. One of my favourites is a couple who come in about twice a week and always order the same thing (so much so that even I know it off by heart!). The lady is lovely and chatty, complains about the traffic and then asks after how I’m doing. The gent is a real gem, quiet but always joking with me about how I’m getting his order wrong. I know I’m not getting his order wrong!
Another of the regulars is a totally adorable grandson who always comes in with his grandparents. They don’t always arrive at the same time, but they always order the same thing – americano with cream, espresso and a latte. See? Sometimes he pops up and pays to stop the arguing at the end over who’s got the bill, and sometimes his grandad gets it.
We also get the oddbods. One that definitely stands out is a younger chap, slightly steampunky, who comes in about once a week and somehow always manages to sit on my section. Over the past few weeks I’ve got to know more about him – he’s a scout master and a geek so I get on well with him. Most of the others are a bit uncomfortable around him, but I think he’s sweet. He brings his son and a new person every time – clearly he’s got a thing for our tea rooms and is showing us off to everybody!
Another of our regular couples who seems to have sprung up fairly recently is a couple who always sit outside. Even in the cold snap we’ve been having! They sit outside and drink their tea for an hour or two. I think they’re scholars or something because I’ve seen them with papers and they look they’re marking. I think, anyway. I don’t think they were regular before I started, so it’s nice seeing them coming back for more.
One of the odder things that happens is when you get asked for a photo. It’s happened before, and I must say it always makes me uncomfortable. I’m never really okay with having my picture taken, and while I appreciated it yesterday because the gent who wanted the photo asked nicely and was doing it because I gave great service, I’d rather he’d just told my manager I was good.
I love getting to know all the regulars, and see the new regulars as they find out about us and start coming back. Since I’ve been there, I think I’ve seen the seeds sown for at least two new regular customers… A chap that I somehow always manage to interrupt when he’s already ordered who first came about a month ago but then has been in twice in the last week. Today I served a couple who had only come in for the first time yesterday and were back for more.
While I enjoy my job, it does have its downsides. I got burned today and only got thirty seconds to deal with it before I had to get back to work. Just to point out that wasn’t my manager’s fault, but simply the state of being when you’re a waitress. I often get asked to curtsey or do a spin because we look “cute” in our black and pinnies. As the first point of contact for our customers, you always have to be smiling, friendly and amenable. It’s not always easy to do, and quite often you will get it in the neck for something that isn’t your fault.
As an example, there is a lady who comes in and always orders the same thing. Tea, unbuttered toast with the butter and marmalade on the side. She sat on my section, but someone else took the order and got it wrong. I took out the (buttered) toast and got an earful of how wrong her order was. I took it back, got it sorted and suddenly all sweetness and light from said lady.
Working in a tea rooms is a strange, slightly bubble-ish place. Our customers are pretty varied, and could quite often fall on the “eccentric” side of weird. At least you can say this – it’s never boring working there!