Last week, Common Ground, a great little independent coffeeshop up the street, received a letter from someone saying that they probably won't be returning to their establishment because the tattooed and dreadlocked young women were blasting music.
The letter goes on to say that music in a coffeeshop should be "unobstrusive", suggesting that they play classical music and save the loud stuff for "bars and student hang outs." What if someone wanted to "have a chat or read," hmmm?
You should go read the letter. They have it hanging on the wall, and there's a pen hung by it so you can respond to the letter. It's signed (no last name) but there was no return address.
A customer at the CG pointed out, "Some people just feel that every place they go to must cater to them." That's what they mean by the customer is always right, right? As a street of mostly independent businesses, all screaming their own personalities, we'd be nowhere if we became as bland as a mall. And yet, so many people really do seem to want sanitized sameness, where nothing and no one out of the ordinary will disturb them from their own little world.
All the responses written around the letter from the CG clientele are great, whether they're crude venting (someone drew a little penis on it) or thoughtful comments. It's like a message board of old. And overwhelmingly for Common Ground to stay the course.
And speaking of individuality in business and a healthy customer service attitude click on Kottke's musings on Shopsin's and their policy on parties of five:
It doesn't matter if one of you
offers to leave or if
you say you could split into
a party of three and a party of two
or if the five of you come back tomorrow
in Richard Nixon masks and try to pretend
that you don't know each other
It won't work: You're a party of five
even if you're a beloved regular
Even if the place is empty
Even if you bring logic to bear
Even if you're a tackle for the Chicago Bears
it won't work
You're a party of five
You will always be a party of five
Ahundred blocks from here
a hundred years from now
you will still be a party of five