My latest from the front line of rejection therapy? It’s coffee related. Again. Even my self-help life is very limited..
Anyway, on Monday I was in my local coffee shop and asked for a free coffee. Here’s what happened.
I went up to the till.
‘Do you want to pay?’ said lovely owner.
‘Not really,’ I said, with a smile. ‘Can I have it for free?’
Owner: ha ha!
Me: ‘No really, can I have it for free?’
Owner (smiling): ha ha!
Me: ‘So I CAN’T have it for free?’
Owner (still smiling but now it’s a sad, tired smile): It helps if you pay. We’re very quiet today..
We both look forlornly at the semi deserted premises – with three people hunched over their laptops with empty cups, not drinking or eating a thing.
Me: Is it the rain, do you think? Why is it so quiet?
Owner: I don’t know. Maybe. Things are hard, the rents are going up, we’re not sure how much longer we can stay open…
Me: Oh no!!
We then have a very depressing conversation about how Costa has driven up rents in the area and how it’s almost impossible for independents to compete. I end up feeling so worried for them I leave a £1 tip for my £1.60 coffee. As I left I realised how skilfully he handled that conversation, he didn’t actually say no and I ended up paying almost double. Good for him! There’s hope his business yet!
But in the name of fairness I went across the road to said Costa and asked them for a free coffee.
Me: I had one of those cards with the stamps on to get a free coffee but I lost it, could I have a free coffee anyway?
Teenager behind the counter, perfectly pleasant: We don’t do those cards anymore so no, sorry.
Me: No worries.
Her: Would you like to buy a coffee?
Me: No, thanks.
I flounce out. Take that Big Business! I’m fighting for the man! Or against the man?! I never really understand those phrases…
But my point was made. Sort of. Not really.
Thing is, I’m now typing this, four days later, in a Costa… I feel too embarrassed to go back to my regular place. I’m an idiot.