A No-Go for a Cup of Joe

Set amidst the wide expanse of the Argentine pampa, the sleepy town of Juan N. Fernández – population 3,000 – lies just 50 miles (80 km) north of Necochea. Early this afternoon, on a blustery, chilly, autumn day, I piled into a bus with my fellow singers from the Coro Alta Mira to entertain some of the residents at an old folks' home in Fernández.

We arrived in town roughly 45 minutes before we were scheduled to perform, so we decided to grab a cup of joe at a Coffee cup by Ballistik Coffee Boy, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons license]nondescript coffee shop on the corner, not far from the plaza.

A small contingent from our group of 20 entered the café to investigate, with hopes of sitting down to a pleasant cup of steaming coffee to drive away the cold. The establishment's lone patron, a diminutive, quirky-looking man, sat at a table near the door, and the sound of our footsteps echoed through the otherwise empty coffee shop.

A young woman immediately approached us, and the leader of our group greeted her and stated our intention to order a round of coffees. With an unapologetic smile, the employee said, "Oh, sorry, but I just turned off the coffeemaker."

Allow me to make it clear that with our potential order of 20 cups of coffee, this small-town café stood to pull in more cash in half an hour than it probably makes in the entire day, yet the lazy server couldn't be bothered to turn the coffeemaker back on at a coffee shop.

Just an example of Argentine customer service and business savvy at its finest…

[Photo credit: Ballistik Coffee Boy]

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