Recently the ingenious government of this nation that will soon be Africa’s Singapore except better decided to shut down about a fifth of all businesses.
Those with connections or who managed to fly under the radar are still open.
So you are thinking, what a profiteering opportunity! They can grab all the customers off the other businesses in the meantime. It will take three to eight months for them to reopen – what could possibly go wrong?
As Einstein said, “The only two infinite things are the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.” And he said that as a genius living in Europe and then America, which is kind of the same frustration as that of a foreigner living in Africa.
So our two local cafes have closed down. They were pretty good. Frequently they forgot your order or got it wrong, but when it came it was usually decent coffee and it revived your spirits.
We searched for an alternative and sure enough, a couple of streets away there’s another, outdoor café. Perfect.
Now, I am neither a barista nor an expert of café management. I am not even very smart just in general. Nevertheless, here I offer some handy hints to the world’s café owners in the event that, due to such special circumstances as those described, a bunch of rich foreigners start visiting your establishment:
- Consistently have coffee. Being a café, your customers may expect that you have some available more than 30% of the time.
- If you don’t have coffee, don’t take your customers’ orders, disappear for twenty minutes, and then come back and tell them grouchily that there’s no coffee. Because you knew that there was no coffee right from the start. How could you not have known? It’s a café, and if you’re out of coffee that detail ought not be one that escapes your keen notice. Just tell the customers straight away that there’s no coffee and take it from there.
- If you missed points 1 and 2, never fear! There is still positive action that you can take. Go buy some coffee. This is putting money straight into your own pocket. Those rich foreigners, after two weeks, are really starting to wonder why you only have coffee every third day, and they will eventually give up.
- If for some reason you can’t manage to consistently offer coffee, have tea instead. No one except Americans wants to have Coke at ten o’clock in the morning.
- Wash the cups. Failing this, at least rinse them so that the customer cannot easily taste the previous user’s beverage.
- Don’t get bits of plastic in the coffee. I don’t know how the fuck you managed to do that. Were you throwing bits of the machine into the coffee? If so, stop it. Re-read the instructions. You will find that there is no mention of breaking bits off the machine off and throwing them in the coffee. I haven’t read an espresso machine instruction manual myself but I’m pretty sure about this one.
- Don’t snarl and sneer at us. We are not your enemies. We are trying to give you some of our money. You’re really poor, remember?
But hey, an important principle of educational psychology is positive reinforcement. So here’s what you’re doing right:
- There are tables and chairs.
- You usually take our orders within ten minutes.
- You normally take the cups away after customers leave.
So there you go, it’s not all bad news. But I think I’ll give up and just make my own coffee at work. I’ll see if I can avoid getting bits of plastic in it.