I encountered a strange situation last week that I can honestly say I’ve never experienced before. I was making my way to work early in the morning and as I like doing on the odd occasion, I decided to go through a local eatery for a take-out coffee. For the most part, I’m partial to chugging a quick energy drink in the morning and no, don’t feel the need to fill my comments section on that! Who am I kidding? No one EVER fills my comment section. But I digress…
Since I start my morning with a can and actually have my own coffee machine at the office, I usually don’t indulge in take out coffee. Since I don’t like getting sued and I don’t need it reaching the wrong ears, I won’t name the location I attended but will simply point out that it’s a place whose primary focus is coffee. ‘Nuff said. As I mentioned, I only do this once a month or so when I’m feeling that my morning could use an added pick-me-up to get me started.
I pulled up to the drive-thru lane and was extremely pleased to see that there was only one other vehicle at the speaker. I didn’t see a line-up at the window, inciting me to believe I would have a quick, seamless experience and be able to make my way to the office without incident. Although very little that happens in the world surprises me anymore, I have to admit that the interaction with the speaker employee that ensued left me a bit taken aback.
I placed my order, which is about as simple as it gets. I ordered a medium coffee with two sweeteners. The employee’s response was to provide the total and to ask me to “Please drive up!” I loudly and clearly said thank you, as is my habit and custom. Politeness and respect cost nothing, and thanking someone who is serving you your beverage can usually go a long way towards potentially adding a bit of positivity in their day. Except in this case. In this case, it had the opposite effect.
The employee came back on the speaker and asked if I needed to order something else. I had started rolling by that point and jammed the brakes and explained that no, I was simply saying thank you. This person went on to say that it wasn’t necessary to say thank you and that speaking AFTER they say “please drive up” triggers them to assume the next order is at the speaker. I’m not sure I understood that logic, either when it happened or even now. Since I had him on the speaker, I explained that I was simply trying to be polite and showing respect to someone working towards providing me with my beverage.
I got no response to that, so I drove up to the window. I was perplexed. Confused beyond reason. I started looking around for television cameras because I assumed I was on some sort of prank show… I have occasionally been called out for neglecting to say thank you when I likely should have. Never in my LIFE have I had someone take me to take on actually SAYING thank you. Not wanting to create unnecessary conflicts and simply wanting my coffee, I didn’t plan on addressing this issue at the window. After all, I don‘t know this person. Perhaps they’re having a bad morning, themselves. Maybe it’s simply their personality. Maybe, just maybe, they subscribe to an abstract belief that having someone thank them is offensive. Who knows? It’s 2022, people!
I had someone different at the window and as I mentioned, I had no plans on addressing the matter. I simply paid for my coffee and went on my way. It left me with a strange feeling. I try to start my mornings off on a positive note so that it sets the tone for the remainder. This doesn’t always work, but politeness and respect plays a role in that. But if someone had told me that this type of response COULD happen, I likely would have laughed at the absurdity of it. telling someone NOT to say thank you? Strange, indeed. But in a world where people eat laundry detergent pods and snort condoms on a dare, I suppose I really should stop being surprised at the things I see. ☯️