If you know me, you know that I spend an inordinate amount of my time in coffee shops. You know that the internet and coffee are two things I must have in my day, akin to water and oxygen. I’ve spoken to doctors about it, and I apparently have a physiological need for the two, so there’s just no getting around it; I might as well embrace it.
My favorite place to get my fix of these two necessities of life is at The Coffee Shop, which is perhaps the most literal and appropriate name one could name their business. I’ve been coming here since moving to the Valley two and a half years ago, and while I don’t get to come as often as I used to, I make an effort to stop by a few times a week, even if just to say hello and grab a quick cup on the go. It’s where most my creative juices tend to flow best and the bulk of my writing has taken place.
It’s a good thing—in my opinion—to be involved in the community of which you surround yourself. One of the most important ways we can do this is by frequenting local establishments on a consistent basis, not only to support them, but to also build relationships with the business and its patrons. Becoming a regular is a rewarding thing—for the business, and for yourself. However, there’s a bit of an art to becoming a regular; it’s something that takes time and effort to hone in on and build.
How to become a regular:
- Be consistent. Show up. Don’t make it once a month; make it once a week, at least. It doesn’t mean you have to splurge every time you’re there. Maybe you just want a soft drink or coffee. That’s fine.
- Get to know the staff. Know their names. Ask them how they’re doing. If the place isn’t busy, have a conversation with them. I guarantee you this will pay dividends in the future, which is something I’ll get into more here in a bit.
- Know the other regulars. You’ll soon see it’s not just you who goes there on a consistent basis. Shared experiences, even with strangers, tend to lead to an understanding, and can even lead to a new relationship. You don’t have to approach everyone in the place, but give a knowing nod, or a quick “hello” here and there. You’ll probably see each other at random places elsewhere, and that’s when the awkward “we recognize each other but we haven’t really spoken before so I’m not sure how to navigate this scenario” moment happens. It’s a good ice breaker. In fact, this is partially how my current roommate and I came to be friends, as we were both regulars here, and had mutual friends who were also regulars that introduced us. The world is more connected than you realize. Take advantage of it.
- Tip well. If they offer the chance to leave a tip, leave a tip. And leave a darn good tip. None of that paltry 10% junk. Heck, sticking to 20% is still being a bit of a stickler. Don’t break out a calculator so you can get the exact percentage. Figure out the estimate in your head as to whatever 20% might be, and then give a little more. A dollar extra goes a long way, and regardless of how the service was, you’ll see it brighten someone’s day.
The benefits of being a regular:
- Perks. Do you even know the perks of being a regular, bro? I get free refills, sometimes entirely free drinks, and occasionally they’ll throw in a cupcake or two.
- Easy ordering and less waiting. I’m a creature of habit at times, so my baristas almost always know what I want. In fact, it’s a shock to their system when I get something else to drink, and like a white girl, they can’t even. Because they know what I want I sometimes don’t have to worry about waiting in the insanely long lines The Coffee Shop can have, which is a testament to how amazing this place is. I can’t put a number on how many times I’ve been standing at the back of the line and someone will bring out my drink. They know I’m good for it, and when the line dies down I’ll return and pay. Which brings me to my next point…
- Trust. I’ve forgotten my wallet a couple times, and it’s always a little embarrassing when I get up there and order, only to find out I don’t have my debit card. No worries, because the baristas will either give it to me for free (never something I expect or plan on), or let me pay it back later. Thankfully, I live just across the street from this place, so I’ll quickly return in a moment to pay them back. And add an extra large tip.
- The people watching. This is one of my favorite things to do, because I’m sort of creepy like that. I pick a spot in the back corner, do my work, and observe the world around me. It’s a fascinating look into humanity and life, and I get to be privy to a certain number of situations that will honestly teach me a lot about people, as well as myself. I’ve been able to see the beginning, progression, and ending to a number of relationships, all without so much as even knowing the names of some of those people. This allows me to create elaborate backstories for all kinds of things, developing a live action soap opera just for me. Again, it might sound a little creepy, but who are you to judge, buddy? Get off my back.
Find that place you like so much that you keep going back, and make an effort to go there. If you’re not convinced by now to become a regular somewhere, there’s nothing else I can do for you. You’re a lost cause. A disappointment to your mother and me.