by Richie Frieman
The other day I experienced a rather unique episode. I went to a non-Starbucks coffee shop and accidentally used "Starbucks lingo" when ordering a drink. I asked for a "mild" drink, thinking that was universal language for a "light roast."
However, upon hearing this, the gal behind the counter reacted as though I offended her and her entire family with the foulest of insults. After apologizing, I told her that I was under the impression that "mild" and "light roast" were synonymous. She very gruffly told me I was wrong.
Then, when I was a penny short, I asked if she happend to have a penny -- as in the "give one, use one" box usually kept on the side of the register -- which would allow me to use exact change and not break another dollar (I had $2.52 and it was $2.53). Well, as you could guess, assisting me in any way was not an option for her. Not cool.
After I paid for my drink, I began to rewind this whole situation in my head. Was I wrong to refer to the coffee roast as "mild"? Maybe...but I'll chalk that up to an honest mistake. Should I have not asked for the penny? Maybe...but really, a penny? They're practically insignificant in the world of money.
So, here's what I took away from this experience: There's a lot to be said about the ability to keep your cool in awkward and rude situations. Here was an example of someone overreacting to something that in reality is totally innocuous. Part of me wanted to let her know how ridiculous she was being and the other part of me knew that it was my job to be the better person and keep my cool when confronted by someone who was obviously not in the best of moods.
In the end, it was a small event in my day and nothing to get bent out of shape over. Still, it was a good reminder that the high road is always the path best traveled. Cheers to that!
Impolite barista photo from Getty Images