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You get what you ask for / be true to your brand

Blog “What Would Susan Do” writes a great story about bad service at a coffee shop in NYC:

Customer: I’d like three espressos to go, please.

Barista: How far are you going with them?

Customer: Huh?

Barista: The espressos might get cold on the way.  How far are you going?

Customer:  Uh, I dunno – maybe 4 or 5 blocks?  They’re for people at my office.

Barista: Sorry, too far.  They won’t be any good when you arrive.  I refuse your order.

Customer: Is this a joke?

Barista:  You heard me.

Bewildered, the man man left Grumpy’s empty-handed.

As a fan of amazing customer service, I hate this.

But as a fan of great branding …

The place is called Cafe Grumpy. If you’re going to be grumpy, do it well! They also ban laptops and headphones at some locations.

They are being true to their brand. It’s not a strategy I would choose, but this story illustrates one of the great rules of word of mouth marketing: Be interesting, or be invisible.

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  1. John-Boy September 11, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    I saw one on TV where at a restaurant Crying Babies are verboten.
    Silent ones are kinda OK but, if they start to cry you MUST leave immediately.

  2. Susan Chimonas September 13, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Hi Andy – Thanks for linking to my story. Glad you enjoyed it! At Cafe Grumpy, grumpiness is a virtue. Makes me wonder: Is reverse psychology common in branding? And how often does it work? The classic example that springs to mind is a snooty French restaurant: When the waiters treat you with disdain, you assume the food must be fantastic, or else the joint would be out of business. Personally, I prefer not to pay for this kind of treatment, but there are successful places like this, no?

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