Austin Simms, the owner of the CUPS Coffee & Tea cafe in Roanoke, Virginia, was sick and tired of serving rude customers.
So the owner decided to put up a little sign, to help some of his customers with their manners.
The sign indicated that the more impolite they are, the more they will have to pay.
The shop’s sandwich board reads:
“One small coffee” $5.00 “One small coffee, please” $3.00 “Hello, I’d like one small coffee please.” $1.75
As you can see, each phrase dictates what price a customer will have to pay, with the most polite expression earning the lowest price.
To be fair, many of us are barely awake when we’re getting our morning coffee, that first cup of java for most of us is the very thing we need to wake up our brains.
However, it’s also easy for some of us to forget that we are being served by an actual human being, and not some faceless order taking robot.
The sign seems to remind folks that respect should be a two-way street.
“I decided, because I need to solve all the injustices of the world, to start charging more for people who didn’t take the time to say hello and connect and realize we’re all people behind the counter,” Austin told WDBJ7.
One day Simms wrote out the sign, the next day a photo of it appeared in a newspaper in England. Then it took off, going viral on the internet, bringing a swarm of news cameras to the little cafe.
There will be those who of course will quickly point out that “the customer is always right,” and while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also true that we only get one life to live.
So why would anyone want to live their life as someone’s doormat for a couple of dollars an hour? Sometimes, taking a small stand will cost customers, but it may also gain new, more loyal, and much more polite ones as well.
It all depends on what a businessperson is after if they’re only chasing money, then yes, the customer is always right.
But if they show customers that they have values that run deeper than profit, surprisingly positive and sometimes even more profitable results can happen.