Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In the advent of the birth of Doug and Loris baby, I started thinking about how integral babies and their moms are to the entire mercury espresso bar biz-nass. In order to commemorate this relationship I would like to draw upon certain similarities between babies and coffee (yes, I am actually going to do this and yes I am a loser).


Here we go, first picture. Babies love espresso bars! I mean come on! He's munchin' on it!

Next photo! In the coffee business, the porta filter carries the delicious grounds from the grinder to be extracted into pure espresso from the machine. In real life, the grinder is like the womb and the porta filter is like the baby carrier from which you extract so much joy!

Photo three: fake-babies aren't real, just like decaf coffee isn't real!
finally, here's something that we can all enjoy!


-Matt

7 comments:

Customer Service said...

THE BIG PROBLEM WITH MERCURY IS NOT THEIR INTERNET ACCESS OR THEIR DELICIOUS COFFEE.

ITS THE FACT THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY OR THE ABILITY TO OFFER DECENT CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT IS ON PAR WITH ALL THE OTHER SHOPS IN LESLIEVILLE.

THEY HAVE A "NO CELL PHONE AT THE COUNTER" POLICY WHICH THEY ARE QUICK TO POINT OUT. I WOULD ASSUME THAT THIS IS TO ENSURE CUSTOMERS GIVE THEM THE ATTENTION AND PERHAPS SHARE SOME INTERACTION AS THEY PREP YOUR COFFEE.

BUT DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY THEY MOVE SO SLOW, WHY THEY NEVER REALLY CRACK A SMILE? WHY THEY NEVER REALLY ENGAGE YOU IN CONVERSATION UNLESS YOU ALIGN TO THEIR GRUNGY QUEEN WEST SENSE OF STYLE? BTW STYLE DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUATE TO SECOND HAND CLOTHING.

AND WHY MUST IT TAKE SO LONG? IT'S NOT THE MACHINE? THE GRINDER? MAYBE IT'S THE FACT THEY ARE TAKING THEIR TIME CHATTING TO OTHERS.

WAIT??? CHATTING TO OTHERS? ANOTHER CONVERSATION WHILE THEY ARE SERVING AND PREP'ING YOUR ORDER?

WELL, SHIT, IT'S GOING TO TAKE SO LONG TO GET MY COFFEE AND I GOTTA WAIT WHILE THEY DILLY DALLY AND CHAT UP WITH THEIR BUDS? I MIGHT AS WELL START UP A CONVO ON MY CELL PHONE WHILE I ORDER.

THIS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT IN LESLIEVILLE!!!

MERCURY...I HOPE IT GETS BETTER, BECAUSE YOUR COFFEE IS FABULOUS. YOUR EMPLOYEES AND IMMATURE BEHAVIOUR...NOT SO MUCH...LITTLE BUSINESS TIP, STUDY YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC, LOOK WHO'S BUYING YOUR PRODUCT, AND PERHAPS MEASURE YOUR PROXIMITY TO DARK HORSE, THEY SEEM TO BE BUSIER AND BUSIER....MERCURY...NOT SO MUCH.

SO I'LL ENJOY THE WALK TO DARK HORSE, THE PEOPLE ARE GREAT AND SO IS THE COFFEE!

WAITING FOR YOUR WITTY REPLY.

PS: A WITTY REPLY MAY NOT ADDRESS THE ISSUE AT HAND

Empirial Storm Trooper said...

the no cell phone policy i believe is in place for when they're calling for orders to be picked up, patrons are paying attention.
it should be pointed out or in effect with discretion- cause as we all know, common sense, isn't all so common these days- especially in the retail sector. and i'm sure its the lack thereof which is what "Customer Service" is pissed off about.

it irks me too. Mercury is dealing with local clientele. Would it hurt to smile? Say hey how's it going to the people that are in there on a regular? Now i know the entire staff is not guilty- fuck lets just say it...you have 2 females that work there and if they don't like their jobs- go back to school or join a band...I'm in the store almost everyday of the f'n week and each time I go in the chick with the glasses looks at me like i'm from another planet the other like i'm interupting her song writing..You got Neil who is cool as shit, the blonde kid, my man playin hip-hop and the other dude with the glasses and beard...all solid...but the 2 birds...TUDE? Bitter? Jaded with life at the age of 22? Give me a break...if you don't have the social ability to work with the public..Grind beans in the back..

He (Customer Service) is right, check your demographics. The person you're dishing out attitude to is a professional, a wife, a husband, a parent and a LOCAL, that pays your wages by spending 10/15 dollars in your shop every other day...show an ounce respect a smidgeon of gratitude.

Your reputation for your attitude (Matt I hope you're reading) is starting to precede your good coffee rep. Don't let your staff be your demise.
Mercury is actually CLOSER to my home than Dark Horse and the laid back, friendly vibe over there is actually worth walking the extra few minutes.

Maththhththtthththhththth said...

Come on, I was posting about babies, now you're slamming my co-workers?

Mercury Espresso Bar said...

Let me step in here before this spirals out of control.

Hi. My name is Doug and I'm one of the 3 owners here at Mercury.

As stated by Damien, you do raise some valid points. Points which we had to deal with in the past and look as though they may be making a second appearance and therefore will be dealt again. Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

However the "YELLING", swearing, and trying to hijack the comments section of the blog probably isn't the best way to make them.

We do have a public email address (mercuryespressobar@rogers.com). If you would like to comment or complain about something, send us an email and myself, Matt or James would be more than happy to address/answer any questions/concerns you might have (though there's not much we can do about the way people choose to dress).

However, if you just want to make a scene then I'm afraid there's not much we can do.

Pistacle Pete said...

Your amazing ignorance concerning the cellphone policy betrays a lack of experience in customer service. Thankfully, the Mercury owners
actually do have an understanding of service woes, hence the empowerment of their staff.

The wonderful entitlement Mercury staff possesses to perform as they're wont stands in stark contrast to the Starbucks-ification of *certain* indie cafes, where all abuse, racism, and sexual harassment from the customer class is A-ok as long as the register keeps clanging. The service class is given zero empathy from the ownership surrounding such issues. (I know because I worked at Starbucks and *other* indie cafes and experienced all three kinds of chauvinism. I recently declined to serve a customer because of his repeated sexual harrassment of our female staff, and now he goes across the tracks. Enough said?)

The problem is that Mercury-style entitlement is a double-edged sword; staff are autonomous to (you're right) a potentially, and periodically, problematic degree. I agree with you and Mercury actually does need to deal with this. But the staff are also given license to truly define the character of the store, and this is, at the very least, rare. Starbucks and DH employees, just so you know, also despise the 'cellphone thing,' they are simply not enabled to say so. And yes, it is an issue of rights. Mercury isn't the only store in the city with a 'no cellphone sign' either, by the way.

My name is Damien, the blonde kid, and I am just about to leave Mercury. Thursday is my last day. I acknowledge that it's not an institution without problems, and you have successfully addressed some of the important ones.

However, I cannot help but rebutt: aside from the contradiction that we can 'keep the great coffee but get rid of the staff,' your argument suggests that we provide all the 'service' of Starbucks but with the 'indie flavour' and the quality of coffee, and this is a slippery slope to just adding one more item on Starbucks' menu.

What I find so offensive about both of your posts is this idea that we should do nothing but cater to the demographic of new parents in the area. People are bringing the rudeness they get away with at Starbucks, *etc* INTO Mercury, and if we yield to such dehumanization, as well as focus on providing sugar-free Lululemon lattes, we will truly be sellouts in a socially harmful 'fashion.' (ps: your weird emphasis on style has all the clarity of a spurned lover calling his ex a slut. did we fail to acknowledge how good you look? Aww).

I think you both make good points, and the implication is that you want us to succeed (instead of permanently taking your business away silently). But what you seem to miss is that for all of Mercury's strengths and foibles, it is a unique place. What is at stake in its uniqueness (which you can apparently only perceive through the perverted lens of commodity fetishism, in terms of 'services for the consumer'), you have failed to grasp.

If you feel like actually coming forward and having a sober discussion about it, minus the theatrics, you know where to find me.

Customer Service said...

Firstly, I would like to apologize for the tone and the use of some pretty harsh language. Secondly, another apology for bastardizing your blog, that was not my intent. My intent was to grab your attention, and I am glad that I did.

We (yes we, a very large group of us) take issue with the attitude of your employees. It really has nothing to do with the "sense of style" (and yes, another apology there) or the cell phone policy.

It has to do with respect, respect for patrons who are willing to spend more at Mercury than at Starbucks (so much for Indie vs the big bad corporation).

indie does not equate to shitty service and attitude. People at Starbucks are told and trained to be friendly. Does that mean you must do the opposite? Why not inherently be friendly and courteous. Give me a break with the whole indie bull. Your spot has a vibe of its own, your own style and energy, good for you, but bottom line, coffee is just as expensive, you'd think a capitalist was running the show but with a better business model, cheaper space, lower wages, low cost in upkeep...at the same price point as Starbucks...its obvious...I would say that the indie shop has figured out the capitalism game quite well. You are like the slave labour of the coffee house. I know that may hit a chord, but please don't play the indie card. it not justification for poor service.

As long as I don't get some kind of courtesy, respect, and a 20 minute wait because the guy/girl feels like it, then you may not see much respect and courtesy back at you and perhaps even at the cell phone policy.

My friends, this is the basis of customer service. Treat the customer as you would like to be treated and if you are mistreated in anyway (as a retailer or seller) you have all the right to protest and take action as you see fit. To be truthful, I would adhere to any policy you put forth, but it has to come with a price of respect and courtesy to your patrons.

There are a whole lot of indie spots on our street, but find me one that treats me as poorly as Mercury! (and guess what Damien and all, I am not a parent, yuppie, or a guy in a suite!!!), I'm just looking for a friendly place to get a good coffee!

Do you get this attitude when buying meats from Erin at Rowe? Does Steve ignore you and take forever to get you a table at Joy? Pints always come with a smile and cheers from the brothers at the Roy, and the girls at Brick Street...what can I say?

So, what's the problem? What's up with the attitude? Lighten up, crack a smile, pretend like you enjoy having me in, don't make me wait while you chit chat with your buds while you sample the last cup you made for your little taste test and giggle, while I have my fin in my had ready to pay!!! Make this adjustment and you know what...cell phone policy, not such a bad idea. It has to come from you Mercury, you are the first point of contact, you are the point of sale and you are the first impression when I walk in. Take the lead and we will follow.

With all sincerity, good luck and I hope you do what you feel is right for your business.

Ben said...

Ben (beard + glasses dude) to weigh in way after this has all gone down:

I have a lot of fun at work. I like 95% of our customers, know many names, and enjoy the community. I like making coffee, I try to do it well, and from the comments I receive, I am successful in this endeavor. I try equally hard to make people feel welcome, to tell them about what we do and how we do it, and to get drinks out quickly.

If we are occasionally slow to prepare drinks, this can be for many reasons. Perhaps we didn't like the quality of a shot-- we're pulling another, better one. Perhaps the milk seemed strange-- would you want a substandard product just because it's quicker? Maybe we're cleaning the machine-- it's amazing how much flavour difference it makes when a portafilter is all clogged up with coffee gunk. Maybe it IS the machine, or the grinder. Why are you taking this so personally? Do you know what it is like to make good coffee? There are a LOT of variables.

Are we not smiling? Sometimes it's really busy, and it gets a bit stressful. Really though, are we that cold? I know I ask, 9 times out of 10, how someone is doing before I ask what they'd like. I don't answer the phone when I'm talking to a customer, for the same reason I don't like customers on the phone at the counter. It brings you to a different world. You are unable to communicate, because you're in separate places.

We are not machines. Our product does not come out of an automatic espresso spigot. At the best of times it will take a minute to make a latte. Times fifteen? Twenty? the fact that we can churn them out as fast as we do with only two people on bar is pretty amazing.

Most of what you've written is really ignorant. If it isn't too impertinent, perhaps the reason you get crap service, if indeed it happens at all, is because you're asking for it?