Today, we're in a town called Fife, the northernmost suburb of a city of 200,000 known as Tacoma which sits near the southern edge of Puget Sound.
And, now, a poem:
Filthy dirty men's room
with stains all over the mirror
And debris on the bathroom floor
A dirt stain by the paper rack
Papers litter the empty, dirty tables
And crumbs scatter on the lobby floor
The condiment bar is a complete mess
The pastry case empty, dirty and forlorn
Toto, I don't think we're in Sodo anymore...
About half an hour after I sat down, a partner came out to replace the solitary half and half pitcher on the condiment stand, bringing a towel with her. She replaced the pitcher (is there only supposed to be one pitcher on the stand?) and wiped up a small cream spill. Then, God help me, she turned and walked away, leaving the other half of the condiment stand covered in spilled sugar and bits of straw wrapper. On her way back to the counter, she picked up some of the newspapers and wiped a couple of dirty tables – knocking the crumbs onto the already dirty floor. Even worse, I'm sorry to report, this was the MOD.
AHA! You exclaim...Juan has walked into a store where the VTI crackdown has affected staffing levels and, thus, store operations. Sadly, your exclamation would be wrong. There were six partners on the floor at this drive thru store. Not the most ever seen however nowhere near the level where they could be considered “shortstaffed” especially since, while business was steady, it wasn't overwhelming.
Ok, fine, they were clobbered right before I walked in and they hadn't had a chance to recover yet. Except the MOD [Manager On Duty] didn't come out on the floor until a half hour after I sat down. It was another half an hour before another partner managed to wander out from behind the counter and that was to empty the garbage. It was yet another HOUR before a partner came out again, wiped a couple more tables off ONTO THE FLOOR. That partner did grab a broom and half heartedly sweep a small part of the lobby floor but it did little to dent the growing piles of debris scattered about the rest of the lobby. It was clear to me that, whatever the priorities in effect at that store, keeping a clean lobby/bathroom/pastry case was not among them.
On the good news side, the partners were efficient at taking orders and making drinks. In fact, the barista making drinks was so gosh darn efficient, she couldn't be bothered to look at or thank customers who picked up their drinks. It was "Grande White Chocolate Mocha!", a plop as the drink landed on the handoff plane and poof the barista was back on the other side of the machine without blinking an eye. Even when the customer was standing right there, she didn't make eye contact or thank them. But I did get my drink in thirty seconds. Thankfully, she was eventually replaced by another barista who, besides being quite efficient, did manage to say thank you and make eye contact with each customer who picked up their drink. /CONTINUED IN THE FIRST COMMENT BELOW