Sunday, April 12, 2009

Patience, Policy, and the Seven Dollar Cup

This is how I remember it anyway...

Customer brings a stainless steel water bottle to an airport coffee shop and orders a drink.

Barista (a word I'm pretty sure I've never written before) looks at it skeptically and says the bottle's skinny neck and spout make it an unacceptable latte shape.

Customer is determined not to use a paper cup, leaves, figures she could do with another ceramic mug in her life, spends seven dollars at the shop that sells gum, magazines, and Salt Lake City shot glasses, and goes back to see Barista.

Barista says ceramics are no good either. Lattes go in paper cups. According to The Rules, anyway.

Customer stares, thinks, holds back a scream, breathes, smiles, explains, and asks REALLY nicely.

Barista feels the smile, agrees that the rule's a bummer, and inaugurates the seven dollar cup.

I react in three ways...

First, I love the patient perseverance. A lot of power there. Tough power to harness. Easy power to lose. But very serious power that we all can have, hold, wield, use, whatever it is we do with power. And that, I think, is worth a few moments' thought.

Second, policy scares me. It lingers. Because it's so often less hassle (in the immediate, instant gratification term) to let it linger than to review, consider, adjust, perfect, etc.

And, third, you gotta love the virtuous subversion of policy. But you gotta follow it up with policy change. Which probably, given the nature of policy, requires none other than patient perseverance.

As I said, that's how I remember it. Second hand. Here's how it really went down.

blog comments powered by Disqus