Sunday morning tip to owners of businesses offering coffee and any kind of baked goods.
Do not let a customer suffering from a sinus headache wait in a long line and then when he finally gets to the counter inform him that you're all out of cinnamon-raisin bagels.
And baked apple.
And just about every other kind of bagel except sun-dried tomato and onion.
Bagel shop near Mom and Pop Mannion's. Been going there for years, every time we come up for a visit. Good bagels. Great service. Go in there on a Sunday morning, a line out the door, and you'd still be served and rung up in less than ten minutes. Always looked forward to going there.
Wandered in this morning and as soon as I walked in the door I knew it. I could feel it. This was a business in trouble. Probably all the empty bins clued me in. But there were other signs.
You can always tell. There's an energy in a successful small business. The staff is on top of things. You meet the eyes of a clerk and you can see there, if not cheerfulness and a willingness to serve, at least a determination to get you out of there with a minimum of trouble to themselves, which means that they intend to help you, if only to save themselves the bother of listening to you complain.
Three dead-eyed college kids behind the counter. One beaten down looking middle-aged man at the register, the manager, paying no attention at all to what the college kids are doing. Six minute wait for plain bagels, six more minutes after that for the cinnamon raisins, maybe, the dead-eyed college kids weren't sure if the cinnamon raisins were actually on the way.
Ok, I'll take what I can get, I said, not exactly being zen about it. Four plains, the last blueberry, a sesame.
At the register the beaten-down manager asked, in rote voice, "Anything else?"
"There is nothing else," I pointed out.
No response. No apology. No offer to hurry anything up. No explanations. Not even a shrug.
Paid. Hurried out. Returned to the house, seething. Listened to Mom Mannion warn me I'd have a stroke if I didn't calm down. Opened the bag.
Scroll up. See what I ordered.
Ok. Here's what was in the bag.
Two sesames, the last blueberry, two plains.
Count on it.
Next visit we're going to have to look for somewhere else to buy bagels.