Redeeming cupcakeland


Barring some abnormally nightmarish cupcake-related event or situation, I would guess that most people see cupcakes as instruments of happiness.

Even though I don’t eat them, I am no different. Cupcakes have gained their massive popularity in recent years because they are compact, cute and not too guilt inducing. And the best among them are undoubtedly delicious. I enjoy making cupcakes… they are much easier to serve than a cake (especially when you take them to an office and when they are messy with fillings and gooey frostings or custard, as with my better than sex cupcakes).

Earlier this month, helping my friend celebrate her 40th birthday, we went to a local cafe and cupcake establishment (local to the South Sound/south of Seattle area, anyway, which is where I am spending most of November), Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes. It was a convenient location, welcoming inside and seemed fairly charming. They had a large array of coffee and bubble tea drink choices and, of course, cupcakes that seemed like they would be well-loved by cupcake connoisseurs. Generally, I would say it was a lovely establishment.

But the happiness factor that comes from hanging out with friends in a cafe or enjoying cupcakes was reduced considerably by the staff that particular afternoon. The birthday girl told me that usually when she has been there, she has been helped by some attentive and nice staff, but on this particular afternoon, we were begrudgingly helped by some dismissive, hipster types who were apparently too cool to be there, too cool to be working. I sat down and watched one staff member actively ridicule and roll her eyes at multiple customers… and I just wondered… what the hell for?

I found that it irritated me to such a degree after I left that I wrote to the cafe to complain about the rampant attitude problem. I know this makes me sound an awful lot like a grumpy old person (and maybe I am). I got a response yesterday from the owner who asked me if I could find it in myself to be “forgiving”. Haha.

Yes, well, it was not as though the staff there killed my beloved cat or something. They simply were rude and just about the furthest from service-minded that a cafe worker could be. Of course I forgive; I probably will not go back since it is not as though Renton, Washington is local for me. Nevertheless, I can say that in my forgiving mood, I would recommend going there… my friends had coffee drinks that they each thought were delightful, and I watched a group of people come in together who all had cupcakes (which they ate with forks), and they seemed elated by these sweets. (I theorized that this group of people work in some kind of non-profit, church-related organization. Why? No idea. Just that I like to make up stories about random people I see out and about.)

I suppose this whole situation got to me because I come to the US expecting that everything is going to be more service-oriented than Sweden or Norway. Of course there will be exceptions. But on this particular day, the lack of service (or even a feigned desire to be there working) got to me to such a degree that I felt like I had to do something.

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