Farm Festival: The Journey Home

This may be my last entry…

Have you ever seen the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld? That actually happened to me today in a pokey artisan-by-numbers coffee shop in an industrial unit in an otherwise pretty little village.

Take a look at the Bean Shot Coffee website and it will tell you that they have ‘a passion for coffee’ that they ‘love to share’. Now take a look at them on Tripadvisor – reviewless and, at the time of writing, #12 out of 12 Restautants in the Bruton area. Here’s what went down:

As you are probably aware, I have been to Farm Festival, a brilliant independent festival in Somerset serving up the happiest, most stress-free vibe of any festival I have ever been to. We left this morning and caught the dedicated shuttle bus to Bruton station. We had to wait for a couple of hours for the first train of the day (Bruton is a tiny place near Bath) so I thought I would leave Modulor Dave with the stuff while I went foraging for victuals in the local shops. As I was walking, I spotted a coffee shop and thought “I’ll grab a coffee on the way back”. All good so far. I went to the local convenience shop and bought anything that could pass for breakfast and a postcard for Mrs CthuIu. The staff we friendly and chatty and we discussed the festival and how they had benefited from the extra footfall. Again, all good.

Still full of the spirit of festival, I made my way to the Bean Shot to get a couple of artisan coffees to go. I stood in line and had a quick look at the available coffees and accoutrements which all seemed to be in order. Suddenly, my phone went off. It seems that I was briefly in an area where there was some signal and Mrs CthuIu who, let’s not forget, had not seen me for 2 whole days and had scant information as to whether I was even alive, managed to call me. I answered (obviously) and was immediately snubbed by the owner in favour of the group of guys behind me.

I have spent a good portion of the day wavering between giving him the benefit of the doubt and calling him out as a prick but, the more I think about it, the more I am drawn to the latter. Let’s examine what may have been going on here:

1) Maybe they had a no phone policy?
I couldn’t see any signs anywhere stating this so I’m going to say no.
2) Perhaps the people behind me had gone out and come back in again?
Nope, they arrived after me and were not in the vacinity when I arrived.
3) Maybe he thought it would be nice to give me time to finish my call before getting my order?
Perhaps but he didn’t indicate this in anyway, when I indicated I was there first he just said “No, I’m, serving these guys first”
4) Could he just be a jumped up little prick with zero customer service skills?
Yeah, absolutely. If you are the owner of a business, you absolutely do not treat your customers that way. It makes them feel humiliated and angry.

I left the shop without buying anything so I never got to try his coffee and I can’t really tell you how it was but, given that he made assumptions about me I think I’m free to make assumptions about his coffee. I would describe it as style-over-substance, bitter and tasteless.

Don’t just take my word for it though. As I waited on the station platform, fuming slightly at the injustice I had just encountered, I overheard a chap who had just come from the same place telling his girlfriend about his experience in the shop. He told her that he had enjoyed an espresso with the owner – perhaps I had judged him too harshly – then he told her “I wouldn’t describe him as a nice guy…” It turns out that he had witnessed the owner telling his own son not to answer a call on the phone because he was “way too busy for that” and that his friend would eventually get the message.

Now, if you’re thinking “that sounds about right, if you’re working you shouldn’t be using your phone” you should probably be aware that his son could not have been any older than 13/14 and was clearly too young to producing high-end coffee to any great level of expertise!

I will return to Farm Fest next year (hopefully) and I will have a great time. I will visit the convenience shop and maybe buy another couple of sausage rolls and a postcard and I will chat to the staff about how pleasant their locale is. One thing is for sure though – I will never visit Bean Shot Coffee again and I will make sure that anyone I meet is made aware of the treatment I received.

I’ll get to the good festival stuff soon but until then…

Thanks for reading, now NO COFFEE FOR YOU!

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