Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Winds of Change

My morning cup of coffee is duly drunk at a small coffee shop in Rivonia, Johannesburg where I get to do the yuppie things. Checking my emails, googling all sorts of useless information and checking out the latest creations on the website. Now I have been doing the same thing in the mornings for about the last 4 years and being a creature of habit I am quite happy continuing in this way.

Now one of the reasons that I come to the same coffee shop in the morning are the fellow patrons that I have met. There is Neil, the Kung-Fu instructor, Mick, the garden landscaper, the regular business boys table that have lots of coffee and the Businesday newspaper, the Feng shui lady who hides behind the pillar, the Russian woman that spends a lot of time on the phone, then there is Paul the artist (apparently quite famous) and Dan a proud father of a brand spanking new baby (his first).

Most mornings Paul and I have a competition as to who can get the Target 9 letter word game from the newspaper, the fastest and since I cannot spell it puts him at a enormous advantage. We are as Paul has named us, "The Relaxatives". Our lives richer for the experience.

When my son was born we spent most Saturday mornings there for breakfast. The staff used to take great pleasure in playing with Laird and it was lots of fun.

Then there was Lucio, the previous owner. Of Portuguese origin, a family man with the ability of making you feel special when he arrived in the mornings, whether it be the latest news story or just the traffic, he made you fell like family! What a way to start the day.

As quoted by "Heraclitus of Ephesus", Change is the only constant." Lucio decides to sell the shop and move on in life. The new owners arrive and take over. Now the staff are either unhappy or have mostly been replaced, the feeling is entirely different and the two managers that previously wandered around, played with my son and made the place enjoyable have been fired.

So this morning I had an opportunity to speak to the owner, more from a business point of view to find out why the staff are unhappy and why the peaceful place I drink my coffee no longer feels like home. Emphasizing that the staff are the reason that I have been visiting the same place for so long. Should the staff go then I would go as well.

Pity some people do not understand that the basis of a service business is its staff.

Lets hope I am able to endure the winds of change, I find the prospect of finding another coffee shop with Relaxatives a bit daunting.

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