Manager vs Employee

16 07 2009

I have the best employees in the world. They are each my favorite for different reasons.

One of them is named Kiera. Honestly, you have to see Kiera to understand Kiera, but I’ll do my best to describe.

Her hair is electric pink. She has a few tattoos. She has a nose ring — not the stud in the nostril, but the ring in the middle — three lip studs, and a few other random piercings. Her wardrobe… well, let’s just say you won’t find most of her clothes in a catalog or a department store. One of her accessories is a purse that she sewed out of Capri Sun juice packs.

The very moment Kiera asked for an application, I decided on the spot that I wanted her to come work here. I didn’t tell her that; she filled out the application and interviewed just like anyone else. But, as I had suspected, she has a personality and sense of humor that just… well, it just all belongs here. I knew she would bring a unique piece to this puzzle that no one else would, and I hope we get to enjoy having her here at the cafe for a long time.

She used to waitress at Denny’s. A secret shopper complained about her appearance and she got the boot. I guess some people make negative assumptions about people with piercings, which is ironic because she probably has the best personal hygiene of anyone who works here. And she makes the most beautiful Chef Salad you have ever seen in your life. Plus, as Grandad Turpen observed, the hot pink hair would make it so much easier to see before you took a bite if you ever had a hair in your food (which hasn’t ever happened, so far as I know).

When she interviewed, she offered to tone down her look and take out the piercings during work. I told her just to be herself. If I hired her, it was because I wanted to hire her and not some other version of who I thought she should be. I knew I was running the risk of alienating the occasional customer who might be put off by her appearance, but I also suspected that for every person who might be turned off, there would be ten other people who would come back because they’re fascinated by the interesting-looking person at the coffee shop.

Kiera’s been here about a month now. She’s got most of her job down, with the exception of knowing how to make some of our less-frequently-ordered drinks.

Tonight, Kiera and I had a Manager versus Employee moment. My employees know that if there are no customers waiting and absolutely everything is done on their list, they can read, surf the web, whatever, until there’s something to do. But if someone comes up to the counter and my employees don’t realize it, I throw a small fit.

So tonight, there’s a customer waiting at the counter for maybe the third time while Kiera’s messing around on MySpace. I lean over and say, “Kiera, you know I love having you work here, right?” She nods. And I say, “So go WORK here!” She got it.

Maybe two minutes later, she comes over to where I’m talking to some of our regular customers. She demands, with far too much satisfaction, “Rob, I know you like visiting with the customers, but since you’re my manager, why don’t you come teach me how to make an iced chai!”

I laughed pretty hard. Chalk one up for Kiera.




6 responses

17 07 2009

Cute! I liked Kiera….I only got to see her briefly once, and I’m not sure you were there at the time? John and I had a couple (Paxton and Sarah) that worked at The Press; the independent coffee shop in Bradburn village. Anyway, they were so unlike John and I but we all chatted like crazy and liked each other. When that place shut down (which won’t happen to you – the owner sold out from underneath us all) occasionally we’d run into them in the most random places. They always act as if we’re long, lost friends. The first time it happened, Liesl and I were taking a walk. They pulled their beater car up, Sarah jumped out, gave me a hug, and we stood there visiting on the sidewalk for several minutes. That was when I realized they were actually a couple (and yes, they met while employed at the coffee shop) and not just friendly employees of our favorite place to hang out and have coffee. He also had internet hook-ups for people to use. :0 Good memory….thanks for sharing. We haven’t seen Sarah or Paxton for awhile; of course there aren’t many independent coffee shops left in the area, either.

2 09 2009

Hi Rob! This actually a reply for Mom2: I think Sarah is working at the Smoky Banana in Broomfield. I used to hang at The Press when I lived in The Lofts there. Even had coffee with Rob there once or twice!

28 07 2009
Midwest Admirer

Yeah, we saw Kiera! Thought she was a customer, though. We were pretty much leaving as she came in. It was mid-afternoon… things were quiet around town…. Husband said, don’t ask for Rob because it could seem, uh, weird that “internet people” would be “stalking” his cyber cafe, LOL! Regardless, we feel certain that we found YOUR cyber café because our food was served on a black plate! Yum. And the lighting was NOT fluorescent. Very nice. So, IF we lived in Gallup, I suppose we’d want to pop by frequently, LOL! We sure liked what we saw and ate. *smile*

28 07 2009
Rob in Gallup

So glad you came by! Next time be sure to say hello. I always love to meet people from the blogosphere in the real world.

28 07 2009
Midwest Admirer


28 07 2009
Midwest Admirer

As in, “It’s a deal; will do!” LOL

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