If I’d known in advance just how much blood, sweat and tears – not to mention smashed ceramics – would go into running a cafe, I probably wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot pole. I certainly wouldn’t have gone into it with such blind enthusiasm; I’ll tell you that much. I would have given a bit more thought to coming at it strategically, fully informed about all the potential pitfalls in advance. Alas, all that was not to be. How could it? I’m not a soothsayer. 

Some of my customers seem to think I am, though. It’s like, how was I supposed to know you wanted your coffee extra hot, but served with cold almond milk on the side? That’s the kind of thing you need to specify, Susan, or at least don’t get so worked up about it. There’s no need to fling your cup and saucer across the room and storm out, before leaving us a damning one-star review. It’s enough to make me think about a career change, honestly.

At the end of the day, though, there’s enough in the way of rewards to balance out the more trying aspects of the job. I’m not really in the market for a career change. Melbourne is the cafe capital of the southern hemisphere, after all, and I might as well make the best of it. While I’m at it, I might as well come to terms with the fact that customers aren’t likely to be getting less rude any time in the foreseeable future – not ones like Susan, at any rate. 

I have thought of setting up a hospitality-specific career counselling service. Melbourne could do with something like that, what with being the cafe capital and all. Whenever I find myself cursing my decision to go into this line of work, I get to thinking about how I could have benefited from some practical advice about what I was getting into. Perhaps, someday, I’ll be in a position to offer that to others. 

Maybe I should stay out of it, though. I’d just end up telling everyone not to go into hospitality.