Being A Regular

When I was in high school, one of my dreams was to be a regular at a coffee shop.

I know – I was a pretty ambitious kid.

My friend Melissa and I were so excited when we achieved this. Once we got our drivers’ licenses, we’d stop at our local Dunkin’ Donuts (conveniently located in a Shell gas station) to buy Coffee Coolatas every day on the way to pick up our friend Christy for school.  It took a few months, but the guys behind the counter started to recognize us, to greet us with big smiles, and (THE BEST PART) to know our orders before we said them out loud. Nothing feels cozier than someone handing you a perfectly created beverage without you having to give them explicit instructions.

I started daydreaming about our morning coffee stops because I noticed a phenomenon at the Catonsville Farmers’ Market, where our family goes every week to sell our local organic Wild Peace Farm vegetables and eggs. This year’s market season started up on the first weekend in May, and it’s always lovely to be back that first week – to catch up with other vendors, to see customers that we haven’t talked to all winter. The small talk during that first week is often something like, “How was your winter?” – a question that can have many different answers and allows for either a “Fine, yours?” or a detailed story about a skiing injury or a new grandbaby.

Now, every business has regulars – reliable customers who show up as consi26153104_2075250709427490_6951418033298472960_nstently as Melissa and I did for our Coffee Coolatas. (Which I think were probably 90% sugar and about 10% coffee, btw.) And I find myself giving regulars a slightly warmer farewell than I do for new or occasional customers.

For new or occasional customers, my farewell is often something akin to “Have a good day!”

But, for our regulars?

I tell THEM: “Have a good week.” It’s a subtle difference but means a lot.

It always warms my heart when we get to this level with a customer. Saying have a good week implies that we will see them again in a week’s time; it means our familiarity has reached a level that we expect to see each other every Sunday. It’s sweet and comfortable. And I hope I make them feel just as good when I start pre-bagging their arugula as I did when the nice man at Dunkin’ Donuts handed me my french vanilla Coolata before a word had been exchanged between us.

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