Author’s note: The prompt today was the opening line of the piece. I’ve never worked in hospitality, but I have worked in retail, so I know how soul-crushing it can be.
It was the worst cappuccino she’d ever tasted, and being her, she told him so.
Sam tried not to roll his eyes as he listened to her tirade: that there was too much froth, and what coffee there was tasted more like coffee-flavoured milk. When she finished her rant, Sam leaned forward over the counter and rested his chin on his hands.
“I may well lose my job for this,” he said, “but I’m okay with doing it so that my successors don’t have to put up with your bullshit.” The woman’s mouth fell open upon hearing his language. He didn’t care, and ploughed on. “You come in here literally every morning, and every morning you complain about the coffee. It wastes our time, and surely it wastes your time, too. You do know that there’s another coffee shop right across the road, yeah?”
“Well! Of all the impudent…!”
“My manager may well tell me that I’m losing him business by saying this, but you’re the one person I honestly don’t mind sending over there.”
“Well!” said the woman again. “I’ve never been spoken to like that in my life!”
“Maybe it’s about time,” Sam replied, taking the cappuccino she was so unhappy with and taking a swig from it.
The woman picked up her purse in a huff and stormed out of the café. In her wake, the other customers began applauding. Sam cracked a grin and continued drinking the coffee that was now his.
“Excuse me, are you even listening to a word I’m saying?”
Sam blinked, the daydream faded and he realised she was still standing in front of him. He shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts and took the offending cappuccino back from her, quietly seething.
“I’m sorry ma’am,” he said, trying to talk properly and not hiss through his teeth. “I’ll make you a fresh one right away.”