The new Caput Mundi seems to have inherited more than just the title from the previous Caput Mundi. I refer to the general indifference displayed towards not only customer satisfaction but also any commercial transaction at all by the employees of stores here. I have noticed it for some time, but while Mustang and Commish were here we went to several shops (ranging from an overly expensive fishing and hunting store to a fancy doughnut shop), in which the spirit of commerce was noticeably lacking.
When Mustang and I were in the original Caput Mundi we detected a certain… resentment on the part of shop owners that we should wish to interrupt their lives by actually purchasing things ranging from bus tickets to meals to books. Their complete disinterest in supplying us with the items they claimed to sell (or any items at all), was confusing to our American sensibilities. But after reading several travel essays all about how this was The Way Things Were in Rome, we derived much amusement from it.
But here in the good ol’ US of A we expect people to be interested in selling us the wares they display in their stores. We expect the customer to be valued and helped. Not so in Caput Mundi. This attitude is not limited to snooty doughnut shops (where we were told we could not select which flavors we would like to order, we could tell them our preferences and then hope we would be given them), or snooty fly-fishing shops (where we saw the staff tell the customer ahead of us that they don’t refund sales tax when you return an item). For instance, Editress prefers to get her dose of supercilious and begrudging service from coffee shops where the staff gives her disdainful looks if she orders something they consider too declasse for words. B prefers to get his dose of indifferent service at on-campus offices.
I really think that many of the people who work here wish they were Italian. Perhaps they should move to Rome. It would save the rest of us the trouble of feeling like we’ve just asked the barrista to participate in the ritual sacrifice of puppies when we try to get a cup of coffee.