Coffee Break

Tom stepped out of the taxi and wiped the sweat of his forehead. He checked his watch and found that he had time to spare before his next appointment. What better idea then to use the time to have a cool refreshment and to take in some of scenery of the great city he had started to enjoy.

He looked around and saw at the next corner a garden restaurant under the shade of a giant chestnut tree. That will do, he thought. It was early afternoon and there were plenty of empty tables. He sat down and it did not take long for a waiter to attend him.

Tom had taken a liking to a particular local brew, which was colourful, to say the least, and was refreshing. So he ordered the wheat beer with a nip of raspberry syrup. The obliging waiter took the order without fuss and disappeared inside to get the beer.

Tom looked around, taking everything in: well dressed women on the wide side walk and the not too heavy traffic on the road. He could not miss the big double decker buses that where so attractive. While in London he had seen the ‘Big Reds’, here they were a bright yellow.

Berlin bus

As his eyes followed such a bus he caught sight of a middle aged women, clad in a floral dress and wearing a large colourful hat, coming into the restaurant and taking a seat nearby. She had a self assured attitude. She placed a shopping bag on another chair, tugged, here and there, at her dress and started to look around for a waiter.

Just then the waiter came out the door with Tom’s ‘Weisse’, placed the giant glass in front of him and turned to attend to the woman who was the only other customer outside.


Tom thought he was pretty happy as his lips dipped into the reddish foam of his beer. The waiter had even given him a straw in a wrapper. Just in case. Because of the closeness to the other table, Tom could not help overhearing that the woman ordered a pot of coffee.

‘Nothing else, thank you,’ she said to the waiter and continued to peruse a fashion magazine.

Tom just looked around taking in all he was able to see. The beer he drunk was refreshing and he wondered whether it would sell in Australia. Probably not and he could hear his friends dismissing it as a beer for sheilas.. But here, in Berlin, he had seen people of all ages and both sexes enjoying it, especially in the heat of the summer. While in his thoughts he became aware that the waiter brought out a tray with the pot of coffee and a small creamer with cream as was customary. The woman took her nose to the creamer and with a slight wrinkle put it down. She called out to the waiter and with a raised voice pronounced, ‘the cream is OFF!’

“Sorry, Madam, it can’t be. The cream came straight out of the fridge and the bottle has been opened only a short while ago.’

‘Please take the cream back,’ demanded the woman,’and bring me fresh cream, PLEASE.’

The waiter shrugged his shoulders, took the creamer and disappeared inside.

‘This is interesting’, Tom thought and took another sip of his beautiful refreshment.

It did not take long and the waiter came back and placed a creamer on the woman’s table. ‘I hope it is to your liking, Madam’ he said and waited at the table for the woman’s reaction. She smelled it and then poured some into her coffee. She took a sip and said, ‘This is much better, thank you.’

What now happened, Tom had not seen anywhere he had been. This was sheer spectacle.

The waiter, shuffling around could not contain himself any longer, ‘Now I got you, this is the same cream as before. I just carried it back out again. You see how silly you are, there was nothing wrong with the cream in the first place. Enjoy!’

Tom looked at the woman, it seemed her face was a shade more red than it was before.’You are a shameless character. I want to see the head waiter,’ she demanded.

‘There is no head waiter here, I’m the only one,’ the waiter answered with a smirk.

Tom finished his drink, paid the waiter and got up, still wondering whether the waiter was fair dinkum or not.


5 thoughts on “Coffee Break

  1. A waiter giving his own to this difficult customer, I think this could have happened only in Berlin. 🙂
    Isn’t the customer always right? At least the waiter could have kept his mouth shut. How absolutely embarrassing for the customer! How did the lady take it, I wonder. Did she perhaps think she deserved such treatment?
    Some customers make life difficult for waiters, maybe just to show them that they can demand 100% service! 🙂

  2. It reminds me of my brother and his family on holiday in Holland. The wife wanted to buy sour cream.. She could not find it and asked the shopgirl for sour cream. The shopgirl answered, ‘oh no, we never sell sour cream, all our cream is always fresh.
    At that time sour cream wasn’t available. Perhaps now it is!
    Good story Peter. There are difficult customers who just like to make silly demands just for the sake of it.

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