You Asked For Feedback!!!


“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I went into Killer ESP in Alexandria for a latte, and it was very crowded. I waited a while to order and then again a long time to get my coffee. Finally, they called my name, I picked up my cup (with my name on it) and headed out. After a few sips, I realized it was not the latte I’d ordered but a cafe au lait. (Later noticed under the sleeve that it said au lait.) Not a huge deal, so I went about my day. Then, because they use Square, I got an email asking about my experience. I gave them my feedback and received the rudest customer service responses I have ever had. Here’s the actual live chain of comments… 


125 Comment

  • Wow. Just remarkably juvenile. How hard is it to say “we’re sorry for the error and hope to see you again!”

  • I’m with the customer on this one. Obnoxious response from the business.

  • Lyndsey

    Wow this is so childish and unbelievable. This isn’t some self-righteous defense of their establishment in reply to a hostile Yelp review – you gave a measured, neutral remark and they utterly melted down.

    Misha’s management need to get a life… and some basic customer service skills.

    • Lyndsey

      Woops just realized it was Killer ESP not Misha’s my bad.

    • I think Misha is the coffee place that the OP will be going to instead of this place… the place that messed up the order and then got defensive about it is Killer ESP.

    • Minor correction — it was Killer E.S.P. that did this, not Misha’s. He said he’s going to Misha’s next time, which is how they came up in the convo. (I don’t want Misha’s losing biz by mistake! :))

  • Wow! Just passed this place for the first time on Saturday and made a mental note to stop by next weekend when I’m back in Old Town. That’s okay.

  • Given the vitriol of the business’ response, I totally expected the initial complaint to be over the top, but they asked the person for feedback and the writer gave them a very reasonable response. I had never heard of this place, but now I want it to fail.

    • LOL and +1 to “I had never heard of this place, but now I want it to fail.” I rarely go to Old Town Alexandria, and I rarely drink coffee… but now I feel like going to Misha’s just to spite Killer ESP.

  • Blithe

    I’m totally with the customer on this one. Completely and totally. Sheesh.

  • This reminds me of a bit I read about, where a comic was trolling internet comment feeds with responses like this one from the coffee shop’s rep. Crazy!
    $10 bucks that after all this bad publicity they come back saying they were hacked or that person doesn’t represent who they are blah blah blah

  • You’d think their customer service account had been hijacked by a 12-year-old. Totally unnecessary rudeness.

    • Well, the coffeeshop’s name sounds like something a 15-year-old boy would come up with… maybe they have children running every aspect of their business.

  • What is with people in Old Town? Flying off the handle at the tiniest things…

    • It’s all that khaki they wear down there, it eventually drives them mad.

    • Oh trust me, we here in DC have a very robust population of flyers-off-the-handle. Remember the Chinatown Coffee Incident from many years ago? This was when the barista/owner/whatever refused to serve a customer’s cortado in a to-go cup because it would “spoil the experience” (granted he had a point, but still that’s just the height of eye-rolling hipster doucheness).

      • I have to say, I love all things Baked ‘N Wired – except their refusal so sell a cortado in a to go cup. Irks me to no end.
        Actually, let me correct myself – the new morning team at B&W leaves a lot to be desired. Slow, surly and too much attitude. I do not love them.

      • True. But I don’t think in DC you’d have the manager of your building complain because your same-sex partner gave you a goodnight kiss in her car (“Old Town has a lot of families and you can’t do stuff like that”).

  • samanda_bynes

    i feel like this is the first interaction of rudeness we’ve seen in awhile where the original poster didn’t overreact or even act snarky. 100% on the side of the customer.

    • +1. I was totally prepared for yet another OP whom I thought was in the wrong… and this OP was completely in the right.
      It was maybe a teensy bit snarky of the OP to have mentioned the business’s competition… but on the whole it was a pretty neutral comment. There was no reason for Killer ESP to get defensive — an appropriate response would have been “Thanks for letting us know — we’re sorry about that!”

  • Yes, the response was incredibly rude. But is anyone capable anymore of just saying their piece and then moving on? People seem so easily baited these days.

  • LOL. This reminds me of the great Murky Coffee iced espresso debate of 2008.

  • In the social media age it costs nothing for a business to be nice and everything to be rude.

  • Honestly, they probably get most of their business from tourists, so their reputation doesn’t matter much from a business perspective.

  • That’s a bummer. I’ve always had great service there. Hopefully they realize this isn’t a good look. Not going to stop me from patronizing though. Thier Nutella lattes are the best! Everyone has thier off days, and it looks like this was thiers.

    • The “off day” part was serving the incorrect drink. Getting on a public forum doing that? That’s just bad form all together. I’m waiting for the “sorry. we were hacked!” to come out.

      • Oh, I agree. This is PR disaster #1 right here. Someone needs to be trained in the art of customer service. But I’m not ready to write them off completely either. It depends on how they choose to respond.

        • Isn’t the snarky response “how they chose to respond?” And then doubled down on it?
          I find that I am rarely, if ever on the side of the patron in situations like this – inevitably, they do something far douchier than the business (see, e.g., Tabard Inn Wedding
          Douche, Ranch Dressing Pizza Douche). But here, I really can’t find fault with the patron.
          On a side note, Misha’s if going to have longer lines tomorrow . . .

        • Isn’t the snarky response “how they chose to respond?” And then doubled down on it?
          I find that I am rarely, if ever on the side of the patron in situations like this – inevitably, they do something far jerkier than the business (see, e.g., Tabard Inn Wedding, Ranch Dressing Pizza). But here, I really can’t find fault with the patron.
          On a side note, Mishas is going to be packed tomorrow . . .

      • The owner has done this before over a Facebook comment:

        If you’re having an off-day, perhaps you shouldn’t be the one responding to customer reviews.

  • Is this place another hipsterish organic coffeeshop with outrageous prices for a bland café au lait ?

    • It’s Old Town, so it can’t be hispterish. But most likely organic and bland and overpriced.

      • Histerish yes. Not bland though. They are my go to when I’m in Old Town. Unique space, funky vibe. Which is why it so disappointing to hear whoever answered this email choose to act like child. They’ve always been so friendly and intuitive every time I’ve gone in. Never got a stuck up vibe from the baristas.

  • I never understand bad customer service. It is the easiest aspect of doing business. I won’t be going back there until they own it and apologize.

  • Pro tip for the business owners: Don’t assume that your young employees are capable of handling your social media. They may be “digital natives” but their brains are still developing.

    • I love this comment.

    • +1

    • This is the same rationale you use to excuse 15 yo felons! Metro beatings by inner city youth and snarky square exchanges with hipster baristas have the same root cause. Who knew? Not trying to start a fight (I swear!) – just struck me as funny. 🙂

      • Good! That was the joke.
        (NB: I have never excused metro beatings by 15 year olds. Just said that a blanket response of “throw away the key” isn’t rational or useful or the message we ought to be sending.)

  • I don’t get it. I’m not defending the coffee shop, but it takes two to tango. The customer picked up the wrong order or the coffee shop missed the proper milk dosage by a small margin and all the sudden we have coffee social justice warriors come out of the woodwork to make sure the world hears about this grave injustice?

    I’m just glad that I have better things going on with my life than to pick up a fight about something so trivial. Then again I grew up in the third world where everyday there was a real chance you might no see your loved one alive again and thus I’m unable to empathize with 1st world problems

    • I’m truly sorry your experience growing up in the third world has made you incapable of seeing the humor in a perfect shitstorm.

      • I think it’s funny that the OP has his panties in bunch over a couple of extra drops of milk. That’s about it. What I don’t think it’s funny is that s/he’s now on a crusade to bring down the business, driving the owner into bankruptcy, and leave employees jobless over this great injustice.

        • You seriously think that will happen?

        • 1. Their PR person deserves to lose their job
          2. If the other employees are so great they can always get jobs at Mishas
          3. …but this publicity will either get them more business or not change anything. Like someone said above, Old Town has a lot of tourists who will go to ESP simply because it’s there. It also has a lot of wealthy elderly people who aren’t online reading reviews. That’s why so many bad or mediocre restaurants thrive there!

        • Where did you see OP getting “his panties in a bunch over a few drops of milk”? He was asked for feedback on the shop, and in doing so, noted that he got the wrong drink. He didn’t demand a refund or act like it was some huge deal, he just stated what happened. The shop then responded extremely rudely, and OP shared the response. It’s obviously the extremely rude response that is the issue, not OP getting the wrong drink. If the shop had responded to OP’s feedback normally or not at all it would have ended there.

    • Dear Ios – I am the original poster, and I came to the US with my family as a refugee. We were at times treated very badly during our first years here for being poor and on food stamps and for having a language barrier. Now that I have a solid command of English, I refuse to be treated badly. I was asked for feedback, and I provided it. Sure, I could have left off the competition’s name. And sure, I have better things to do. I hear you on that. But there was no reason for their name calling and shaming. And they PLEADED to have their entire comments shared. I was merely obliging. Justice tastes sweet – even when it’s so minor.

      • “Justice tastes sweet?!?!” Oh gag me with a Nutella covered spoon.

      • OP might be my hero. There’s always something better to do, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a few minutes to spread the word about a bad customer service experience. “Don’t have better things to do?” drives me crazy.

    • But you take the time to leave comments on your superior world view on a neighborhood blog? You must be so enlightened.

    • “I’m just glad that I have better things going on with my life than to pick up a fight about something so trivial.” Are you sure?

    • To be fair, a cafe au lait is drip coffee with milk and a latte is espresso with milk. But your point is taken.

    • The OP’s beef wasn’t that Killer ESP messed up his/her order. The beef is that when the OP mentioned the problem on Square, the coffee shop flew off the handle.

  • Jesus, I’m with the business on this. What an obnoxious poster. Why wouldn’t you turn right around and ask them to replace your coffee? They’d have probably done it pretty quickly. Instead of being a rational, direct adult, you went the passive-aggressive route straight to social media. THEN, you went to Popville, to get extra personal. First-world problems; get over yourself, kid!

    PS: Cafe au lait and latte… Pretty darn similar. You mean you really couldn’t drink that?
    PPS: Work retail and/or food service for a bit, and maybe you’ll have some more compassion here.

    • While I totally disagree with the vibe of the shops response, I do think the customer should’ve dealt with the issue in person rather over the internet. Either they grabbed the wrong drink or the barista misheard their order. Also their original post was unnecessary antagonistic. Its one thing to complain about the drink, but the whole “i’m going to Mishas” thing at the end was petty. Not defending Killer ESP’s subsequent responses, they should’ve taken the higher road.

    • Did you read the whole thread? The feedback was solicited (via square), and when given was pretty muted. The over the top hostile response to the solicited feedback is what prompted the the prolonged interaction.

    • The OP drank the cafe au lait and went about his day until the business solicited feedback and then trashed his response. And who hasn’t worked in food service? I’m used to blaming entitled customers, but this one is all on the business.

      • +1 Don’t solicit feedback if you can’t handle it. Customer didn’t seek out an opportunity to complain, just offered honest feedback when asked.

    • I don’t see it going down that way. The OP got an order that was good enough though not perfect, and with the store being mobbed probably didn’t feel like fighting get it fixed. Later the store asked for feedback, and negative feedback is better than no feedback right? Wouldn’t the business want that information so they can improve? The OP only took it to social media when they got those hilarious responses (isn’t that what social media is for? To share funny things?).

    • It doesn’t sound like you read the post. The customer didn’t go out of his way to trash them, they asked for his feedback and then freaked out when he gave it to them.

    • This was handled wrong, but I’m siding with the business. Have been there many times and its a great place.

    • Killer ESP specifically asked that this be posted on social media.

    • I worked as a barista for years and years and this is NOT how you handle this situation. Baristas *do* make mistakes writing drinks on cups (especially when super slammed) and customers *do* on occasion grab the wrong drink. But when this happens, you offer the customer a free drink card or something, you don’t try to belittle them online! This is a wildly inappropriate response by the business.

    • You are totally mischaracterizing OP’s post. He didn’t realize the coffee was wrong until he left, and then he just drank the coffee because it’s no big deal. When asked for feedback, he gave a “neutral” review in which he mentioned that they got his order wrong. It would have ended there, but the shop escalated things with and extremely rude response, and then doubled down on their rudeness multiple times, thereby creating the sh*tstorm that is the subject of this post.

    • Formerretailworker, you should try reading the post before you take the time to comment.

  • I’m curious– does Square solicit customer’s feedback as a default or does the shop owner explicitly request it? Maybe ESP doesn’t want feedback.

  • Clueless

    It almost feels like a random person hacked into Killer ESP’s account and started trolling HARD on the customer. Really odd behavior.

  • This is awful! Is it the owner or some random low-paid employee having a bad day?

  • I’m firmly on OP’s side here and agree that the store made a mistake responding the way they did. However, I don’t like seeing people wishing the place go out of business over one mistake, which would result in people losing their jobs at no fault of their own. If their customer service truly is routinely horrible, that’s one thing. But, things sure can get blown out of proportion quickly on social media.

    • Agreed. Once again, they didn’t handle this well at all. But this seems like a blip for a place that usually rocks. And honestly the OP sounds a bit to vengence driven. In their original response to the coffee shop and now. Just say your piece and never go back! No one looks good in this case.

      • Eh- it seems like from their review they PLANNED on just saying their piece quickly, and because of the long lines and this small annoyance potentially trying a new place next time- only when the OP got a wildly inappropriate response from the business did the vengeance come into it…

      • skj84 – It’s hardly “vengeance” when a customer gives feedback when asked and the business cranks it up to 11 with its response. OP did what you recommend–drank the coffee, went on his/her way, and said his/her piece only when asked. I think most businesses would be quite content if all their customer feedback were as rational and polite as OP’s comments. Only Killer ESP looks bad here.

  • DC1

    Wow… sadly, this attitude pretty much sums up the entire “independent coffee shop” industry.
    Incredibly obnoxious and one of the main reasons I stopped doing consulting for independent coffee shops.

    • Yeah agreed. Although I usually prefer the coffee served at these places I really dislike the antisocial attitudes of the people behind the counter. It’s almost like they are told to act like turds.

  • There are things a business can do that would cause me to stop patronizing it. But an insufficiently contrite response to a botched food or drink order is not one of them – at least if I am not the one on the receiving end of the mistake. I don’t blame the OP for not patronizing this place anymore. But I don’t get other people who had no part of the experience, including some who said they are regular patrons, pledging not to go there anymore because of this incident.

  • you guys! Can I just say that this entire comments thread has cheered me up so much?! I want to laugh so hard right now, and I can’t because I’m at work! I may not agree with some of you in here from time to time, but by golly most of you are funny as hell!

  • An interaction didn’t go well (up for debate whether OP grabbed the wrong drink or a mix up with order) and Killer ESP lost the opportunity to win a customer over with a simple “We’re sorry that you got the wrong drink, come back and we’ll gladly make you what you want, on the house.” Instead they got a reputation on the internet as a bunch of caffeine fueled jerks.

    Rule number one of the internets, don’t get in a fight on social media – no one looks like a winner in the end.

    • It’s not just about the drink mix-up. The OP noted that the wait was also very long and the drink was poorly made, which would discourage a first-time customer like him from returning when there’s another coffeeshop nearby to try.
      The KESP rep chose not to take responsibility for any of it by latching on to the part of the drink mix-up, which could have been the OP’s mistake, and ignoring the things that were completely the store’s fault.

  • Allison

    If “Killer ESP” is supposed to stand for “Killer Extrasensory Perception” then the name must be ironic, because they certainly don’t have a sixth sense for customer service.

  • Gotta agree with this commenter (from the Square conversation thread linked above), I’m afraid: “This is pretty crappy customer service, but someone who picks up a drink that isn’t theirs, points out the sloppiness of foam, and then deliberately tries to get their (admittedly bad) experience to go viral in order to damage that business—that person sounds like a pretty insufferable person. Sounds like a latte drinker.”

  • I find the whole situation pretty funny. A+

  • But those Nutella Mochas though… so good.

    Damn you ESP for making me question my patronage!

  • I think we now know where the staff fired from Peter Chang’s are working.

  • I am absolutely disgusted by the general attitude that this type of behavior (on the part of the employee or owner) is okay. It is not. customers come in all types of attitude and if you cannot deal with that, you shouldn’t own a store and you shouldn’t work in a retail store. That’s all there is to it. Some customers are horrible people. Deal with it. That’s one of the reasons many people have their kids work as servers or in retail — so they learn NOT to be assholes to other people.
    But these people at Killer ESP (and so many other young, hipsterish places) seem to want to confront everyone about everything. Does anyone remember the days when we went out of our way to make the other person feel good, feel heard, feel right, even when that person was so wrong? (which is not the case here, IMO).
    The employee should lose their job and they frankly should have their name released because otherwise, off they go believing they were “right”. Congratulations, you “win” at being rude today. or you “win” because someone else wasn’t allowed to have an opinion that was different from yours. Or even you “win” because you talked back to someone.
    People, please just make your coffee at home and then half of the problems in the world could just go away.

    • HAAAAA you (meaning YOU) are the biggest DOUCHE BAG EVER (meaning – of all time). Because of you (DOUCHE BAG) I’m going to go out of my way and go to this coffee shop for some shitty overpriced something.


      P.S. Re-read (if you haven’t, or can’t) what you wrote ,then ‘look up’ the definition of irony.

  • I am on the customer’s side, though not 100%. I think it is ridiculous to feel like you have the need to respond and “rate” every experience that you have. I think Square should just stop this practice. The customer was initially neutral, and was baited into making a comment by “Square” sending out the feedback request. I ignore all of these requests to “rate” your experience. If I had a particularly bad experience, then I would contact the business directly. If I had an excellent experience then I will spread the word.

    • This is actually wrong – the idea that you should rate your experience only if it is particularly bad or particularly good. Online ratings systems are powerful because of scale; we can get a lot of information about a business’s quality if there are a lot of ratings. But research has shown that online ratings are not perfect. They tend to be biased upward (this thread notwithstanding, people tend to leave more positive feedback than negative feedback) and also can be biased because only people with extreme experiences (good or bad) leave reviews. Encouraging more people to leave reviews – even those with “meh” experiences – makes the overall reputation score for a business more accurate, which is better for everyone.

  • Sure, the coffee shop was rude and weird, but the massive internet shaming that followed was even ruder and weirder. I’m getting sick of everyone flipping out when they are slightly offended. There’s no “justice” in trying to destroy a business over a single rude exchange. Way to fly off the handle.

    • I agree that like domestic violence, internet shaming is wrong. However, this owner did the equivalent of getting in their partner’s face screaming “hit me!” It is still wrong but no one is surprised at how things unfolded.

  • What about the person who had to drink a latte instead of a cafe au lait??!!!?!?! Their day must have been ruined!!!!!!!

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