I like to support this neighborhood place; its owners are nice people and do a lot of animal rescue, which is to be admired.
But here was my experience on a quiet Sunday morning: A new big-screen TV is on nonstop, although no one is watching, and a new barista had the music up so loud that you couldn't read or work. A big man, he plays in a boomer rock band, and the speakers point toward the customers and not behind the counter so he misjudges how loud the otherwise well-chosen music is.
When I asked the female barista if they could take the otherwise very good tunes down a notch, the male barista yelled ""Boooooorrrriiiiiiing!"" And the volume went back up within the next half hour.
It seems like this bigger-than-life barista fellow has mistaken the coffeehouse for a personal performance space. He ""entertains"" by loudly singing cover songs while he works and creates a nonstop ""pay attention to me"" presence that veers into the disruptive for customers who seek the normal space to think, work or converse with each other. We frequently couldn't hear each other over his high-volume antics (""You don't KNOW the HONEY-BADGER!? From YouTube?...."" at 15-minute intervals.)
For some reason today (at 11 am), this Falstaffian fellow decided he would clean the windows directly next to where my group of three was reading (he's large and basically 1-2 feet away, with mid-riff etc at our head level, rubbing vigorously), and when nicely asked if he might finish up later or when no one was sitting there, he cheerfully (passive-aggressively?) told us he could not stop until he had finished every pane on a floor-to-ceiling, 15-foot-wide roll-up door.
Then he came and plopped down in a couch next to us and talked about how tired he was.
He revived—only to return, bent on an aggressive and prolonged carpet sweeping around our feet and belongings, despite the lack of any reason or urgent need for cleanup in that area, stirring up a cloud of dust from the wall-to-wall carpet right next to our lattes (on low tables). All three of us, including a nice 85-year-old Dunthorpe lady who was reading a New York Times, asked if he could please clean when customers weren't sitting there. He refused, laughed at us, and said, ""You can get up and help me,"" and ""A little dirt's good for you.""
As if to make a point, he then did the most thorough cleaning imaginable within 3-6 feet of our food and reading space, moving the tables and chairs closest to us as if to extend his carpet-sweeping frenzy. I haven't ever seen an employee carpet sweep or vacuum under customers unless there was a spill.
This once-comfortable place has just gotten strange lately, or maybe forgotten its manners and the wonderful customer-oriented focus that so many of its past baristas excelled at. This is a place where I used to drop a little gift to my two favorite baristas (different ones over the years) as a thank you at the holidays. Now I feel like a fool when I tip their Sunday crew!