When I moved into the Gastown area in February, I was really happy to discover JJ Bean in the Woodwards building. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’m a vegan, and they had two kinds of vegan muffins. It’s often slim pickings in this respect in Vancouver, so I made a habit of stopping by on my way to work. Probably not the best habit, because the cost starts to add up.
Although I appeared almost every morning for a couple of months, there never seemed to be a glimmer of recognition from the staff. They were not unpleasant, but not really enthusiastic, either. One day in April I was looking through my receipts when I got home, and discovered that I’d been charged $4.10 rather than the usual $2.25, so the next morning I took my receipt in and pointed this out. I expected a quick fix, but instead the fellow, one of those whom I think had been there pretty much every morning, started arguing with me about it. I wasn’t belligerent, but just pointed out that I’d been overcharged and had only bought a muffin, even though my receipt just showed the total amount. At a certain point, he appeared to get frustrated or lose interest, and walked away. I was surprised that I’d caused such controversy over $1.85, particularly as I thought someone might have recalled that I had been coming in like clockwork on weekdays, and sometimes on weekends. Ultimately I was given another muffin, and told that in future I should keep an itemized receipt. I know that cities can be anonymous places, but I’m certainly not going to go to the effort to ask for, and keep, a book of itemized receipts from a coffee shop just in case I’m overcharged for a two dollar item.
This experience tipped the scales: getting a snack should be enjoyable, of course; but I also realized that I could just as easily make myself something for breakfast. Maybe I’ll learn to make muffins. I haven’t been back to JJ Bean.