Friday, 25 July 2008

Open for business - Meet Nessa

It's early morning. Too early for Nessa. But it's her first official day as Assistant Manager at September's, so she's keen to make a good impression. Despite the fact that she is currently nursing a contender for The World's Worst Hangover™, she is determined to show Laura, her boss, that she is Management Material. Now, if only her head would stop throbbing so much, she might actually be able to find the keyhole on the front door. Hmm, things aren't boding well for a cracking first day...

All her life, Nessa wanted to work in a coffee shop. As a little girl she loved nothing better than to create elaborate tea parties for her assembled dolls, teddies and Action Men (ever the entrepreneur, Nessa had identified the lucrative male client market even at the tender age of five-and-a-half). She would spend hours drawing menus and signs to hang in her 'shop' and, whilst other little girls her age were pretending to be ballet dancers or nurses or fighter pilots (as in the case of her best friend Purdy), Nessa dreamed about making coffee and tea and baking huge, homemade cakes to sell to hungry customers.

As soon as she reached 16, Nessa found a Saturday job at Cleggs, a small bakers and café in her home town of Midswinforth. Cleggs was definitely a no-frills establishment; its custard-yellow melamine tables and plastic bench seats, designed for durability rather than comfort, were always packed with noisy families and groups of rowdy kids. Mr. Jefferies, the owner, had never heard of air-conditioning (or personal hygiene, for that matter) - so the atmosphere in Cleggs was permanently stuffy. The dishwasher never worked properly, meaning that all cutlery and crockery in the café featured the extra delight of small remains of someone else's teacake or jacket potato, along with the distinctive metallic aroma of stale water. The only coffee available was instant with hot milk, none of the metal teapots poured properly and you couldn't get a mug of anything for love nor money. But Nessa loved every minute of her day in the stifling heat of the small café, surrounded by too many pushchairs, screaming children and irascible pensioners.

After several years at college, Nessa finally entered the world of work, securing a job at a local restaurant as a waitress. Whilst the position was relatively well-paid and afforded her valuable customer service experience, Nessa still longed to work in a coffee shop. So when she saw the small ad in the Northbridge Gazette for a Coffee Shop Assistant, she applied immediately.

From the moment she stepped through the door at September's, Nessa knew she was finally in the right place. Its comfy sofas and armchairs, mismatched crockery and relaxing atmosphere were all perfect. It felt like home.

And then, after three blissful years, a heavily pregnant Laura invited Nessa to her flat above September's for lunch and asked her if she would like to become Assistant Manager.
'I need someone to take a bit more responsibility in the coffee shop, especially with this little chap due any moment. What do you think?'
'Yes. Absolutely. Count me in!'

So everything rests on this day going smoothly... If only the room would just stop spinning so much...

© Miranda Dickinson 2008


Ken Preston said...

Hi Miranda, I look forward to visiting September's again, maybe next time with a real mug of coffee in my hand to create the appropriate atmosphere!
Ken :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the story and can't wait for more. - SpChick

Anonymous said...

I was actually drinking coffee as I read this, so the atmosphere was perfect. I've had 'contender' days like those where performance is mandatory and failure is not an option. Well done, Miranda. We'll be back for a refill.


Anonymous said...

Hi Miranda,

Fantastic! Loved it! My dream is to run my own coffee shop so I have a slight bias to your work from the off :0)

Suzie xx

Patsy said...

Hmmm I like it. Can you tell us more about the food on offer, and of course describe the crockery.

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Welcome To SEPTEMBER'S...'s a coffee shop with a difference. Meet the people who work here and the customers that visit - all of them have a story to tell. So pull up a comfy chair, enjoy your coffee, maybe even indulge in something sweet - and listen to the stories that surround you...

written by Miranda Dickinson, author of Remember and The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life