Does your shop keep women waiting?

the business of coffee houses

Does your shop keep women waiting?

Postby Marshall on Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:56 am

From Slate (Nov. 10, '07):
My female colleagues don't go to coffee shops because they're shabbily treated when they get there.

That's the conclusion of American economist Caitlin Knowles Myers. She, with her students as research assistants, staked out eight coffee shops (PDF) in the Boston area and watched how long it took men and women to be served. Her conclusion: Men get their coffee 20 seconds earlier than do women. (There is also evidence that blacks wait longer than whites, the young wait longer than the old, and the ugly wait longer than the beautiful. But these effects are statistically not as persuasive.)


See http://www.slate.com/id/2177697/.
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Postby Jim Saborio on Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:45 am

Hmmm...

They wait longer for public restrooms too... maybe they should boycott those as well.

Women are more likely to return poorly made drinks than men... maybe the extra time has something to do with more care being taken.

But let's give humanity the benefit of the doubt, here. The conclusions of the "research" are pretty bleak pseudoscience.

No?
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Postby Ryan Willbur on Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:11 am

Dude, I'm definitely more likely to push men down my line... but if it's a woman, then it's a much more slow process... Just so I can have more time to interact with them...
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Postby onocoffee on Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:21 am

Something like this happened to me yesterday while working the 4th machine at the NWRBC.

I had a bit of a line waiting and several people kept coming up to get whatever beverage they wanted. Meanwhile, one of the Lava Java baristas was patiently waiting while these other people, essentially, cut the line in front of her.

I was busy trying to make sense of the bar and get things dialed in and tidy - so I didn't really pay cloe attention to the line, its' flow and who was here first. After a while, I just noticed that she had been standing there for some time.

Finally, I got through the people who were jumping ahead and was able to turn my full attention to her. I apologized for taking so long to attend to her beverage and spent extra time and attention on her drinks since she had been so patient.

It wasn't intentional to serve the others ahead of her, but I have to admit that, like Ryan, it was enjoyable chatting with her for those few moments and may not have prepared those drinks as fast as I would have normally...
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Postby phaelon56 on Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:09 am

I found the article to be ludicrous as it is so seriously short of tangible facts.

Without consistent reference points and direct A to A and B to B comparisons - not to mention a control group - it's a waste of ink, paper, pixels and reading time (all swipes at the authors of the study - not at Marshall for posting it.
It is not clear whether women were held up by male staff because the men viewed them with contempt or because the male staff members were flirting furiously. The "contempt" explanation seems more likely, as the extra time that women have to wait seems to increase when the coffee shop is busy. Who would take extra time out to flirt just when the lines are longer?


I can't speak for other shops but the folks I work for have four stores and about 15 front line employees - only three of whom are male. One of those men is me.

Based only on my own totally subjective experience I can state definitively that any customer who is in a hurry, has their money out and ready to go, states their order as they step up to the counter, and is not inclined to engage in any small talk - will have a shorter wait time than anyone else.

This assumes the elapsed time to be from the moment their "turn" comes to the moment they have change or a credit card receipt in hand and the next customer has engaged me.

Gender is really irrelevant.
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Postby Peter Van de Reep on Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:46 pm

phaelon56 wrote:Based only on my own totally subjective experience I can state definitively that any customer who is in a hurry, has their money out and ready to go, states their order as they step up to the counter, and is not inclined to engage in any small talk - will have a shorter wait time than anyone else.

This assumes the elapsed time to be from the moment their "turn" comes to the moment they have change or a credit card receipt in hand and the next customer has engaged me.

Gender is really irrelevant.


Well stated. Most of the time because I'll be so busy on bar I won't even know the gender of the order.

Funny thing too is I actually know one of the authors of the paper quite well. According to a bit of a disclaimer in the intro, this is simply a pilot that came out of an undergrad discussion seminar, not a well funded study. I'm rather surprised Slate paid any attention to this little pdf.
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