Filed Under (Business, Houston, Rants) by Sean on October 10th, 2008 at 8:47 pm

(UPDATE) I wanted to take a moment to update this post, since it has been almost three weeks since it was originally authored. We’ve had a virtual group hug through this post, evidenced in the comments below. Let me restate the obvious: Max’s coffee and coffee drinks are the best in Houston,  probably in the top 10% of coffee shops on the planet. I do have to admit I haven’t been back to Catalina yet, but I will be paying Max a visit very soon (mostly to get some beans now that I’ve finally settled into my new place, with espresso machine). Lest there be any doubt, I will frequent Catalina for its off-the-charts lattes and coffee, albeit less frequently than before. The reason for that actually has to do more with my commute and proximity since moving than the fact that Max and I had a tiff or that his electrical outlets are still covered up (and yes, they are still covered up). If I were Max, I wouldn’t have covered the outlets, but it’s his shop and he can do whatever he damn well pleases. And that’s fine by me. Just don’t fuck with the coffee.

As many of my followers know, Catalina Coffee is one of my favorite coffee shops and hang outs. In my opinion, it epitomizes cafe culture (albeit a unique American variant) and has, bar none, the best coffee in Houston, period. In many cases, like many regulars there, I’ll make it by more than once in a day. I’m very sad to say, however, I had an extremely unpleasant experience today.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, it has been extremely difficult to come upon a coffee shop (or anywhere, for that matter) with a) power, b) coffee, and c) wireless Internet access. Catalina was one of the only places in Houston to offer all three, and they did so the day after Ike made it’s appearance in our fair city. None of the local Starbucks were open, and other local coffee shops (Coffee Groundz) that were either had bad coffee, no Internet, or both.

When word got out, Catalina quickly became overwhelmed with new business from Houstonians needing their caffeine fix. It also served as a command center and refuge for many citizens who had no power or Internet at home, who wanted to check the latest status updates from Centerpoint Energy, check on loved ones, and generally go about their business online. Consequently, long lines for coffee and tables overcrowded with laptops became the norm.

Though I’ve made a few appearances at Catalina after the storm for coffee, today I arrived with my fully discharged laptop needing to catch up on a couple of mundane tasks, including paying a few bills and moving utility services to my new residence (incidentally, my old place has power but no Internet; my new place has no power). I was surprised to see all the power outlets had metal plates over them. Suspecting this was a result of Ike-related water damage or some other such safety issue, I inquired when the outlets would be available again. Max (the proprietor) responded, “Never.” He stated the reason was that the environment was getting mob-like and out of control over the last few days as “people were fighting over power outlets” and things of that sort. While I certainly understand the need to mitigate unruly behavior, there are many other ways to go about it. I do have to tip my hat to Max for his ingenuity in solving the supposed “problem;” it was extremely effective. The problem is it unnecessarily penalizes legitimate, regular customers who spend lots of money on coffee and conduct their affairs online. To add insult to injury, he decides to use this “solution” during a time of crisis and when people need to use it the most. It smacks of reactionary behavior and poor business citizenry in the least.  After debating the issue with Max for a few minutes, I seem to have unearthed some far deeper rooted issues that apparently vex Max. I’ll reiterate some of our discourse and let you be the judge.

After getting the “never” response from Max to my question about when we would expect to get the power outlets back (assuming this was a short term fix, even if it was extremely poor timing given the current situation post-Ike), I politely stated that I needed to get some things done on occasion, along with a subtle allusion to my regularity and largesse (not only do I spend lots of money on coffee and am always careful to not take up space unless I’m buying things along the way, but I tip extremely healthy and have referred lots of new people to the establishment).  He said, “bring another battery.” I told him that wasn’t an acceptable solution (a) I don’t have another battery, and b) where am I supposed to have charged these batteries especially if I don’t have power?). His shocked response to that was, “Unacceptable? Are you fucking kidding me? Unacceptable. I can’t believe that.” I told him that especially after Ike in a time of crisis I thought he was betraying his customers’ trust. He stated that he was “tired of people abusing my space. Cafe culture is not sitting down at a coffee shop for three hours.” Really? Are you kidding me? I suppose you have never sat down in a Parisian cafe then. Incredulous and stunned to that response, I told him that I thought the defition of cafe culture was different for everyone and that one should err on the side of what your customers wanted it to be. His response? “Customers? I don’t care what customers want. What matters is what I want. I opened my own shop because of that.” I asked him if he had thought of better ways to address the problem. His very cavalier response was that he had solved the problem and wasn’t really interested in discussing the subject any further. I told him that he was curing cancer by killing cancer patients and there certainly were better ways of addressing the problem.

I have tremendous respect for Max, his craft and his business acumen. He runs a very tight ship that produces a superior product and spares no expense nor takes any short cuts to achieve it. That is a very rare quality that I think more businesses should adopt. I also absolutely appreciate running your own business on your terms and not doing things the way everyone else does. I respect his ingenuity in his approach to the problem, but it is akin to solving email spam by simply only accepting 1 out of 1000 emails to your inbox, regardless of content. If his problem is slim margins from not turning over enough tables, he should address the business model accordingly and raise prices, or charge for wifi, or establish minimums. Ripping out the rug from under customers and biting the hands that feed him is not the proper solution. I am troubled by Catalina’s “solution” on two fronts: 1., the “solution” itself, and 2., the arrogant, cavalier attitude exhibited about the “problem.” I wasn’t aware that working quietly on my laptop for a few hours and spending $20 while I’m there in one sitting was “abusing his space.” In 20 years of starting and running small businesses, I do understand the importance of “firing” bad customers and mitigating abuse. By the same token, however, I have always found it extremely beneficial to the bottom line to err on giving customers the benefit of the doubt and applying the golden rule in abundance. That this decision comes in the highest time of need, makes it especially pernicious.

What do you think?

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Comments
Brent Ozar on September 20th, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

While he’s at it, why not remove the tables so people can’t lay out newspapers? In fact, why not just remove the chairs? Heck, turn it into a drive-through. Nobody walks to Catalina anyway. Ugh. I’m over that place.

Cortney Martin on September 20th, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

Great post, Sean. I appreciate that you spoke up on behalf of the customers, and can’t believe the kind of response you got.

When Ike is fully a thing of the past and people have a wider variety of coffee shops from which to choose, there won’t be any reason for people to choose Catalina – apart from good coffee, and honestly, coffee elsewhere is “good enough.”

http://www.twitter.com/cmartin82

Jamie on September 20th, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

This is pretty surprising to learn about. I am hoping that this is more a case of Max acting out his post-Ike mental breakdown (we’re all having these, right?) rather than a true permanent solution he intends to enforce from here on out.

I love Catalina! Only been there twice so far, but am hoping to go back very soon. And right, your Catalina tweets are the main reason I ever checked it out in the first place. Max just needs to stick with decaf for a while and I’m sure he’ll be fine. Or something.

Marla on September 20th, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

ewww, this is so not good. Sounds like he has been taking pointers from the folks over at Brasil.

I have only been to Catalina once, and since his attitude sounds so close to that other jackass at Brasil, then count me out.

Good post, thanks for sharing.

Jeremey Barrett on September 21st, 2008 at 6:05 am #

As Sean said, Max is very serious about his craft and about what he wants from his shop, to the point that he has reduced his menu and eliminated “commonly popular” items that didn’t fit his vision. If he doesn’t want people camping longer than their batteries will allow, that’s up to him. I’m not going to go elsewhere for coffee because I can’t plug in. Having said that, I think he’d get a lot more people on his side by explaining and educating rather than being abrasive and offended. But I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt re: the attitude and chalk it up (at least somewhat) to post-Ike stress.

The coffee at Catalina blows away anything else in the city so far, and that’s why I go.

Maybe Max will be approachable when things die down, if there’s a good alternative that solves his problem and is better for customers. But even if not, I don’t plan to seek coffee anywhere else.

John Little on September 21st, 2008 at 11:47 am #

I don’t support business owners who treat their customers this way.

There’s plenty of good coffee in this town and some of it is served by establishments that go out of their way to support their customers and neighborhoods. I’m more than happy to buy my coffee from them.

KC on September 21st, 2008 at 11:56 am #

I suspect it was the sorry behavior of unruly people wanting to plug in their computers that caused this.

Brent Ozar on September 21st, 2008 at 12:49 pm #

KC – I can vouch that it wasn’t the “sorry behavior of unruly people wanting to plug in their computers that caused this.” The morning before they covered up the outlets, I was there with my laptop. I bought two cappuccinos in a row, and right after I bought the second one, the staff announced that they were shutting off the WiFi to get people to leave. I looked around, and there were at least half a dozen empty seats with power adapters, and only one person in line for drinks. They weren’t shutting off WiFi because they HAD to – they were doing it because they WANTED to. I would have supported them if they were out of seats for paying customers, but that just wasn’t the case. They are on a power trip – or a shut-off-the-power trip, I suppose.

[...] are dealing with at home.  I’ll allow Sean Stoner to explain in his own words, as he did in a blog post yesterday (emphasis is mine): As many of my followers know, Catalina Coffee is one of my favorite coffee [...]

laanba on September 21st, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

I can’t believe a business would act like this in the middle of an emergency. I’m still without Internet and will be venturing out later today, but now Catalina that was at the top of my list is off my list. They say you find out about people when the chips are down. I guess that is very true in this case.

Ben on September 21st, 2008 at 2:30 pm #

“I told him that wasn’t an acceptable solution”
Actually I heard you did a little more than that didn’t you?

Grow up and get over it dude, the Hurricane doesn’t give you the right to be an jerk. You were way out of line.

Fayza on September 21st, 2008 at 2:55 pm #

I’ll be at Antidote, if you need me. It’ll be like Catalina doesn’t even exist! Wow, that won’t be hard, considering there are so many alternatives in Houston. Nice knowing you, Catalina!

Jerri on September 21st, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

I went to Catalina today to see for myself. I see why this is frustrating and it does seem like Max is being insensitive in a time of crisis. There are two sides to every story though and I have a feeling Max was feeling taken advantage of and doing what he though was best at the time. I like Catalina and don’t want to boycott the best coffee house in Houston because of this incident. I hope in time a reasonable explanation will come forth.

Ben LaGrone on September 21st, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

I try really hard to teach my young daughter to share, but then again I also teach her not to cry like a little baby when some one won’t share with her.

your sense of entitlement is distorted and repugnant.
Basicly what you are doing here is trying to hurt Maxes business because he had the balls to stand up to the people who thought it was ok to mooch off his electricity for hours on end. you said it in your entry yourself, you showed up to leech his free internet and power, not to buy coffee. Ever heard of a library, it is tax funded. So you could have taken your sense of entitlement there.

I hope you don’t ever show your mean-spirited and cowardly face at Catalina again, you’d make my latte curdle.

Jeremey Barrett on September 21st, 2008 at 6:44 pm #

@Jerri exactly. I think you guys are blowing this out of proportion and being stubborn and unforgiving, which is pretty much the very thing you’re complaining about. Obviously you have to make up your own minds, but the “Ike stress factor” goes both ways. If you expect Max to cut everyone some slack due to Ike, maybe consider doing the same for him.

Brent Ozar on September 21st, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

Ben – we did take our sense of entitlement elsewhere. I’m typing this from Coffee Groundz in midtown, and hilariously, Sean just walked in! I’m not a cheerleader for any particular business, but the people at Groundz not only have outlets all over the place, but they advertise how friendly they are to remote workers.

Your comment talks about “mooching off electricity” – but note that Max didn’t say anything about that to either Sean or me. In both cases, he just wanted customers out. He got his wish.

Jeremey Barrett on September 21st, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

@Brent Coffee Groundz is a good spot for working, but I would still drive over to Catalina for coffee. :) It’s a shame what passes for coffee at most places.

Brent Ozar on September 21st, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

@Jeremey you’re totally right – Max’s coffee is an eye-opener in more ways than one. I would go there when I want coffee and I don’t have my laptop with me, but that’s pretty rare….

Sean on September 21st, 2008 at 7:34 pm #

@Ben – Wow. That is about all I can muster from your comments. They distort the facts and are so presumptuous they’re laughable. I wasn’t leeching off anything at all. I ordered my latte when I walked in, as always. I’m certain I’m in Catalina’s top quartile of spending customers if not higher. Ask Max. I’ve been ridiculously loyal as a customer. I’ve referred tons of new business to Catalina using my sphere of influence. I’ve spent lots of money there. I’m not trying to hurt Max’s business at all. I’m trying to address a much larger issue, which has apparently been lost on you. Mayor White called upon us as citizens to reach out to neighbors and help in any way they can. Companies like Panera bread were even so proactive about their community participation they encouraged people to come and “leech” their electricity to charge phones, laptops and otherwise use their facilities to reach out to loved ones and conduct their affairs even if they didn’t spend a single dime.

This was a huge win-win opportunity that Max had to do something for the greater good and gain a huge new loyal base of customers, and it was squandered. I’ve found it’s very important to check your ego at the door as an entrepreneur and pull the occasional stick out of your ass. If Max wants to serve coffee for his buddies, then he could do that a lot cheaper at home.

To address your first comment, my exact words were, “that’s unacceptable.” There wasn’t anything out of line about it. Your abundant use of pejorative labels like “cowardly” and “repugnant” and talk about growing up and all that inane nonsense only indicates that you should probably look in a mirror sometime. I was trying to have a balanced, honest discussion about a larger issue and waxed high praise on Max with every opportunity; this wasn’t intended to be a troll post by any stretch nor make it a bigger issue than it is. It seems you’ve got that job covered enough for both of us.

Bobby Warren on September 21st, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

I, too, am amazed at the responses of the few who find Sean’s post to somehow embody some wrongful sense of entitlement. He clearly sought to give Max the benefit of the doubt, only to have that doubt dashed when Max made it clear that his customers are an afterthought.

As a small business owner myself, I would be out of business if I treated my clients in such a manner. Perhaps Catalina’s reputation for great coffee affords Max the ability to act in such a way, but I think that will only last so long.

Ultimately, without a loyal base of customers, his business will suffer. I don’t see his attitude lasting long when brought to light by Sean and others.

Scott Dalferes on September 21st, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

“I’ve referred tons of new business to Catalina using my sphere of influence” it’s true – the only reason I went there for coffee is because I saw you went there so often.

myra on September 21st, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

I also witnessed this first hand on two occasions after Ike. The staff was annoyed at all the people taking up the outlets and tables and it showed in their attitude. It was bad experience all around. Definitely disappointing since I am a pretty regular customer and live a few minutes away.

Catalina could have used this as an opportunity to earn a lot of good will from a community that needed a little help. People remember good will. People will remember places that were a refuge for them during a very stressful/trying time. People will reward such businesses with long term loyalty.

It hurt me to see the Catalina staff act SO offended at (paying) customers who needed a little internet access. This will definitely make me consider the other options in town.

Ben LaGrone on September 21st, 2008 at 10:31 pm #

Yeah right; Everyone should “give according their ability and receive according to their needs”

Sean, your entry could have been written by Ellsworth M. Toohey himself.

andy rand on September 22nd, 2008 at 3:21 am #

Ben:
your Toohey comment was frickin hilarious

Max Gonzalez on September 22nd, 2008 at 8:50 am #

“Are you fucking kidding me?”, yes it’s true that those were the words I used, I even went on to say a few more expletives that Sean omitted. The quotes weren’t all exact, but mainly on target.
We were able to open Catalina Coffee on Sunday after the storm, since we were fortunate enough to have power and a cafe to operate. We provided free wi-fi and electricity inside the cafe for the first 6 days. After quite a few people were absolutely unruly and downright disrespectful of my cafe and my other customers, I decided we had enough. I built my reputation by making great coffee and having top notch customer service. Most of you know my name because I have sat with you and enjoyed coffee and conversation. Sean, I have appreciated your loyalty and patronage as long as you have been a customer. Let’s set the record straight though. The morning of this incident, you didn’t ask me much, instead you yelled at me while I had a cafe full of customers and a line of more customers that I was trying to serve. That my friend is “UNACCEPTABLE”. If you think you are stressed, try dealing with over three thousand people that are just as stressed. If things didn’t occur in the manner in which they did, I would have politely let you know that we capped the plugs inside the cafe because of the zoo it had become and that there were charging stations set up in front of the cafe. My duty to my customers is to make sure I have a functioning cafe. With so many people overwhelming my facility it began losing it’s functionality and we began losing our cool. For those customers that experienced my frustrations, I am sincerely apologetic, but no one has the right to question my service to the community. The following is what we did at Catalina for our community:

We provided free wi-fi and electricty for anyone and everyone (after making the decision to cap the plugs, we set up charging stations in front of the cafe where the wi-fi signal is still strong, oh and by the way, some jerk stole one of our power strips).

For anyone that did not have money, we gave them coffee any way.

Our bakery has not been able to resume operations, so we have no pastries. I provided anyone that was desperately hungry with granola bars and water (for free)

I worked as hard as I could to take care of peoples needs, and quite honestly my feet are a bit numb from standing for so many hours. Those of you who know me, know that I work as hard, if not harder than any one of my employees. I guess it is easy to over look all the good that people do and definitely more entertaining to criticize them. You can have what ever opinion you want of me, but I have one question for everyone. What did you do to help your community?

The way people are acting, you would think we got hit by a hurricane or something.

We still have free wi-fi and electricity for anyone who wants it. If you have an extra power strip we are short one.

-Max

Jeremey Barrett on September 22nd, 2008 at 9:04 am #

Max, thanks for setting the record straight!

Catalina Responds « she eats. on September 22nd, 2008 at 9:22 am #

[...] You can read the rest of the comment here. [...]

Sean on September 22nd, 2008 at 9:41 am #

Max, thanks for weighing in here and bringing attention to your position and letting readers and me know the outstanding actions you took for the community in the wake of the storm. To be perfectly honest, I was surprised at the amount of feedback and readers this post garnered; it goes to show how people are very serious about their coffee! This is just my own personal soap box where I rant about things that piss me off. It is certainly not “The New York Banner.” I suppose the response demonstrates the power of social media. It is my sincerest hope that this blog post started a public conversation that gave customers some room to vent, and consequently a place for you to address those concerns out in the open. I believe this a better venue than simply me venting privately to friends and feeling slighted and never giving you the chance to reciprocate.

To my readers, I hope past customers welcome Max’s response and go back. Take your friends. To people thinking about trying Catalina for the first time, please go check it out and enjoy the finest cup of coffee you have ever had. This is especially true of milk beverages such as lattes; you will be wondering after the first sip how you have been tolerating the crap they serve at Starbucks and other coffee shops. There is no hyperbole here – It really is that much better.

Ben, while I thought your Toohey reference was clever, you can see nothing can be further from the truth.

Dan on September 22nd, 2008 at 10:37 am #

The unexpectedly large number of comments is just more evidence of how anything posted on the Internet is NOT private.

And, I cannot resist observing that this episode appears to be a fine example of people slipping down Maslow’s pyramid in times of stress.

Ben LaGrone on September 22nd, 2008 at 11:11 am #

I wouldn’t have felt the need to comment, but this post was being activelly promoted in social networking sites. I think it’s unfortunate, Sean that you could have spoken to Max about this in person, but instead it appears to me you chose the route of character asssassination and libel. and it’s not as if the post was left to linger in obscurity, it was being promoted.

I’m happy though, that Max had the opportunity to defend himself. This guy works hard to provide a high level of product and service and it appears you guys treated him like a “common carrier”.

I don’t want to keep arguing on the internet, because as we all know it’s like competing in the Special Olympics, even if you win, you’re still retarded.

I’d be happy to carry the conversation on in person with anyone.

Sean on September 22nd, 2008 at 11:31 am #

Ben,

Agreed on putting issue to rest. However I did not assassinate anyone’s character nor was libelous in any way whatsoever. Ultimately I believe this will result in increased business and new loyal customers at Catalina. That is a good thing.

Ben LaGrone on September 22nd, 2008 at 12:02 pm #

Sean,

Thanks for allowing a forum for people to offer dissenting points of view.

Mary on September 22nd, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

Now, if you all could spend this much energy powering up my home, I think it would be much more productive.

Albert on September 22nd, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

Interesting. Two totally different takes on what happened. Is Max sincere, or is this damage control done after the fact? Anyone else have any personal experience with what happened?

Crystal on September 22nd, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

Haha.. wow. That was dramalicious.

Anyways, here was my experience yesterday.

Farrah (friend from yelp.com) referred me to Catalina saying that it was usually pretty quiet and had free wifi. Score! And seeing how I had driven around the Trose aimlessly finding that place after place was either closed or packed (Inversion closed, Agora packed) I opted to try Catalina out.

To be honest, I don’t even drink coffee so i wasn’t interested in that. I wanted something to eat, and something to drink, and a place to get some studying done. I was so sad when I noticed that there was no food. I think I even asked a couple times over like,”really? you don’t have anything?” and the chick behind the counter was a little short with me in responding “NO”. But whatever, I understand they were probably overwhelmed. So I got a Chai Latte and sat down to do some work. BTW, I never even tried to plug in, laptop was charged and I didn’t need to use it for very long, so no prob there.

Anyhoo, some guy came up to me (must of been Max) and said he had a granola bar for the desperately hungry. He made my freaking day. I was starved! I thought that was awesome and I even thanked him on the way out. Yay Max for that. Until they give me a reason not to come back, I’ll go again.

Oh and he asked me which flavor granola bar I wanted (he had original and peanut butter), I said it didn’t matter and he gave me the peanut butter. I secretly wanted the peanut butter, so Kudos. =)

@labanjohnson on September 22nd, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

My first thought when I read Sean’s original post was I wonder if thats how it happened, and whats the other side of the story? There are two sides of course to each story. I think it is always appropriate for anyone to express their opinions and feelings, my grandfather and probably yours fought for these freedoms. I am also glad that Max was able to chime in and answer, and as long as people read the entire story they’ll enjoy the happy ending. Practically everyone in Houston was at their wits end at the point in time. Fatigue and espresso often == snappy! :) Anyway, some argue that any publicity is good publicity, and I think Max’s response was highly effective. Kudos all around. Time for coffee.

Morgan on September 22nd, 2008 at 10:03 pm #

As a former worker in the service industry I know there are a lot of idiot customers out there. I can only imagine how many of them stayed in Houston and set up camp in any place with power and a chair with a $1.25 house coffee for 4 hours of blogging.

Christine on September 23rd, 2008 at 8:37 am #

“With so many people overwhelming my facility it began losing it’s functionality and we began losing our cool.”

Maybe that was the problem? I don’t know about everyone else, but most things in my world haven’t been functioning as normal since Ike. Not yet. Instead of losing your cool, why not embrace the change, be a hero, and then wait for normal to return?

I’m sorry — but for anyone to say that they don’t care what their customers want or need just irritates me. Sure, you opened your own business so you could run things the way you want … but you have nothing to run if you have no customers. At that point, you may as well sit in your kitchen and make coffee for yourself.

I’m just glad my local Panera had not only power and free wifi, but power strips at most outlets for people to use. We bought breakfast and lunch there for 3 people, and enjoyed the wifi in the several hours we were there getting work done. I will sing their praises for a long time.

To those that complained that this post was promoted … well, like the change described above post-Ike, there are changes in how people do business now thanks to social media. If you’re on the social media sites, you should be well aware of it. We’re all happy when we use it to our own benefit, but complain if you don’t like how it is used? Welcome to the new world of business. Adapt and accept it. Otherwise most of us wouldn’t be online.

Andrew Eller on September 23rd, 2008 at 9:29 am #

I’m rarely on the internet reading conversations back and forth. I like to check different blogs to get ideas of “Hidden Gems” to visit when I have spare time….

That said I’m extremely happy I read this one… It’s more entertaining than anything on TV or the radio… and in the end, it seems everyone has kissed and made up…

@ BEN & MAX exactly… no publicity is Bad publicity… I’m no coffe snob, I hardly like coffe except when I lived in Florance Italy and a couple of times here in the US, I guess because most of the coffee around here sucks. I will certainly be trying your shjop the next time I am in the area, hopefully I’ll realize that I do like coffee and that it’s just the beans around here, not everywhere.

Ms. Pants on September 23rd, 2008 at 10:12 am #

Like Christine (hi Christine!) my main issue with this whole thing isn’t that he covered the outlets or even why he covered the outlets. It was this quote:

“Customers? I don’t care what customers want. What matters is what I want. I opened my own shop because of that.”

Customers are what *keeps* your shop open. You owe your livelihood to your customers.

This one little utterance is enough to keep me from ever setting foot in Catalina again.

Mister Pants on September 23rd, 2008 at 11:46 am #

It’s funny how Sean and his twitterhead friends are now posturing that they’ve created value for Max with the publicity. Sheesh.

Hey Max, keep up the good work.

jon on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

I have a couple of battery backups and a solar charger I used to keep my phone and laptop charged. I also was able to juice up some neighbors phones.

The point is, I didn’t have your problem because I took some simple measures to be prepared. Why is it that you are flaming Max when it was you who was not acting responsible.

I stopped by Catalina for coffee last week and it was a zoo. There were more chairs taken by laptop bags than people. There was no room to sit.

Zombie on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

It’s funny how Sean and the twitterheads are now posturing to have created something of value for Max by the publicity.

You oughta send him an invoice.

jon on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

By the way Panera bread is a large publicly held company.
http://finance.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:PNRA
Catalina is a small business owned by a working schlep who busts his butt to serve really good espresso.

Sean on September 23rd, 2008 at 1:20 pm #

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As far as I’m concerned, this issue is closed and some of the comments are beginning to have diminishing returns.

The whole situation was a basic misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion due to lots of stress caused by extenuating circumstances. We’re all human. Max, in a very lucid and clear response, articulated his community service post-Ike and sincerely apologized to those who became frustrated due to these circumstances. If I haven’t been clear enough, let me also explicitly personally apologize to Max and all the other patrons and employees at Catalina for my outburst. It was not intended to have the outcome it did for certain. I don’t think either of us would have made the comments we would have made had it not been for the craziness that ensued after Ike. And to put a fine point on it, had I been at Starbucks or any other coffee shop in town and the power outlets were covered up, I would have quietly left and gone elsewhere. That I got a little bent out of shape speaks to my loyalty to the establishment; I felt personally betrayed for a moment, yet again in hindsight it was merely the circumstances that caused our tete-a-tete and overreactions. I don’t think I’m over-stepping my bounds if I were to say things are cool between me and Catalina and I will continue to be a loyal patron and I hope you will too (if not already). As they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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