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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How to Win a Negotiation without Going Postal

I remember the time I had a few minutes to spare between showing appointments. I asked my buyer if he would like a cup of coffee. He said yes. So I drove over to Sandy's Cafe at the corner of White at Virginia Streets in Key West. I had been at Sandy's at about the same time the day before. The guy behind the counter who waited on me then was helping another customer. A new guy behind the counter asked me what I wanted.

I said "One small cafe con leche with two sugars and a decaf." He asked "Sugar?" and I said sugar in the con leche but not the decaf. He walks to the coffee machines and starts the laborious process of freshly brewing coffee just for me. He bangs the machine, cleans something, adds coffee, turns on the machine, grabs the machine and fiercely jerks it. He removes the small coffee brewer and pours hot coffee into a small white Styrofoam cup. He then added the milk and sugar and then put on a ilid. He placed the cup in front of me. He looked at me whereupon I asked where the decaf was. He said "We only have decaf for con leche decaf." I replied I did not want the decaf con leche, only the decaf. He removed the coffee can from the shelf over the coffee machines as if to prove to me that he did indeed have decaf coffee. But then he said they do not sell decaf coffee, only decaf con leche.

Since I ordered exactly the same thing the day before with no trouble at all, I was perplexed by my inability to get it a day later. I did not lose my cool. Instead, I remembered how Jack Nicholson dealt with a similar situation many years ago in the movie Five Easy Pieces.  Jack Nicholson's character (Dupea) was in a diner and tried to order plain wheat toast which wass not on the menu but which could easily be made.
Dupea:  I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee, and wheat toast.
Waitress:  No substitutions.
Dupea:  What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?
WaitressOnly what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelette. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.
Dupea:  Yeah, I know what it comes with. But it's not what I want.
Waitress:  Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind.
Dupea:  Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelet, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee, and a side order of wheat toast.
Waitress:  I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of English muffin or a coffee roll.
Dupea:  What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you?
Waitress:  Would you like to talk to the manager?
Dupea:  ...You've got bread and a toaster of some kind?
Waitress:  I don't make the rules.
Dupea:  OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Waitress:  A number two, chicken sal san, hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Dupea:  Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
Waitress:  You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
Dupea:  I want you to hold it between your knees.
Waitress:  Do you see that sign, sir? Yes, you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm.
Dupea:  You see this sign? [He sweeps all the water glasses and menus off the table]

I got the decaf without the con leche.  And I didn't have to postal.


Anonymous said...

I prefer Cuban Coffee Queen. Don't get me wrong, I like Sandy's, just prefer CCQ

Anonymous said...

Still better than Starbucks....Key West Jay

Al said...

Probably my favorite Jack Nicholson moment of all times. I go to Sandy's because they go through all the trouble you mentioned to make a great con leche. I went to another, highly advertised coffee truck (which shall remain unnamed, at least by me^), and when I ordered a con leche, they poured pre-made espresso out of a coffee butler into a cup and added milk from another coffee butler. Sorry, but I won't go there again - I like it freshly brewed like Sandy's makes.

Al said...

And - Sandy's is only a 2 block walk from our "future retirement home" on Virginia Street - Thanks, Gary!

FloridaAG said...

Sandys also has good chicken tacos and I highly recommend their Chicken Fajita sandwich and chicken fajita omelette.

Gary Thomas said...

I like taking buyers there. It is as big (or small) a part of Key West as just about any other place.

After Wilma in 2005 word spread around town that Sandy's was open and serving real hot coffee. Everybody was there.


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.