Never Wait In Line Again: Real Life Jedi Mind Tricks
There are many benefits to being a regular at any given establishment. Better service, discount pricing, the ability to skip lines. It’s like being a preferred airline customer. There’s only one problem: It takes too damn long to become a regular. Rachel, Ross, and the rest of the Friends gang were regulars at Central Perk, but they were habitually late to work at least once a week over the course of 10 YEARS! George Wendt was a regular at Cheers, but he only patronized ONE bar for 11 seasons. It doesn’t have to take this long. Read on for my fast tracked guide to becoming a regular in just 3 visits.
We’ve all been there. You’re waiting in line at a coffee shop – a long line. A new customer walks in who’s immediately recognized by one of the baristas. “The usual?” asks the barista. The new customer nods his head and says “Thanks Franco,” or whatever trendy name the barista has. His order gets expedited and he’s out the door before you’re even at the pastry display case.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a regular?
Time savings aside, how badass does it look when you’re on a first name basis with the proprietors of every place you take a date?
I like being a regular, but I don’t like ONLY going to the same handful of places over and over – which is the usual way to become a regular. That gets boring, and there are way too many cool new places to discover in San Francisco. I’ve used the following guidelines to become a regular at dozens of trendy spot around the city in just 3 visits. Now it’s your turn.
(I’ll use the coffee shop experience to illustrate my points)
1. Your first visit should be during off-peak hours. You need to interact a bit with the people working there, and if they’re super busy you can’t make this happen. So don’t try this at a coffee shop at 8:30am. Capice?
2. Get an opinion. Wait in line like a normal customer – don’t worry, you won’t be for long. When you get to the counter, ask the barista if you’re drink of choice is any good there. Ex: “Morning! How’s your americano?” Obviously they’ll say its good – that’s their job. Order the drink. DO NOT ask them what THEIR drink of choice is. If they recommend a drink you don’t like, you’ll look like a jerk for not ordering their suggestion. That’s a bad foot to put forward.
2. Say thanks. Pick up your drink, taste it. Tell them your [insert drink of choice] rocks. Chances are it probably does. Thank them for the recommendation. People in the service industry don’t get sincerely thanked enough. It’ll make an impression.
3. Introduce yourself. You’ve struck up a short rapport at this point, so follow up with an introduction. Ask them their name, tell them yours, then shake their hand. Tell them you’ll be back for more delicious drinks, then take off.
1. Revisit within a week. If at all possible, try to go at the same time as before to increase your chances of getting the same barista. If the same person isn’t working, don’t fret.
2. Use his/her name when you order. “Morning Franco!” This reinforces that THEY know YOU, just in case they forgot (they meet a lot of people during the course of a week). If Franco isn’t working, ask the current barista where he is / when he’s working next. Don’t be creepy.
3. Drop the ‘Usual Bomb’. This is the most important part! The second visit is all about reinforcing your status as a regular. Order like this: “Morning Franco! I’ll have my usual Americano.” You just MADE yourself a regular! If Franco isn’t there, still drop ‘usual’ into your order. The current barista will just think he/she is a bit out of the loop and assume that really is your usual order.
There’s an interesting cognitive disconnect that takes place here. Namely, that by providing just the slightest shred of evidence to your vocal assertion (that you are a regular), the other person accepts it as fact. Politicians do this kind of thing all the time. It’s not manipulative, it’s charismatic.
4. Say thanks again.
You’re now established as a regular. Enjoy never waiting in line again.
Make sure you continue to reinforce your status by using ‘usual’ in your order. It also helps if you’re extra recognizable in some capacity. Wear the same yellow hat, purple hoodie, or red bandana (my favorite). This will help you stand out among the hustle and bustle when it gets busy.
Want to take it further? Check out this rundown of 121 Persuasive Techniques and see how many we used in this article.
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