Sorry if this blog post came earlier than expected. Our Cagayan Valley trip’s not yet over but we just have to share this not-so-good experience we’ve had in one of the cafes in Tuguegarao.
It all started when me and my buddy started looking for a coffee shop in the city to hang out and stay. As freelancers and travellers, we usually stay and work in coffee shops in most of our travels, with our laptops and backpacks.
So here goes my story, or rather a letter we’d like to get across..
Dear Hinterland Travel Cafe,
It was by perhaps by good fate that we happen to stumble upon your coffee shop in the search results of Google while searching for recommended cafes in Tuguegarao City.
Your business name, with emphasis on the ‘Travel Cafe’, caught our attention immediately. As a self confessed traveler, freelancer, and coffee lover, finding a coffee shop that bears the word ‘travel’ is just awesome.
So yeah, we found a contact number in your Facebook Page. With no hesitations, we called you to inquire if you do have electrical sockets in your cafe (as they’re just a necessity, perhaps one of the many reasons why I love Starbucks coffee shops haha!).
You said, “YES!”
And oh, did that made us happy, and without doubts we took the ‘Tricy’ (tricycle) to head to your cafe.
So we got there, and to our surprise there’s no other customer in the coffee shop. Honestly, I really don’t have any problem with that. As a matter of fact, I’m one of the few people who are allergic to too many people. Sounds funny you may say, but I’m just happy finding a place and keeping it all to myself. Wala kang kaagaw, walang ingay, peaceful, perfect place to do my online work! Right?
The time we got there, the only people there are the owner/manager and his staff.
We ordered some drinks (was quite disappointed though to find no cold coffee drinks for sale in a coffee shop, was hoping to get refreshed of an Iced Americano pa naman sana). But anyway, moving on..
We even had a small chat with the manager, mostly about where we came from, travels (as he also owns a travel agency), places to go, and some stuff about the coffee shop which I found out had just opened last year. Nothing much..
Time passed and we got quite busy as me and my buddy started doing our freelance online work, eyes glued to our laptops. If I remember we entered the coffee shop at around 6pm.
Two hours have passed, it was 8 o’clock already, still no other customers are in sight. I was quite surprised as the waiter approached to ask if we will still order something.. So even though we haven’t finished eating and drinking all our food and beverages yet, I do have this gut feeling that the gesture of the waiter’s imposing us to order again..
I’m not even sure if the manager asked him to came over to us for us to order again. During that time, I could sense that the manager’s watching our every move since we were the only ones (customers) there.. or am I just paranoid?
It was just 2 hours – but okay, we just ordered again kahit na busog pa masyado kami..
So in an hour after that, we settled the bill, and left. They close at 9pm. We left at around 8:30pm.
— Day 2:
It was around 2pm that we decided to visit the cafe again. To our surprise, still there’s no customer in sight today.
We just like how their WiFi is fast, and the affordability of the food. Plus of course, the place is also good.
And since we haven’t had our lunch yet, we ordered a meal (lunch sets). Then started working our usual online VA duties in our laptops.
After 2 hours, at around 4pm, our laptops’ batteries are already draining.. So we acted on plugging in our adaptors to the nearby electrical socket, when we were surprised when the manager (the one I’ve had a conversation yesterday) told us that they restrict, or do not allow, the customers to use their electrical sockets, say for charging laptops for example.
So we were quite shocked.. then how come we were allowed yesterday? And what’s the use of having all the visible sockets near the tables in the coffee shop if it’s not intended for that?!
So since we really needed to have our laptops charged, we just offered to pay, and he agreed.
But deep inside, we were really disappointed..
Maybe it was just the experience of frequently visiting and staying in a lot of coffee shops already that does have electrical sockets and lets you charge your gadgets for free, that drove our expectations too high for this cafe.
I was even upset as their name says they are a ‘Travel’ Cafe.. So maybe they could be more friendly and accommodating to the needs of tourists and travelers like us perhaps?
Not just that, what is REALLY FRUSTRATING is their OUTRAGEOUS FEE for using their power outlets. We were SHOCKED to see in our bill an additional 100 PESOS???!! Seriously?!
It didn’t even took us one hour to charge??! What the??!
We started charging at 4pm. And minutes before 5pm we left the cafe.
Too bad.. I was originally planning to blog about this cafe, with all the intentions of promoting it to my friends, especially this is the first ‘Travel’ Cafe that I’ve been in to.
But after what happened? You just made us feel that all you really care is BUSINESS and MONEY.
I’ve actually wrote a review on their Facebook page – and it saddens me to see that they actually blamed us for ‘staying too long’ ? 2 of the 3 people who replied to my review are actually their staff..
It was as if the place is really jam packed.. but no. WE WERE THE ONLY CUSTOMERS they’ve had. AND WE ARE ORDERING EVERY ONCE IN AN HOUR OR TWO. So what’s bad about that?
If you do not want your customers to stay ‘longer than a regular time to eat’ (as mentioned in your comment) then you should have informed us ahead of time.. May time limit naman pala ‘tong cafe ninyo.
And correction, we only stayed for 6pm to 8:30pm (as opposed to the 4-8pm) that the other person who commented said.
Andami nga naming in-order eh.. Plus may binayaran pa kaming 100 pesos laptop charge fee for one hour??!!
Aba matindi.. Daig pa ang PER HOUR RATE NG INTERNET CAFE ah..
Coffee Shop Etiquette
To close this post, I’d like to share this related article to you:
Particularly this part,
How Long Can I Stay?
All of the coffee shop employees we interviewed agreed that they love having customers around. “I’d much rather have someone in my store than have an empty café, even if its the same person the whole day,” says Dunning.