Many cafes have sprouted around our tiny island in the past couple of years, and it’s a no-brainer that Singaporeans love to indulge in cafe fare. When you think of a typical cafe-goer these days though, do you think of the hedonistic millennial who hops from cafe to cafe, looking for a photo opportunity for social media?
Well, I won’t be surprised if that’s the first image that pops into your mind but there are actually many other types of cafe-goers. Here are nine types of customers that you can probably find at a cafe in Singapore, also featuring photographs taken at the various cafes (click on the credit links to read the reviews):
1. The Food Photographer
I am guilty of spending a super long time (sometimes up to 10 minutes) taking photographs after my food arrives at my table. After all, cafe fare is not cheap so you have to get your money’s worth, right?
Taking food photographs is an art. You need good natural lighting, decent angles, props and maybe a hand model to make your pictures look extra appealing.
Cash in on the likes when you take perfect food flatlays that will leave your followers envious and hopefully commenting, “I simply have to know you’re at!” when you deliberately leave out the location tag.
2. The Model (Wannabe)
The photographer of the model wannabe has his work cut out for him. Here’s how the photograph should turn out in an ideal setting. The interior of the cafe is featured. The food is featured and it looks scrumptious. The model wannabe has to appear candid but not unglamorous in the completely staged photograph.
The model wannabe will not rest and will continue posing till there is a shot that satisfies his or her high standards… Or maybe when the food is about to turn cold because there’s no way that he or she will enjoy eating soggy truffle fries.
3. The Worker
‘The Worker’ can be found typing furiously on his or her laptop. He is silent and the only noise that you will hear being emitted from him is the tapping of his keyboard. If ‘The Worker’ has company, the counterpart is likely to be hard at work as well.
Fret not, nobody is judging. We all know that the Key Performance Index (KPI) is hard to meet. If you don’t toil and earn your keep, how would you have the disposable income to cafe-hop every week?
4. The Mugger
In other countries, the word “mugger” usually stands for “robber” but Singapore has claimed the word and made it stand for “a hardworking student who is always cramming and studying”. In a never-ending rush to meet homework, assignment or project deadlines, most Singaporean students are on the hunt for conducive spaces to get work done.
So when students are sick of The Coffee Bean and Starbucks, they flock to other quaint cafes instead. They are just like the workers in the point above, except that students have a lower budget so they are are more likely to get just one item off the menu and stay for the rest of the day.
5. The Fussy Customer
The fussy customer is every server’s nightmare because they make work unbearable with requests that are difficult to accommodate. Some insist on choosing their seats when the cafe is packed during peak hours. Others ask for one thing at a time, when they could have requested for them all at once.
Some are picky eaters and would ask for bizarre special requests like “no garlic and no onions” for pasta or a cheese sandwich with less cheese. Chanting “the customer is always right” under your breath is always a good exercise if you are a service staff trying not to lose your cool.
6. The Customer Who Favours Sparkling Water
There are two types of people in the world. The first type are people who will drink any type of water in a cafe as long as it is complimentary. Tap water? Sure. NEWater? Probably. The second type of people have “Can I have a bottle of sparkling water to start, please?” perched on their lips.
They are willing to pay extra just for Perrier. Sparkling water is a taste that these customers have acquired and they need their carbonated water in order to enjoy their cafe experience.
7. The Customer On A First/Blind Date
Blind-dating is ubiquitous now, especially with the dozens of online dating applications. How can you tell that a couple is on their first date?
If you keep stealing looks at this couple, you may spot giveaway signs such as: a handshake at the start of the meal, the girl ordering just a salad for the entire meal, and long awkward pauses in conversation.
8. The Romantic
Cafes are where you can find sweet lovebirds who are looking to spend time together in a quiet and cosy environment. The sight of elderly couples holding hands as they enter the cafe will definitely tug at your heartstrings.
One thing I cannot wrap my head around is that some couples do is when they choose to sit next to each other instead of opposite each other. Is their love unable to withstand temporary separation by a table?
Sitting opposite each other may strengthen their relationship, contrary to what they think, because “distance makes the heart grow fonder”.
9. Young Parents
Young parents looking for an afternoon respite on the weekends may choose to lounge at their trusty neighbourhood cafes. Sometimes, their kids may go out of control. Instagram-savvy mommies will snap shots of her smiling family members and upload them onto her social media.
Some of the wives (or tai tais) are more atas and even order wine and get mad when their vino is not served at the perfect temperature.
This article was written in good fun so don’t take offence! Are you guilty of falling into any of the stereotypes listed above? I certainly am. Well, life is short and we should be unabashedly indulgent in whatever makes us happy, even if it means blowing your monthly budget on cafe fare.
I don’t know about you but boy, am I proud to be part of the avocado-on-toast generation.