Recently I made a trip to Marlborough and checked out Jitterbeans Internet café, located on RT 137 right before the center of town. I had heard about the café through word of mouth and have passed it several times in my travels. Being someone that enjoys trying new things and supporting local businesses, I was excited to check out this vegetarian café that also offered free wifi.
I arrived at Jitterbeans in the afternoon with nearly one hour and one-half to spare before I had a meeting in Keene. I figured this would be plenty of time to sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee with a snack and be on my merry way. Little did I know, this would not be the case.
I glanced at the menu and was excited to see the different varieties of vegetarian options ranging from burgers, falafel wraps, vegetable sandwiches, to more exquisite options such as grilled Portobello caps, and grilled tuscan eggplant.
Unfortunately I wasn’t very hungry when I walked in. I simply wanted a cup of coffee, a snack and enjoy the quaint, peaceful atmosphere. However, Jitterbeans only accepts credit/debit cards for purchases over $7. I didn’t have enough cash to buy a coffee and would have to use my card. Instead of walking out from this small setback, I decided I would order a sandwich for later.
After teetering between the vegetable hummus sandwich and the falafel wrap I chose the $7 falafel and a small $2 coffee. I found a small table in the far corner of the room with a window overlooking the street. I set my belongings down, opened my computer and started to browse the web while sipping coffee.
About 10 minutes passed and an employee approached me and asked me to unplug my computer. Apparently company regulations prohibit customers to plug their computer into an outlet. My computer at the time literally had about 20 minutes of battery life. This was quite an inconvenience and I was annoyed. I don’t understand how a place that offers free wifi, tables and an atmosphere like any other small café does not allow customers to use an electrical plug.
I didn’t argue with the employee thinking my sandwich would be ready within a few minutes.
During the entire time I waited for my sandwich, there were three customers sitting in the café and maybe two more walked in and ordered take-away. Twenty-five minutes passed. Thirty-five minutes passed and still no sandwich. Forty-five minutes passed and by this point I was so frustrated I packed my belongings and went to the front counter to inquire about my sandwich. I normally wouldn’t have been impatient but I had to be in Keene for a meeting in 15 minutes.
As I stood there watching the employee make my sandwich he apologized for the delay. He said there was a “mad rush” this afternoon. If a small business thinks half a dozen people are a “mad rush” and can’t handle it, they need to reevaluate how they operate business. It was unacceptable that a small falafel wrap took 45 minutes to make.
Later that afternoon I tried the wrap. While it was filled with fresh, crisp veggies in the whole wheat wrap, it was dry and lacked serious flavor. Due to the dry consistency of falafel, I’m accustomed to eating falafel wraps with tahini sauce or hummus. The wrap came with a small bag of chips and a pickle. I thought the pickle had more taste than the sandwich.