Magic Words

CUPS Coffee & Tea in Roanoke offers friendly reminder for patrons to be polite. 

Photo courtesy of CUPS 

At CUPS Coffee & Tea in Roanoke it pays to use good manners.

During a particularly er, long day behind the counter in July, a CUPS barista marched out onto the sidewalk and wrote a message on the sandwich board outside the shop: 

“Small coffee, $5”

“Small coffee, please, $3”

“Hello, one small coffee, please, $1.75”

“I think in general people have hectic, busy lives, and they have a tendency to sometimes be a bit more abrupt than they realize,” says CUPS owner Olivia Byrd. “And we all need to stop and realize we are actually dealing with human beings here, not machines.”  

It’s worth noting that prices on the menu have not actually changed—a small coffee is still $1.75—but Byrd says the sign seems to be serving its purpose. 

“It has certainly inspired a great deal of humor, and people have been saying it’s really cool,” says Byrd. “It has also inspired people to take a little more consideration when they’re dealing with each other.” 

CUPS is located in the historic Grandin Village neighborhood of the Star City. Byrd, who also owns Rockfish Food & Wine restaurant next door, says she bought the coffee shop about seven months ago because she simply loves the area. 

“This neighborhood just has a great vibe, and CUPS is a very large part of it,” she says. Byrd notes that in general the neighbors and coffee shop patrons are friendly, but that it’s easy to get caught up in stress and take it out on strangers. “People can be unnecessarily abrupt, so we thought, you know what, we’re just going go put this out here and let people know that this is what we can do.” 

Though Byrd has updated the interior to make it more “modern” and “crisp,” overall she says it’s still the same CUPS that has been a part of the neighborhood since 2010. Just don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.” 

1402 Grandin Rd. SW, Roanoke • Facebook.com/cups-coffee-tea  

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