The day Tully’s ran out of coffee

Date:August 7, 2006 / year-entry #264
Orig Link:
Comments:    17
Summary:Today, Tully's coffee shops begin offering free Wi-Fi (in shops where Wi-Fi is available). Tully's isn't as widespread as Starbucks, but it's the best of the major chain coffee shops in the Seattle area, according to a highly unscientific poll of my friends. Seeing Tully's name back in the news reminded me of an incident...

Today, Tully's coffee shops begin offering free Wi-Fi (in shops where Wi-Fi is available). Tully's isn't as widespread as Starbucks, but it's the best of the major chain coffee shops in the Seattle area, according to a highly unscientific poll of my friends.

Seeing Tully's name back in the news reminded me of an incident that occurred to one of my colleagues, who went into the local Tully's one evening and asked for a cup of drip coffee. The Tully's employee went to the pot, then turned around and said, "Actually, we don't have any coffee."

My colleague did get a profuse apology from the district manager, who mentioned that the company policy is that the stores are always to have fresh, hot coffee available during all hours of operation. And as far as I know, every time since then, when my colleague stopped by for an evening cup of coffee, they had it ready.

But I love the quote.

Comments (17)
  1. Lauren Smith says:

    Why wouldn’t a coffee shop have coffee? I get the "can you wait 4 minutes while we brew a new pot?" thing a lot, but I’ve never had the experience of being turned away because they didn’t have ANY coffee.

    Even in Japan Tully’s is the good stuff. Much better than the sour brew that seems to be common around here.

  2. Rick Scott says:

    Don’t have Tully’s around here, but I had that same thing happen at Starbucks. Not only did they not have coffee, they had no milk o_O;

    They only had espresso-based drinks that didn’t require milk. That day I found out how nasty an "Americano" was.

  3. tsrblke says:

    I can top this one.  Once my parents told me they want into a startbucks only to be turned away because one of the employees had lost the tip of his finger in a grinder.  They thought it was a joke until they saw the blood stained rags and an ambulence pulled up right as they were leaving.  The manager told them that the store would get a detailed cleaning and that the machine in question would be disassembled and bleached (they did find teh finger tip BTW) but we still don’t go back there.  Thankfully they opened another starbucks alot closer (because we didn’t see that comming).

    I also attend a school that has a bar in the student center.  Before the new management took over the bar was notorious for running out of beer and food. :P

  4. ::wendy:: says:

    reminds me of going into an Indian restaurant (in the USA) for lunch that had run out of rice….

  5. Mmm… Tully’s. I used to have a two-Dilletante-mocha-a-day habit. I would walk past a Starbucks (not hard to do, granted) to get to a Tully’s.

    I think the only things I really miss about the Northwest are Tully’s and Kohana Mongolian BBQ in Bellevue.

  6. Jon says:

    I once was turned away at my local Subway because they ran out of bread.

  7. Lance Fisher says:

    …and recently my favorite local taco shop was out of hot sauce for several days.  They said they got it from overseas.  Why? I don’t know.

  8. James says:

    Actually, exactly the same thing happened to me in May of last year in a Timothy’s in Toronto (on York St, should anyone care): this major-chain coffee shop was out of coffee. It wasn’t even all that late at night.

    Apart from the coffee famine, it’s a great city to visit!

  9. David Walker says:

    I was at an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) recently that had run out of orange juice.  I couldn’t believe it.

    I don’t understand why they couldn’t send someone to the closest grocery store and BUY some, rather than waiting for their supply truck to deliver.  Oh well.

    They were also out of tartar sauce once (they serve lunch and dinner also).  That’s not too hard to make from common kitchen ingredients…

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hmm, I went to a McDonald’s that ran out of Big Mac sauce once. But the best food WTF ever had to be going to Al’s Beef (an awesome Chi-town Italian beef place) and having them tell me they were out of beef.

  11. lc says:

    I remember going into my local "Chicken Treat" only to be told they were out of chicken.

    After reading Rick Scott’s comment above I went and looked up "Americano". I must say it does sound horrible. Where I live (Australia), filter coffee is as rare as hens’ teeth. About the only chain that regularly sells it is McDonalds, and even they are moving more and more to espresso.

  12. jas88 says:

    Jonathan: As any Simpsons viewer knows, that’s easy to fix: just put the mayo out in the sun for a few hours…

    lc: You don’t get coffee as a ‘big’ drink, just shots of espresso? Interesting – my colleague from Slovenia says it’s the same there.

    Here, on the other hand, I ended up with an Americano this morning, since Starbucks wasn’t open when I walked past it :-(

  13. Kenneth Power says:

    A restaurant where I used to live, in Arizona, would open at 10 AM and close when they ran out of food. Every day. This would occur between 2 PM and 3 PM. Considering their food was cheap and the portions enormous ($3 USD for a 12" chimichanga and a pound of fries) that was no surprise.

    It was also no surprise that it was a front for money laundering… well I’ve really veered off-topic, but you get the idea.

  14. Mike says:

    Oops, guess that policy is changing. ;)

  15. Mike says:

    It’s *not* free, web site says $3.95 a day, $19.95 a month.  yawn.

    [Obviously they haven’t yet updated the web site to match their announcement. Yeesh, cut them some slack already. -Raymond]
  16. tsrblke says:

    Yeah, the pay for wifi thing still doesn’t cease to amaze it.  It makes perfect sense at an airport or other such "captive audience" place, but for coffee shops (Especially the Big chains like Starbucks and Boarders) to start charging (via T-Mobile) is kinda a joke.  The longest the average user is going to be there is probably about 3 hours (note: longest AVERAGE, not people who make a living out of this place.) so if you buy the plan and use it every day for 3 hours  5 days a week (which is pretty excessive) that’s $.30 an hour.  But if you’re just there one day, that $1/hour+ Wifi,

    Personally I like St. Louis Bread Co. (Panera for all you out of towners, we started it, it’ll never change in my mind!) who still give the wifi away for free, there’s never really enough people on it to really bottleneck it, so that’s not a problem, heck they might even be piggybacking on the Broadband that’s already in the resturant for the creditcard system.  I’d love to see a day when pay for wifi at coffeeshops/eateries dies, but as long as T-Mobile is doing it, I doubt it’ll happen.  They’ve also got the grip on airports and such, so it’ll always look popular to them.

    (PS I know Boarders isn’t a coffee shop persay, but it is for the sake of this generalization.)

  17. Moe says:

    Hey, I once went to the Kwikee-mart and they didn’t have any quickies.

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