The Coffee Challenge

Recently, a bit of a storm blew through My Kingdom. And, many, including myself, thought that it would surely knock the wind out of my sails. Truth is, it did.
But, there wasn’t as much damage as I’d expected. I saw it coming. And, the more I looked at the wreckage, I realized that this shake up was a long time coming.
I needed it. I deserved it. I’m glad it happened.
I took a few days to decide if I was supposed to sulk. Was I supposed to be angry? I don’t THINK I’m angry. Maybe I’m suppressing my feelings. But, again, I don’t think so.

Well, the Universe evidently got tired of me trying to decide how I felt. So she gave my world another shake. But, this disturbance was a good one. One of those ‘stand in a phone booth while money blows all around you’ kind of good. Q4 of 2014 could quite possibly be the most productive and successful times of my life.
Had it not been for the storm, I’d been sitting on the porch in my rocking chair.
Happy. as. a. Lark.

And, I’d be selling my self oh-so-short.

Taking an odd journey through some thought provoking podcasts and a stack of books that I’d never thought that I’d ever read, I’ve charted a new course. And, minus my sails and the wind to temporarily fill them… very temporarily… I’ve grabbed my oars and started rowing.


I’m entering the world of Social Dynamics, and with this blog, I’ll take you with me. Maybe you can try some of these things for yourself.


First, we’re going to take steps to break out of our current comfort zone. I tripped over an interview with Noah Kagan on the James Altucher podcast. Noah spoke of an exercise he calls “The Coffee Challenge”.

The coffee challenge is really quite simple. The name alone is longer than the actual challenge.

1. Place your order

2. When the cashier states the price, ask for a 10% discount. Then say nothing. If they ask “excuse me?” you simply repeat, I’d like a 10% discount. Continue to say nothing.

3. Expect to be denied. Expect to get uncomfortable. This is the entire point of the exercise. Learn to ask for what you want, even if it’s non-conventional. The girl behind the counter is going to think that you’re cheap. The customer in line behind you is going to think you’re a douchebag. And, you know what? THOSE ARE THE WORST THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN! How horrible is that REALLY? Don’t we already have people out there who think we’re douchebags or worse? And, what’s the best that could happen? You might get the discount. Never know if you never try.

The whole point of this exercise isn’t the ‘saving money’ part. It’s about having the balls to step into an uncomfortable situation. It’s not just uncomfortable for you. It’s likely going to be uncomfortable for the server and the guests in line behind you. Do a Youtube search for The Coffee Challenge. Lots of people are posting their own liberation videos.

My first attempt at The Coffee Challenge actually happened at Subway. (There aren’t any coffee shops handy, and when I heard of the challenge, it was important to me that I try it right away. It was lunchtime anyway.

I walked up to the counter and engaged the girl as she began the assembly of my sammy. She passed said sammy to the “fixins guy” who would also be my cashier. I’d kind of hoped that I’d be the only guest in line, and I was. Right up till the cashing out segment. (crap. now I have to worry that I’m gonna look like a douchebag in front of another customer too.)

Sammy ready,

I said, “I’ll take a bottle of water too. You got any 10% discounts today?”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah. It’s Saturday, Give me a 10% discount.” (then silence)

He looked at me a little stunned for a half second. THEN SAID, “Sure. I can do that.”


( In my head, “No fuckin’ way.”)

I’m going to have to try this again multiple times of course to get a real feel for asking for something and getting denied.

As I said, there were two people behind the counter, a guy and a girl. I was naturally chatty with her, and the guy started singing with the radio. The song was, “Time of the Season” by the Zombies. So, I started to sing along with him. “Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?” So, I’m not sure if I got the discount simply because I asked for it, or if this was just a payment for being his backup singer. Either way, 10% is 10% and I stepped out of my comfort zone. Again, it’s not about the money, I actually tipped $4 on a $5 sandwich just because I’d got what I asked for.

Side note… and you know what the weirdest part of that whole thing was. The customer that was standing beside me at the checkout heard me ask for a discount, but he DID NOT ASK for the same discount! Even after I’d demonstrated that he just needed to ask.  That’s crazy.

Humans. I’m surprised Mother Nature hasn’t rubbed us out yet.
So, reader. There’s your assignment. Go ask for something that you don’t deserve. Just have the balls to do it.