20z caramel breve with whip? Can't quite accommodate that request if I don't have 20z cups or caramel syrup.
Long shot? I'm afraid we make the shots to our standards.
Iced espresso? You absolutely can have some ice in your demitasse cup, if that is what you prefer.
Luckily, my personal rules are my company's policies.
Truth is, we want to accommodate customers' requests as much as possible. Sometimes, we're just unable to (like the caramel syrup, we just don't make it) and offer an alternative. Most of the time, the customer will go along with our suggestions. Also, we avoid those so-called "ghetto lattes" because we don't encourage that kind of misbehaviour. We do not offer our customers a "condiment station," we add the sweetener and cream to taste for the customer so they do not have to be bothered. It gives us an additional measure of service for our customers and allows us to control what could be an out-of-control condiment station.
I was a conformist on the long shot dilemma until a few months ago. I now allow it to be served to 3 individual customers. That's it. Nobody else gets a long shot unless they can prove their pedigree! We adamantly refuse to serve it unless the customer meets the pedigree.
Long shot pedigree: They're from Montreal.
Alternative solution: very short americano.
My only real rule is that i cannot modify the way that i pull a shot. You can put whatever you would like in that shot, it's your prerogative. Want a 16oz. sugar free mocha? No problem. But the espresso in there is going to be fantastic. This way people who are in the coffee know will come to me for espresso and traditional espresso drinks, but there's no point in turning away the people willing to give me $5 for a frilly drink.
Sure i would make a caramel breve with whip. I will not pull a long shot, but i'll make you a helluva 5oz. americano. I will serve an iced espresso and i (very occasionally) enjoy one myself. I do sometimes serve espresso "to go" if it's specifically asked for, but i have absolutely no understanding of why you would want to do that.
Ultimately, i will do whatever someone asks for. No sense in making someone feel like their drink is crap. I just do whatever i can to steer people in the direction that my shop caters to. For instance, if someone wants a 12oz. cappuccino, i will make it. But i will also hold up a traditional cappuccino cup and say "this is how we normally make a capp, you should give one of these a shot some day". I have several times refused to pull a "long shot", pull sugar with the espresso, etc.