I hadn’t had a coffee since Monday – been trying to cut down you see.
Coffee is funny isn’t it? Quite addictive really. Especially if you drink it almost every day. And if, like me, you are often in a hurry and just want a quick caffeine hit, the methodology of the modern coffee house can be a little frustrating. Take today, for example: whilst maintaining my place in the queue, I was approached by the manager (I could tell he was a manager because of his big bunch of self-important keys jangling by his nuts), he swaggered up and down the queue to ask what people wanted (I came in for a mortgage and some baked beans!! A HOT DRINK YOU MASSIVE PRICK!! GET BEHIND THE COUNTER AND SERVE – I didn’t say).
“What would you like Sir?” he enquired
“Oh ……a black coffee please” I said half, expecting him to go and get it.
He gestured vaguely towards the front of queue.
“Of course. Sonja will be your barista today in just a second”
Then he strutted away down the queue, smiling at each person and asking them his pointless question, no doubt erect and seeping due to his daily power trip of not wearing the standard uniform. I got over his attitude quite quickly though, after all, at least there was an actual queue, rather than that phalanx of need you get in some coffee shops, where presumably someone has mischievously shouted “BUNDLE!!!!” before sloping off. No thanks – I like a nice orderly queue, you know where you are in a queue (in this case towards the back).
The serving staff were made up of SONJA and JAY (hand written IN BLOCK CAPITALS ON THEIR BADGES) and during my 5 minute wait to get to the front of the queue I very quickly picked up on their system. Sonja took the order and the money and then shouted the order to Jay who was stood perhaps 12 inches to her left. “TRIPLE SHOT HALF CAF DOUBLE DE-CAFF LATTE WITH CREAM TO DRINK IN!!!!” she would scream and Jay, who had previously been within touching distance, would shuffle over to the big machine, put a cup in a slot and press the relevant button. If steamed milk were required he would place a nozzle into the cup and press a different button. Once he had removed the nozzle from the cup he would then wank the nozzle furiously with a J cloth to remove the foamy residue before putting the drinks on a tray or putting on a take-away lid.
I don’t want to be mean but it’s not a tough job, no matter how you want to dress this up, essentially you are operating a vending machine whilst wearing a hat.
I approached the front of the queue.
“Which beverage can I get for you today?”
“A black filter coffee please”
“Erm if that’s what you call a black filter coffee then yes”
“Of course. What size would you like”
“A medium sized cup please”
“You mean medio?”
“Of course. To drink in or to take away?”
“To take away please”
“Of course. Would you like any muffins or sandwiches today?”
“No thank you”
“We are doing coffee and muffin deal, only £3.99”
“Just the coffee please”
“Of course. That’s £3.99 please”
“I don’t want a muffin”
“No that’s just for the large Americano”
“I didn’t want large, I wanted medium”
“Yes medio, remember?”
“How much is that?”
“£3.69. Do you have a loyalty card”
“No I’ve never been here before”
“There’s £3 whole pounds and another 69 pence there you go.”
“LARGE AMERICANO TO GO!!!!!!!”
And then she looked behind my shoulder and was on to the next customer and I looked down at the gratifyingly empty “tips” box and sidestepped awkwardly to the designated “serving area”. Jay pressed the relevant button and without looking up shouted “LARGE AMERICANO TO GO!!!”. I was perhaps 6 inches away from him.
“Actually I wanted a medium sized one” I said looking at the pint of coffee in front of me.
“This is large. I ordered a medium sized one, just now. You probably heard.”
“Yes sorry medio”
So he poured the whole thing away and made another one. Almost 4 quids worth of coffee – well to you and me 4 quids worth of coffee, to them 4 pence worth of coffee.
“Oh you didn’t have to throw it all away. You could’ve just poured the large one into a medium sized cup”
“It wouldn’t of fitted, it’s easier if I just make another one”
I took a deep breath and blinked…….
I reached across, grabbed them by the ear and slammed both their heads down on the counter.
“Listen. First of all you are not “baristas”, you serve bum clenchingly expensive hot drinks and shitty cakes, stop pretending you have a fucking law degree because you don’t – you just press buttons. Secondly if you EVER use the word “beverage” again in my presence I will leap over this counter and kick you both in the mouth so hard that It’ll detach your empty heads and then I’ll wear your stupid smiling vacuous faces like a pair of novelty fucking slippers! Thirdly you know what the fuck “medium” means so stop correcting me every time I don’t use your special pissflap terminology and stop saying “Of course” for no reason and while we’re at it stop pretending that the poverty riddled slaves you have in South America are happy to be fucked over by your piss greedy empire of drug dealing nozzle wankers”
I blinked again and breathed out. JAY was holding out my drink.
“Sir your coffee”
“Sorry I was ……just thinking about something” I said and took my medio Americano beverage and left.
As I said, I’ve been trying to cut down.