for the love of coffee?

Warning: here comes a big sized rant about coffee snobbery. No fibre content whatsoever as today is PayDay and so I won’t have anything new to show until tomorrow. Please feel free to press your back button now.

Correspondingly, unless you have been reading my blog since March 2008 in which event you’ve already been subjected to my strong views on coffee: if you want background info on my coffee rants, feel free to click here for a tale on $400.00 per pound coffee, and here for my personal views on coffee consumption.

Now that you’ve been duly warned:

Yesterday morning, I was running a bit late for work.  This was unfortunate, as it meant I actually had to stand in line at the place I’ve been getting my coffee of late instead of just swanning to the front counter.

But, all guid.  I had my iPod in and was actually starting to groove with the wait.  That is, until I heard my regular coffee server asking the person in front of me how she could be helped.  The person in question was yakking on her cell phone, I should note.

After three polite requests by the coffee server, I was ready to butt into line.  Unfortunately, Ms Cellphone woke up around this point, told her caller to hold, and said.. wait for it:

“Gimme a coffee.”

Well.  Although she presented as such, I suspect this person was not Canadian.  Why?  Because:

(a) she said “gimme” rather than “Give me a coffee, please;

(b) she did not say “Oh, sorry, I kept you waiting… give me a coffee, please… and sorry”;

(c) she did not say “I’d like a a double double, please”; and

(d) she didn’t seem to appreciate that one has to specify the size of coffee one wants these days if one actually wants to get a coffee to take out.

Then again, her important phone call had been interrupted… not that I was willing to cut her any slack because I was waiting for my fix.

But I, despite whatever appearance I might give on this blog otherwise, am a polite Canadian person.  So, although I was fuming inside, I did not protest when the woman in front of me demanded to be shown each size of coffee cup available before deigning to choose which size she wanted (medium, as it happens).

Then came the other inevitable question from the beleaguered Patient Server (and believe you me, I’ve been there.  It is very, very painful to work in foodservice and to be forced to pull each choice out of the customer, let me tell you.  And if you don’t believe me, just ask my mother who was a deli queen for some years until she was forced to run screaming when the simple question “mustard or mayonnaise” started turning into “well, let me taste both and then decide”):

“Dark roast, light roast, or flavoured – today it’s irish cream…””

The answer from O Rude One, who had since recommenced yakking on her cell phone?


(And yes, she was shouting.  I don’t use all caps lightly.)

The Patient Server said “No, we don’t have medium.”.  Now, if I were the Patient Server, at this point I would have quickly turned Impatient and said “Get your @$$ out of here and over to Starbucks, NOW”.

Ms Cellphone then said “Well, I want medium.”

And, let me tell you, it’s a very guid thing that I’m not serving coffee any more.  By this point, I would have pulled out the garotte.  But instead, the Patient Server said, “Well, I could give you half dark roast and half light roast, so that would be sort of medium, right?”

Well, my remaining swig of Diet Coke nearly exited my nostrils at this point (so, don’t feel too sorry for me, I wasn’t jonesing all that much for caffeine).  Good call, Patient Server.  And, in fact, Ms Cellphone accepted this solution, got her coffee and made way for me.  So much for coffee snobbery.

So, all was guid… until I got to the station where you actually fix the coffee and Ms Cellphone was still there lamenting the fact that they had run out of lids.  She actually tried to engage me in conversation on this point (“This is completely unacceptable.  They expect me to carry this coffee across the street to my office??? How dare they??? My boyfriend’s a lawyer and I should just sue them.”

Gentle Reader, I wish I could report that I tore a couple of strips off her at this point.  I didn’t.  Instead, I just reached underneath where I know they store the spare lids, took one for my own coffee, and walked away.

I did, however, drop an extra 50 cents in the tip cup on my way to picking up my breakfast bagel… and, by the way, when I paid for that at the front cash, the Friendly Cashier there told me that this same woman pulls that same stunt every single day – and, funnily enough, word had travelled to the back cash that I was to be treated extremely well because I had given an extra tip.

Moral of the story?

Tip generously – and if you’re used to getting to work before the rush hour, resist that temptation to hit the snooze button on the alarm.  Really.  It will save your sanity.

Happy Thursday!


5 thoughts on “for the love of coffee?

  1. tracyb says:

    umm. . . I LOVE that story! (I tend to use caps less judiciously than you!) I too, worked in the public service arena and have many stories of a similar ilk. I’m so glad you tipped the barista. I really wish they had some good coffee up here, I wouldn’t ever be rude to the people behind the counter because I would be so grateful!

  2. Amy says:

    You know she’s drank more than the average persons share of boogers.

    Common Sense 101: If you absolutely MUST be rude to foodservice workers, do it after you’ve got your order in your hand.

    She is going to (I almost said gonna there but I didn’t because of the gimme comment) sue because she has to carry her coffee without a lid? What’s her damage?

  3. elizabeth m says:

    My pet peeve in the modern coffee shop is more the “Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally” kind of coffee customer.

    “Part skim, part yak milk mocha-cappa-cino, half-decaf” etc. etc.

    I just want a middle sized black coffee for here please. No room for cream. No funny business. Pour it in the cup and it’s good.

    I’ve never had the coffee server job, but I had a few deli jobs and such and it does give one great empathy for the servers of the world.

    I had a recent experience with a pushy woman in the supermarket trying to make choosing broccoli a competitive sport. Interesting. You just wonder what’s up with some people.

  4. clarabelle says:

    Gosh, you are so patient – and polite! I think, in a similar situation, I just might have stuck my foot out to trip the old cow up. I’m frightened now that I won’t be welcome when I come to Canada – too impatient and impolite? No actually, I’m only like that IN RESPONSE TO people who are impatient and impolite – Canada here I come!

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