I hadn't had a coffee for a few days - been trying to cut down you see.
Coffee is funny isn't it? Quite addictive really. Especially if you drink it every day. And if, like me, you're often in a hurry and need 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 a mysterious, badge wearing, peacock - the badge said "manager".
"What would you like, sir?" he enquired.
"Oh... A black coffee please."
He gestured vaguely towards the front of queue.
"Of course. Sonja will be your barista today in just a second."
Then he strutted away, 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.
The serving staff were made up of SONJA and JAY (hand written IN BLOCK CAPITALS ON THEIR BADGES) and during my five-minute wait I very quickly picked up on their system. Sonja took the order and the money and then shouted the order to Jay who was 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 a 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."
"How much is that?"
"£3.69. Do you have a loyalty card."
"No I've never been here before."
"Of course. 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 six 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 you don't want this?"
"I want some of it?"
So he poured the whole thing away and made another one. Almost four quids worth of coffee - well to you and me four pounds worth of coffee, to them four pence worth of coffee.
"You really didn't have to throw it all away. You could've just poured the large one into a medium sized cup."
"It wouldn't have fitted, it's easier if I just make another one."
I took a deep breath and blinked...
I reached across and grabbed them both by the ears.
"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 stop using the word 'beverage'. 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 putting pictures up everywhere pretending that the poverty-ridden 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.