Coffee Shop karma
I was brought up well. It’s often misconstrued in the media, more so when I was a lot younger than now, that single parent families are rarely taught good manners.
With me, it was the opposite. Being brought up by just my mum, as opposed to my mum and dad (who was kicked out of the family home when I was seven and hasn’t seen or spoken to me since I was nine.) meant that I have been majorly influenced by my mum.
Although this manifests by me being very different in a lot of ways (quiet, shy and reflective, compared to my overly brash mum), it gave me a great start in life, as mum hated those that lied, and those that treated others badly. To this day I find lying hard to do, and if someone does it to me it can be the end of a friendship immediately.
I also grew to be polite and respectful of others. That’s not to say I don’t have a horrible habit of overusing the word “cunt”, or that road rage passes me by. What it does mean is that I expect a certain level of politeness around me. Cut me up on the road and cause me to almost crash and you’ll learn some new swear words. Immediately put your hand up by way of an apology and you’ll calm me down within seconds. Yes, you screwed up, but you are big enough to realise it and say sorry.
Anyone who knows me will know that almost every day I go to my local Costa and have a large skinny latte.
It doesn’t matter that I can never remember if it’s pronounced lar-tay or lat-tay, or that the staff in there all know me well enough that they prepeat (no idea if that’s a word, but if it’s not then it should be) my order to me as I reach the till.
It’s my local coffee shop, it’s a haven from work for an hour and everyone in there has a smile on their face and the manners you’d expect from a retail place.
But going in there today, not only is there a massive queue, but there’s also a brash, loud and arrogant guy behind the counter who isn’t normally there.
This guy, who I’ll call A, is serving the customers, just asking their order, enquiring if they want any extra cakes or whipped cream on their got chocolate and generally being quite smarmy, before immediately turning to guy B, a yard to his left and taking payments on the till, and repeating the order and then shouting to guy C, about five yards away making all of the coffees, the same order.
This process normally runs quite smoothly without guy A involved, as guy B can take orders and process payments whilst retaining the ability to not make me want to jean over and give him a slap. I’ve no idea why it was changed today but guy A, I’m guessing, is higher up the food chain and seems to have a point to prove.
As I ponder this in the queue, having just given my order “large skinny latte to drink in please” to guy A, I hear guy C ask a customer if they wanted whipped cream on their got chocolate. They said that they did, so that’s what they got, but not before Guy A had shouted -louder than he shouted the orders - “I’ve already told you to put cream on them. Listen! Ok? I need you to listen to what I’m saying in future!”. All delivered with an over the top look-at-me flourish. The noise in the shop dropped momentarily, guy C caught my eye for a split second, and I’m sure he rolled his eyes slightly before turning away in embarrassment,
Point made, knob jockey A, we know who’s in charge, and it’s just a shame that you haven’t fucked up as I’d like to see you respond to embarrassment like that.
I reflected on what had just happened. Should I say anything? Should I just be short and curt? Or should I ignore it? My train of thought was interrupted by guy A.
“So that was a small skinny lat-”
“LARGE skinny latte.” I interrupted.
No apology: “LARGE skinny latte,” he repeated, “to go.”. His voice was raised slightly again, as he was once more directing his orders to guy C. Guy B has already rung the correct product at the correct price for me, and seemed as though he was about to turn to guy C to tell him that it was actually to drink in, not to go.
“To drink IN,” I corrected, raising my voice as I did, hoping to God that I sounded authoritative rather than pissed off.
The shop’s volume fell again, and with a huge grin on my face, visible only to the three guys behind the counter, I continued to deal out my coffee shop karma, slowing my words so that the pronunciation was clear: “I need you to listen to what I’m saying in future…”