The Tale Of The Baffling Barista

My wife and I work the same shift at the same company, and that shift starts at 5am.  As a result, we’re usually very sleepy during the drive into work.  I have to say, it makes the other drivers nervous when they look over and see us both snoring, heads back, drooling.

This morning my wife felt the desire for Starbucks coffee and she asked[1] if we could stop at a drive through [or ‘drive-thru’ for all my American chums out there].

Of course.

We pulled up behind a car already in the queue [line] ordering their coffee.  Soon enough, after a brief 3 hours, the car finally moved and we rolled up the microphone.

The speaker crackled into life.

“Welcome to Starbucks”

“Hi”, we both replied in sleepy unison.

“Yeah, we’re actually not open right now.”, came the lacklustre response in that inimitable style that made it sound like a question.

“Oh….OK. Never mind, thank you”

We looked at each other, shrugged and started to drive off.  Unfortunately we couldn’t go far as the car in front of us was at the next window waiting for their coffee.

We couldn’t get around them and, despite my wife’s insistence I beep my horn and ‘urge’ them to move the fuck out of the way, I decided to reverse back along the drive through lane as there were no cars behind us…..at 4:30am on a Monday.

I wonder why.

Anyway, as we reversed back past the microphone/speaker we could hear the woman babbling something over the intercom, so we stopped.

“Welcome to Starbucks, can I take your order?”

We looked at each other again, but this time in total confusion.  My wife leaned across me and said, “Wait….I thought you said you were closed.”

The speaker crackled back into life, “No, I said we we’re not open right now.”

Wait, isn’t that the same thing?

The speaker continued to crackle with attitude as the woman told us why they weren’t open yet; something about waiting for something or whatever….I don’t know.  Anyway, her tedious tale concluded with her asking if she could take our order.

Maybe it was the fact we were half asleep and devoid of caffeine, but she made no sense whatsoever.

So if you’re reading this and you’re not from the USA, take note…..’Not Open‘ and ‘Closed‘ mean different things over here….apparently.

Just like ‘Starbucks Barista‘ and ‘Testy Imbecile‘.

He he, ‘Testy’

[1] Demanded

You are what you eat (and you’re full of shit)

Before moving to America, my wife told me how many chemicals and additives there were in American food.  It seems the USA doesn’t have the strict regulations that Europe has regarding the shit that companies can inject into what we eat and drink.

I had no idea to what extent she was not kidding!

I first noticed how much sugar there is in stuff over here.  It’s in everything, but to the Nth degree!  Bread has been the biggest surprise; if you open a bag of bread and smell the loaf [insert toilet gag1 here], it smells like cake.  And cakes here are so sweet they’ve surpassed the maximum sweetness possible by the laws of nature and have shifted into another dimension entirely.

But it doesn’t stop with sugar (ever!).  The adverts (commercials) here use the addition of unnecessary chemicals and additives to promote and sell their foods.

Ice-cream is advertised with “No Growth Hormones!“, burgers promoted as having “No hormones, antibiotics or steroids!” and even dairy products brag about their milk having “50% less sugar“, or cheese being “100% cheese, not 51%“.

51%?  Bit random.

Now, I know this is a scare tactic to make you question their competitors’ products, but was I delusional to assume these products wouldn’t contain this shit as standard?

“Hey! Try our new coffee, made with 100% coffee and absolutely no wood screws or powdered glass!”.

Mmm, delicious.

It’s on a level my wife could never have prepared me for.  Even salt here is packed full of additional ingredients and chemicals, the names of which baffle and terrify me in equal measures.  I mean, it’s salt!  Surely the ingredient of salt should be salt?  I understand the need for an anti-caking agent, but outside that….it should be just salt, right?  Or am I overthinking this?

This unnecessary use of additional ingredients reminded me of something my wife showed me back in England; it was the list of ingredients for McDonald’s french fries in the UK and the USA.  Check this out…

fries-uk-vs-usa

Potatoes, oil and salt.  What more do you need?

And it doesn’t stop there.  Check out this seasonal favourite!

latte-uk-vs-usa

Nothing in red can be good!

So let’s take a moment to digest (or not) that the US version of this beverage has ‘Caramel Color’ in it…twice.  This is an ingredient that has been considered carcinogenic by the Agency for Research on Cancer!

So….Fuck. That.

Now, I’m aware these images have been pulled from the internet and could be utter bullshit….but they’re not.

Or are they? 2

So here are a couple of photos I took of products I’ve seen at work that defy the laws of sense and responsibility.

Recognise these, America?

bottles

I drink a lot of coffee….and it says ‘mate’…what’s not to love?

They’re sat next to the coffee machine looking sweet and innocent (and boy are they sweet!).

They look like cream and they taste a bit like cream….but they’re NOT cream.  They are so far from cream, they might as well be a car.

The fact they’re not stored in the fridge should have alarm bells ringing in your head.  In fact, the word ‘cream’ doesn’t appear in the terrifying list of ingredients at all!

ingredients

Do you notice the first (and therefore largest) ingredient is sugar? It appears BEFORE water!

This shit doesn’t even have milk in it, although there is a milk derivative.

A derivative?  What’s a derivative?

Well, Google defines it as:

Adjective – (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.

Or

Noun – something that is based on another source.

So yeah, it means ‘something that resembles milk, but isn’t‘.  I suppose that’s why it ends with ‘Not a source of lactose‘.  That’s great for those who are lactose intolerant I suppose.  But in all honesty, lactose is probably less harmful to those people than the cocktail of sugar, water and oils in this easy-pump jizz.

Yes, it looks like jizz.  You’ve all thought it.

And it doesn’t stop there.  I saw these packets on a shelf yesterday!

popeyehoney

Wait…Corn Syrup, Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup? What the actual fuck?

It seems Popeye’s took honey and added crap to make it sweeter (what??) and more ‘honey-coloured’!  I can’t get over the lunacy here!  Why not just leave it as honey?  After all, isn’t honey sweet enough?  I didn’t taste it because I didn’t want to be sucked into another dimension.

Also, did you notice the appearance of ‘Caramel Color’ again? Those aren’t pictures of hexagonal honeycomb cells on the packet; they’re human cells dripping with cancer.

soapbox

1 Pun/Play on words intended
2 They’re not

“I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello” – The Beatles

I got to work a bit early this morning, so took the opportunity to make myself some coffee and toast.

Whilst I was waiting by the toaster another employee came over to put some Tupperware’d nastiness in the microwave.  We smiled and performed the customary “Good Morning”, the optional “How’s your day going?” and (as I found out very quickly) the unnecessary “I’m utterly fucked”.

I must say, her face indicated that maybe, just maybe, I may have gone a too far; but she asked….so….

Anyway, she went back to zapping her box of whatever and I went back to waiting for my toast to ‘Shadunk‘ out of the toaster, when another employee walked by and shouted out to my new ‘friend’.

“Yoo Hoo gurl!” (not a typo; she said ‘gurl’, not ‘girl’)

“Oh, toodle-oo!”

Face palm.  That’s ‘goodbye’, you twat.

Ding!

Shadunk!

Oh, thank fuck.

toaster hit

Talking crap

I’ve just been for that first satisfying bowel movement of the day.  The one that usurps all others.

It was great.

But, unlike those I enjoy at weekends, this one was at the office.

A downside to curling out a fresh biscuit at work is that you’re not always the only baker in the bakery.  This visit was one of those times.

Now, a story like this isn’t unusual under normal circumstances, but this was far from normal.  As I entered the toilets [restroom/bathroom] I could hear that the occupant of the far cubicle [stall] was talking to someone.  He was on the phone.

I took the first cubicle because, well, no-one likes to poo within a foot of another person.  I don’t care if there’s a layer of wood between me and him; if I can see the shadow of his feet, I’m too close.

The toilets at work don’t have piped in music, nor are they located next to an airport runway so it was deathly quiet in there and therefore I could hear every word he was saying.

“I know”

“Yes, I heard you”

“Well, you hurt my feelings”

“Yes”

“Yes I know”

“OK”

There was a pause.

“I love you”

His call must have ended at that point because he then proceeded to wipe his arse.

Nice.

I finished my performance, flushed and then spent an unnecessarily long time washing and drying my hands.

Why?

Well, it could be because I believe in good personal hygiene, or it could be because I wanted to see if this guy had the bollocks to come out of his cubicle and reveal himself.

He didn’t.

I wouldn’t have either.

So, to respect his privacy and integrity, I left.

Then, out of respect for the guy, I didn’t hang around in the kitchen waiting to see who emerged.  I didn’t think it was right to make myself a coffee really slowly so I could check out if it was someone I knew (who may read my blog and somehow take this invasion of privacy personally).

After a few minutes he emerged.  Thankfully I didn’t know him.

It was just one of our security team; a massive bastard built like a brick shithouse.

This could be my last post.

picard phone loo

A very ‘British’ cup of coffee

I’m currently at work and I’ve just been to make myself a mug of coffee.

Here’s what happened.

I poured the coffee, added sweetener (I try and avoid sugar from a health point of view, despite the fact that sweetener is nothing but chemicals…but hey, less calories right?), and opened the fridge to get a carton of milk.

One of my colleagues was pouring herself a coffee, saw me add the milk to my coffee and said “How very British”.

I looked at my coffee confused for a moment, then at her, then back to my coffee. What’s very British?  Coffee?  Er, I think you’ll find that’s a very American thing.

Then she placed her cup under one of these bad boys…

CoffeeMate

…and starting pumping her beverage with Hazelnut…erm…’cream’?  Is it cream?

(Shrugs) Who knows?

I smiled at her as she pumped 6 doses of this stuff into her coffee and said “I used to use that until I saw the calorie content.  That’s why I went back to using milk”

She looked at me blankly for a moment.  I couldn’t tell if she was trying to comprehend what I’d said or if she was recuperating from having to count all the way up to 6.

She eventually replied with “And you guys put milk in your tea, right?” as she curled up her nose in disgust.

“Yes we do.  Actually it’s only you guys who don’t”, I said, a little defensively.

There was a pause.

“Yeah”.

She had clearly lost her way in this conversation and went back to stirring her mug of Hazelnut ‘cream’ with a bit of coffee in it.

As I walked away I turned back, smiled, and said, “Tea with milk is epic”.

She laughed.

I don’t know why.

I don’t think she knew either.

When puddings turn bad

I was in the break room at work making coffee when one of the senior managers burst through the door.  He was quite flustered and started talking loudly to one of the customer service team who thought they were going to be having a quiet coffee break.

They were wrong.

He was talking (or half shouting) about an on-going complaint we’d received from a customer who had become seriously ill whilst on holiday.

“Apparently it’s semolina poisoning!” he half shouted.

I stopped making drinks, turned and smiled, “Did you just say semolina poisoning?”

He turned to me with a face of genuine, serious concern.

“Yes”

“Really? Semolina poisoning?”

“Yes!”

Ok then.  I won’t argue.  Your education probably cost more than mine.

salmonella

Auschwitz to decaf

My wife and I were in Starbucks again this morning.  We’re always so tired in the morning and it’s just around the corner from work.  In fact, there are two Starbucks around the corner from work, practically across the road from each other, but i’ll come back to that later.

As I was stood there looking up at the menu of coffees (despite already knowing what I wanted before we went in), my wife gestured at something behind me and said “Oh my god, would you look at that.”

I turned around and saw this.

Starbucks MS
(actual photo taken)

“It’s just fucking coffee” she said, rolling her eyes.

I must admit, it was a bit much.  I understand that a business, especially one as large as Starbucks, will have a mission statement.  Yes it’s only coffee but I can appreciate the need to direct the focus of their global brand through ideals that will benefit both the customer and themselves, but come on!

They want to inspire and nurture the human spirit?  Do me a favour!  The only thing they want to nurture is my wallet; have you seen the prices of their drinks?

And with regards to ‘one neighbourhood at a time”, I have to agree; these fuckers are everywhere.

starbucks escher

In fact, according to Wikipedia:

“Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 23,305 stores in 65 countries and territories, including 13,049 in the United States, 1,909 in China, 1,555 in Canada, 1,089 in Japan and 927 in the United Kingdom”

Yeah, I’m not surprised in the slightest.  I’m convinced a majority of these are in Tottenham Court Road.

After reading that entry from Wikipedia, I decided to Google some interesting facts about Starbucks and  I came across this interesting list of 15 things about Starbucks that will blow your mind.

It’s crazy to think how successful their global domination has been, and let’s be honest, it IS a global domination.  At least, that’s how their Mission Statement reads.

Don’t believe me?

Replace the words ‘inspire and nurture’ with ‘destroy’ and you have something that wouldn’t have been out of place in Nürnberg in 1934.

But that’s possibly a little unfair methinks.

Make no mistake, I am NOT drawing direct comparisons between the largest coffeehouse company in the world and one of the most evil men in history (That would be like comparing a blowjob to sticking your dick in a blender), but Starbucks have succeeded where Adolf hadn’t.

Maybe he should’ve sold coffee instead of drinking it.  All that caffeine made him a bit ‘shouty’.

Just be honest Starbucks, we all know what your mission statement is.

“To make as much money as we can and spread like cancer;
one person, one cup,
and one neighbourhood at a time”

Don’t sugar-coat it with this cheesy and cringe-worthy bollocks.

Oh, and get your punctuation in order; that was one thing Hitler got right.

Then again, he was a bit of a grammar Nazi.

nurnberg starbucks

UPDATE – 29th August 2014

My wife and I went into the same Starbucks this morning and the Mission Statement has been painted over.  It’s not there anymore!

I’m not big-headed in any way, but I can’t help hoping thinking it’s because hopefully maybe someone working there read this post!