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

They pledge allegiance TO the flag….

A couple of days ago, my wife and I attended a Customer Service Excellence awards ceremony.  This was for employees across Las Vegas who had been nominated by their employers for outstanding customer service.  My wife had been nominated for an award and I went along with her because, a) it was my day off, and b) they had a free breakfast buffet.

Oh, and I was proud of my wife, or whatever.

Anyway, the ceremony opened with the MC – from a local radio station – telling some jokes, telling us how honoured he was to be hosting the awards and desperately plugging his radio station.  Well, I say MC…but on the programme guide it was listed as ‘EmCee’.

Does America thinks ‘MC’ is shorthand for ‘EmCee’?

‘OK’ is shorthand for Okay. ‘BBQ’ is shorthand for Barbecue. But ‘MC’ is NOT shorthand for EmCee; it usually stands for Mic Controller…on in this case, Master of Ceremonies (although ‘Master’ was a bit of a stretch).

(rolls eyes)

At the time I was thinking it could’ve stood for something else in which the ‘M’ could’ve been ‘Massive’, or ‘Moronic’, and the ‘C’ could’ve been the only thing ‘C’ could’ve been.

Clowns maybe?

Nah.

Anyway, next on the list of activities listed on the official programme was ‘The Pledge Of Allegiance’.  I was excited for this as I’d never been part of a pledge before so I was intrigued to see it.

I didn’t have to wait long.

Soon, the ‘EmCee’ declared it was time for the pledge and, as one, the auditorium full of people all stood up around me, put their hands over their hearts and started chanting in unison.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

It was a little unnerving that everyone just got up and started chanting together, but it’s the pledge of allegiance so I half expected it.  It was like The Lord’s Prayer at school which I still know to this day because it was drilled into us, day after day, after day.

Now, you may have noticed that I’ve emboldened and underlined the first part of the pledge above; this was the ONLY part of the pledge that I actually knew – from American movies and TV shows – so I had no choice but to mime the rest like the imposter I was.  I felt completely out of place as everyone, including my wife, went into autopilot.

But that wasn’t the weirdest thing.  Not by a long shot.  No, the weirdest thing was the fact that every single person in the place had turned slightly to the left so they were facing the American flag positioned on the left side of the stage. I thought I had successfully fooled everyone with my hand over my heart and the opening and closing of my mouth like a guppy.

Nope.

As the only twat still facing forward, I was a fish out of water…and I looked like one.

fishbreathing

I have to say, it was all a bit creepy.  I’ve become accustomed to the weirdness and eccentricities of American life, but nothing prepared me for this.  Everyone outside the USA knows how dedicated the Americans are to their pledge, but the whole flag thing just freaked me out!

This got me thinking though; what if there isn’t a flag in the room?  What then?

In America, there’s always a solution.

pledgepants

Uh oh, someone’s in trouble…

Tonight’s train announcement was so good I just had to blog about it.

We were sat at East Croydon station for a prolonged amount of time when the speaker system fired up with….

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking.  I’m sorry we’re currently being held at the station a little longer than expected. I have no idea why we’re being delayed. There are two platform staff a little further down from me but neither of them have had the decency to come over and actually tell me whats going on, so I’m in the dark just as much as you are. I will be taking it up with their manager as this is a poor example of customer service”.

I sensed the words “wankers”, “twats” and “hapless” were on the tip of his tongue, but I couldn’t be sure.

There were a few smiles amongst my fellow commuters.

I’m pretty sure I actually saw someone high five him as he walked up the train checking tickets. Then again, it could’ve been a slap. I’ve known it to happen.