I wrote about the pain of ordering coffee in Malaysia, back in 2011. I’m bringing this post back because it’s still true, it’s funny, and it’s a slice of life story that needs to be told.
I don’t go to Starbucks anymore (well, I did when the twins were in NICU, what with all the hours I put it at the hospital) if I don’t have to. Because this is my usual experience.
Starbucks staff (SS): Hello, good morning/ afternoon/ evening!
Me: Hi. Can I please get a TALL CAFE LATTE to go?
SS: A latte?
Me:………er, yes, a CAFE Latte?
SS: OK. Having here?
Me: No, TO GO. TAKEAWAY.
SS: OK, tall cafe latte to go?
Me: YES FOR GOD’S SAKE, JUST MAKE THE COFFEE ALREADY. HERE’S THE MONEY. EXACT CHANGE.
SS (to co-worker): Tall Cafe Latte To Go (in that cheery, weird, sing-songy way they shout out orders).
Me: (waits more than 5 minutes for damn coffee)
This experience is not unique to me. My husband frequently comes home with similar tales. Of course he’s fussier than me. Case in point:
SS: (shouts out normal cheery, sing-songy greeting)
Husband (H): I’d like a Tall Americano To Go, HALF WATER please (he hates it when they fill it to the brim)
SS: Americano – what size?
SS: To go?
H: Yes. Half water. Please, make sure of that.
SS: Yes, sir. (to co-worker): Tall Americano To Go (sing-songy)!
H: Half water, please.
SS: (to co-worker) Half water!
H: (gets coffee) Excuse me, this is too full (points to cup, full to brim).
SS: Sorry sir. (takes cup, pours half of it down the sink, hands it back). Here you go sir, thank you!!
OK, so my husband is a tad fussy about overfilled coffee cups. They only burn your tongue, mouth and throat, and spill all over your shirt when you try to tilt it to drink it. So how do you explain my sister’s experience? This was at a local coffee chain.
Coffee Chain Staff (CCS): Hello, welcome! What can I get you?
Sister (we shall call her SL): Hi, I’d like a double espresso please. Do you have decaf?
SL: Yes, do you have that?
CCS: Er….um….ah….I’m not sure Miss, let me check (goes off, talks to co-worker, both looking a little bewildered).
CCS: Yes Miss, decaf. We have decaf.
SL: OK, I’d like a decaf double espresso.
CCS: (rings up bill)
At this point, my sister is feeling slightly suspicious as to whether they did have decaf, so she watches them make the coffee. The “barista” pulls a double espresso into a mug. He ADDS WATER to it. Then he pours most of it away to fit it into an espresso cup. And he hands it to my sister, a former barista. She looks at it and asks, “Excuse me, what do you think you’re doing? I just saw you add water to this.”
CCS: Er, Miss, you wanted decaf.
He thought he could ‘decaffeinate’ the normal full strength coffee by adding water.
So, I just want a coffee. Is that too much to ask?