Monday, June 23, 2008

Ask an Honest Question, Get an Honest Answer

Not as Refreshing as It Sounds

© 2008 Leighann Lord
We don't have a Caribou Coffee in New York so when I spotted one while passing through the Detroit airport I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm finicky. I find most coffee to be terribly strong and bitter. What I really enjoy is a warm beverage of cream and sugar with a splash of caffeine. "How's the coffee?" I asked the counter girl. She said, "I'm young. I don't drink coffee."

Really now? Judging from the bevy of teenagers aggressively taking up space at my local Starbucks, youth no longer precludes one from drinking coffee. Unless they're all sharing a grande latte, they're respective allowances must be very generous. Maybe Miss Caribou didn't get the text message; too bad. From the sleepy way she leaned against the register a good cup of coffee could have done her a solid.

And while I usually applaud honesty, I couldn't help but wonder, "If you don't drink or like coffee, why are you working here?" Even if she's not ringing up coffee on commission, a slightly more positive attitude would have been nice. She could have said, "I haven't tried the coffee, but our most popular flavor is... customers seem to like... our best seller is ..." Maybe The Caribou Company is counting on the fact that coffee sells itself; and it does, when the staff isn't actively dissuading the customers.

Presumably on a roll or perhaps not quite understanding where the company gets the money to pay her, Miss Caribou began enumerating the disadvantages of drinking coffee. I bet she was the Girl Scout who never made her cookie quota. "I don't eat cookies. They make you fat." This attitude wouldn't fly at Starbucks. Say what you want about the ubiquitous coffee cult, but they make sure their people are trained to raise the bar in Barista.

Oh, Miss Caribou's biggest reason for not liking coffee: "It makes your breath stink."

So does sleeping but I can't seem to help it; hence the coffee. This just might explain why there's an assortment of breath mints for sale at the register. Maybe she didn’t see them since she was leaning on them. Honestly, I hadn't realized my java Jones was indicative of advanced age and reckless oral hygiene. So I passed on the coffee and ordered a garlic bagel.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

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