My office moved for the umpteenth time in the last 7yrs last fall. We’re in a new building near the Seattle Space Needle, not far from South Lake Union and the general downtown area. It’s ok. I don’t love it or hate it, but I dislike it less since I’m no longer taking the bus route from hell.
We have more food options but the most convenient is the Whole Foods across the street, aka Whole Paycheck. Yesterday morning I started to make coffee at home, only to realize I had left my coffee mugs at the office. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just get coffee at work.
I was pretty hungry so I decided to get food, too. Whole Foods does a nice breakfast bar, and I got my usual 2 strips of bacon, 4oz of scrambled eggs, and 4oz of hash browns with veggies. I got in line with my food to get a coffee. And here’s where things got weird.
I ordered a 12oz caramel macchiato. Nothing exotic, no skim this, fat free that, soy-whatever. As soon as I make my request, the barista starts looking around furtively from left to right, as though I’d uttered a code-word for something deeply sinister. Now, keep in mind I’ve had a migraine for a week and am in no mood for delays, etc.. Finally she says, “You know there’s no such thing as a macchiato, right?”
Of for the love of Jaysus Christ. I glance up at the board, where IT IS CLEARLY AN OPTION, and I said, “Oh really.”
“Yeah, it’s actually just a latte. It’s something Starbucks made up.”
“Fine. I still want it.” She looks frustrated by my response, and continues to deride the fake coffee, ragging the barely-disguised latte. At this point I am trying to figure out what her fucking point is. She still hasn’t written up my order, her pen hovering above the cup, expectant and oddly hopeful.
Losing patience, I finally say -rather flatly- “Would you prefer to write it up differently?” She blinks at me and asks if I still want the macchiato or just a latte.
My blood pressure is rising. Clearly, macchiatos are the evil doers in her day, and she won’t be satisfied with anything other than “Yes, please make me a latte.”
“Go ahead and make it that way, that’s fine.” I pay and wait over by some tables for my drink- which isn’t even the correct size anymore after all that nonsense, but I was too aggravated to protest. She didn’t overcharge me so I wasn’t going to quibble further.
Finally, the other barista calls my coffee, and I swear, I couldn’t believe my eyes at what he did next.
“Caramel macchiato,” he intones- and then adds oh-so-subtle air quotes. AIR QUOTES, people.
“Dude- I saw that! Air quotes? Really?” I’m didn’t even try to hide my disdain for this anti-macchiato behavior.
“Umm, well, I used to work at Starbucks,” he replies.
Clearly. Emphasis on the “used to”. I guess the Whole Foods coffee bar is where all the anti-coffe-establishment rebels go to sling joe.