Msnowe's Blog

Coffee Conundrum

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 14, 2011

Howdy, folks! Today, m.snowe could have written  a riveting response to that Jesse Bering piece on Slate about how women have evolved in order to prevent themselves from getting raped.

But, it’s Friday. Fridays are days to do less work and then get drunk, not to talk about sexual assault, and/or the implications of evolutionary science.  So in order to waste some time (while hopefully still entertaining y’all) I’d much rather tell you all about my daily morning dilemma.

m.snowe gets up ridiculously early. Not garbage-collector early, but definitely early for someone in publishing. Think: school-teacher early, give or take. So naturally, a lot of coffee needs to be had. And when does critical mass approach? Right on my walk into the office, after thumping up the stairs out of the subway and onto 35th Street.

There is one Starbucks on my way into work. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Before m.snowe goes any further, let me stress–this is the ONE Starbucks that I can handle.  And believe me, I’ve tested out many. It is the only one directly in my path, and it is almost never busy. It’s not dirty, and there are almost no tourists that don’t know how to order things–just people in a hurry, that understand everyone else is in a hurry.

Okay, so there is one Starbucks (and yes, I also know that you are thinking Starbucks is an evil empire. I guess that makes me a Storm Trooper, but Jesus, who isn’t a Storm Trooper for one reason or another before 8AM?).  I get a Grande, Bold, Plain Ol’ Cup O’ Joe every blessed morning. Of course, this only happens when I’m not on one of those “strapped for cash so I can only consume $2 tacos for the rest of the week” kicks, which happen more often than not.  (Again, as I work in publishing.) So, anyway, that is my coffee order.

You would think there is nothing problem-causing about this order. You would be wrong. There are further nuances here:

1. I drink my coffee absolutely black. Blacker than Robin Williams’s back hair.

2. I am incredibly worried about over spending.

3. I have an irrational commitment to the idea of fairness and justice.

4. I like to be pleasant to food service workers, because I used to work in food service (can you say, college mess hall/work study?).

So, my dilemma: I immediately noticed that usually, the Barista leaves at least one or two ounces of liquid out, so as to leave room for folks who like milk, sugar, etc.  The first time I noticed that, and felt that I wasn’t getting my money’s worth, I asked if the Barista could fill it to the brim.

His response: “Oh, so you want ‘no room.'” Yes.  I had the easiest solution, right? In order to get a full cup of black coffee, all I need to do is order it with “no room.” No worries, right?

Wrong. In fact, every time I say, “Grande bold coffee please, no room,” one of two things happen:

The Barista says, “huh?” and looks at me funny while proceeding to fill me an un-full cup, or the barista completely ignores what I said and gives the order (minus the instruction of no room) to another person, who gets me a coffee with a few ounces missing.

And now I am trapped in an untenable situation: I need their coffee, but every visit, msnowe is either:

–The asshole who hands the coffee back and politely says “I asked for no room please,” and gets dirty looks


–The unhappy customer with 2.3 ounces less coffee than she paid for, who walks the last block to her building crestfallen, head hung low in defeat

Viable solutions are strongly encouraged. This is about as philosophical as m.snowe can get on a Friday afternoon. To have such troubles, right?

p.s. Unrelated and way, way more substantial: Obama kicked ass with his speech the other night. Just sayin’.