Better Offer?

The things I do – whilst waiting for a better offer!


“Coffee, White … With Milk!”

I have noticed many things since joining the commuter club and have mentioned some of them in previous posts.  (See Commuters Or Sheep? and Conducting A First Class Fare Dodge )  Many of these things are people’s routines and a few of them have kept me amused each day.

Am I easily pleased?

Some, however, have concerned me as I seem to have adopted them.  😦

Having stated that I am concerned, one such routine has brought some pleasure into my little world.  And that little pleasure is quite simply a cup of coffee!

You see, I am easily pleased.

Many commuters stop at the station café and purchase their coffee to consume on the train (now we no longer have buffet cars!).  Some commuters bring theirs with them from their homes.  These commuters have various insulated cups of different shapes and sizes.  Some of them even bring flasks.

One female commuter boards the train at the next station after me and promptly settles in a seat close to or opposite me.  She then produces a clear plastic bag – the type used to hold sandwiches or fresh food about to be frozen – from her handbag (I say handbag, it’s more like an overnight bag!) followed by a tissue which she lays out on the table in front of her.

She smoothes out the tissue; removes the elastic band which is holding the plastic bag closed; withdraws the insulated cup from the now open plastic bag; places it on the tissue and starts to remove the lid.  Then she produces another tissue from her bag and proceeds to wipe the inside of the lid before placing it on the first tissue next to the insulated cup.

Whilst sitting staring at the now cooling coffee, she folds the plastic bag, places it next to the insulated cup and pops the elastic band on top.

Everything neatly lined up!

She is now ready to drink.  And in between each mouthful, she meticulously wipes around the rim of the insulated cup with the second tissue!

I digress!

Watching this commuter is not the little pleasure I alluded to earlier.  No, my little pleasure comes from picking up a real coffee on my way from the station to the office.  It’s just a simple thing, but no one in my household likes coffee, which means I rarely drink the proper stuff.  Yes, I have instant coffee to give me an approximation of the drink, but if I want real coffee I either have to go out or invite friends round so that I can make a batch of the real thing.

And between the station and the office there are enough establishments serving real coffee to allow me to use a different place every day for a month!  However, I settled on one establishment fairly quickly when I found out they served a brand of coffee I was first introduced to in Italy a couple of years ago.

And there was an added bonus to using that establishment.  Not only do they serve a coffee I like, but they charge 5 times less for theirs than the multinational/global chains in the same street!

This meant I didn’t have to spend my last star-shaped buck listening to a fiddler who played as the Italian coffee burned whilst drinking a coffee which cost-a-lot!  😉

But with this bonus came a downside.  A few weeks in to my new found pleasure, this establishment ran out of take-away cups!  I could only have a coffee if I had the time to sit in and drink it.

So how long do you think the cup shortage lasted?  Two or three days?

No, three weeks!

After the first week of listening to the feeble excuses as I enquired every morning as to the stock level of their take-away cups, I decided I would take matters into my own hands.  And it was the earlier mentioned commuter whose morning coffee routine inspired me.

For the following two weeks I went into that establishment with my very own insulated cup tucked away in my laptop bag.  And for every day they offered me an excuse and shrugged their shoulders at their inability to successfully place an order on their head office for take-away cups, I produced my cup.  And to their credit, every day I did so, they filled it.

Happiness all round!  I got my morning caffeine fix, they got a sale.

There was one other slight drawback to visiting this establishment.  They weren’t blessed with very bright staff.  The very fact that they could be out of stock of a take-away cup for so long highlights this.  But some mornings I didn’t fancy a milky coffee, so instead of asking for a latte I would just ask for a white coffee.  For those non-coffee drinkers like She Who Must Be Obeyed who may be reading this, a latte is mostly warm milk with a hint of coffee, whereas, a white coffee just has a little milk added.

So, back to my order, I used those two words – white and coffee – together in the same sentence.

“Morning.  A white coffee to take away please.”

Some mornings I confess to slipping in an Americanism and saying “a white coffee to go please”.

But it didn’t matter which version I used I would always be asked the same question – “do you want milk in that?”

Oh well, I have to keep reminding myself that firstly it is a very well priced cup of coffee (white, with milk) and secondly it is a very good cup of coffee (white, with milk).