How is my day? I want a cof­fee!

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

IBLAME Amer­ica. A sweep­ing gen­er­al­i­sa­tion, I know, but I am not mak­ing it cul­pa­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world. But who else can we point the fin­ger at for the phe­nom­e­non of over­ly­cour­te­ous and ea­ger-to-please staff in high-street cof­fee chains who in­sist on find­ing out about not just your day but your en­tire life as you wait pa­tiently for a dou­ble espresso and a toasted sandwich? It’s a well-worn re­tail mantra that the cus­tomer comes first. Which is fine ex­cept when it tips into a pre­tence that you are their best friend. The other day I popped in to a high street branch of a par­tic­u­lar chain and it wasn’t long be­fore I found my­self be­ing en­ticed into just such an ex­change. “How’s your day gone so far to­day, sir?” So far? I was al­ready on the de­fen­sive de­spite the clev­erly def­er­en­tial use of the word “sir.” Was I ex­pected to re­turn later on and com­plete a run down of the full day rather than just the morn­ing? Would I be handed one of those feed­back forms with dozens of ques­tions about what I’d had for break­fast and how my jour­ney into work had been? I opted for what I thought was a non-com­mit­tal “fine, thanks” but it was not enough to de­ter my in­ter­roga­tor, whose hyper-ac­tiv­ity sig­nalled some­one who quite prob­a­bly had too much caf­feine cours­ing round their sys­tem. “We’ve got the air con­di­tion­ing on up­stairs. The tem­per­a­ture is lovely.” I’m bound to say I strug­gled to come up with an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse that did not come across as rude but con­veyed my gen­eral in­dif­fer­ence to the am­bi­ent con­di­tions. “Oh, re­ally? That’s nice.” As of­ten hap­pens, a strong in­stinct to pre­serve my san­ity kicked in and my mind shut down. Un­like the air-con­di­tion­ing, which I’m sure I rashly promised I’d be back at some point to savour.

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