Post # 36 I’ll Have A Cappuccino, Please!

August 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Dedicated to the principals!  Names changed to avoid law suits!  But the story really happened.

A few decades ago, I worked in a sales position and the store I worked at was located in one of the popular malls in the area.  This was at a time when coffee bars, specialty coffees, and the like were becoming popular.  Starbucks was well known, but still not everywhere, and certainly not in malls.  Fast foods were still serving standard black coffee with creamers and sugars if you asked.  And the thought of paying $7 for a melted candy bar in a cup was outrageous.

Well, for me it was outrageous.  I don’t like coffee.  I think it doesn’t live up to its own advertising.  The smell of roasted coffee beans is wonderful.  Fresh brewed coffee smells like the best stuff on Earth!  The taste, however, leaves a LOT to be desired.  I don’t like coffee; I don’t like mocha; I don’t like any of that stuff.  And don’t tell me that coffee with chocolate is good, and that it enhances chocolate because it doesn’t.  As many times as people have said “you can’t taste the coffee in it” I’ve tasted the coffee in it and don’t like it.  (My partner/spouse is the same way about salmon, but he’s deranged.)

So one of my employees (I’ll call him Buster) fell in love with the whole specialty coffee craze.  Every evening before he clocked in, he would stop at the mall’s coffee store and order a Double Chocolate Cappuccino.  It always smelled wonderful, but I was never taken in by it.  Now, Buster was a young guy, mid twenties, and in the Army.  He was a good looking, well built young man, and all the girls in the mall were crazy about him.  He was on the way to being married, though, and let the girls flirt but never followed through.  The girls at the coffee store would load his coffee with chocolate and whipped cream at no extra cost and he would just lap it up.

One evening, another employee looked at Buster and said, “That smells really good.  Can I have a taste?”  This kid (I’ll call him Toby) took a healthy slug and said, “Wow!  What IS that?”

Buster laughed and said, “It’s a cappuccino.”

Toby went on and on about how good it was until finally he turned to me and asked, “Can I go get one?”  It was a slow night so I agreed.  Turning back to Toby, he asked, “What do I ask for again?”

Buster said, “Just tell them to fix you one like Buster’s and they’ll know what to do.”

Toby came back with a cup topped high with whipped cream and a whipped cream mustache.  Toby was a young kid, only 17.  He hadn’t worked for me for very long.  He was hired as Christmas help but was good at his job so I kept him on.  He was very proud of the fact that he was in a professional job where he had to wear a tie instead of working fast food like most of his friends.  He drank that down, savoring every swallow, and in a very short time asked if he could go get another.  I nodded, remembering the days when I could drink pure sugar and not gain weight.

The following week, Toby showed up for work.  Buster was helping a customer, and I was doing paperwork.  Toby stood at the counter, drumming his fingers lightly, acting very impatient.  When the store had finally cleared out, he turned to Buster and said, “I’m mad at you!”

Buster was surprised.  “What did I do?”

“I went out to dinner with my parents on Sunday.  After dinner was finished, the waitress asked if anyone wanted coffee or cappuccino.  I was trying to impress my parents so I said that yeah, I’d like a cappuccino.”

“Were they impressed?” I asked.

“Yes, they were.  Dad even talked about his son growing up.  The waitress set down their coffees and my cappuccino.  I took a big swallow.”

I started laughing because I knew where it was going.  “Good stuff?” I asked.

“No!  I asked her, what the heck is this?”

“It was cappuccino, wasn’t it?” I asked.

“That’s what she said.  So I asked why didn’t it taste like chocolate!  Every cappuccino I’d ever had tasted like chocolate.  She said because I hadn’t ordered it with chocolate.  It was terrible stuff!”

“I looked like an idiot.” he finished.


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