Call me caffeine-crazed, but I’ve never seen a chain coffee-shop functionary – let’s be honest they only call them baristas to make the minimum wage more appealing – hand over a coffee with anything more than a hassled, dead-eyed, resigned, is-this-it? shrug.
And I don’t blame them. Passion is one of those words that has lost all currency these days. People are passionate about bread, about cooking, about chart-style pap music and now (apparently) coffee.
Do we have to be passionate about everything? Must we pretend that we really give a stuff about our shit jobs? Need we lie in job interviews to pretend that it’s really important to us that logistics orders are completed on time? It is, because idiot CEOs, HR personnel and feckless middle managers have decided that badly-paid front-line staff have to be as chuffed to be in their shit jobs as the CEOs, HR personnel and feckless middle managers with their comfortable jobs, nice houses and Lexus CT200h.
I don’t care if people swiping my tinned goods at a check-out are passionate; the call-centre functionary adopts a rictus smile of insincere politeness or the barista has a hard-on for Java Roast Gourmet Colombian Ground Coffee.
Here in Liverpool there’s a coffee shop I sometimes go to. It’s called Bold Street Coffee and I know the man who runs it a little bit. He’s passionate about coffee, perhaps too much. And he’s built a business on being passionate about coffee. His staff are passionate about coffee, there’s local art on the walls, he knows all of his suppliers and does tastings to educate people about coffee. I can tell that he was irritated when I told him that I drink coffee with sugar and milk. That is a man who loves coffee.
But Costa Coffee? Can you realistically, reasonably expect people to care about a job that pays badly, offers few prospects and doesn’t afford them any meaningful working rights (I’m not just having a pop at Costa here, virtually all service industry jobs are similarly terrible). How are you meant to be passionate about coffee when you serve 200 cups of the damn stuff to uninterested Joes killing time with a cup of coffee that costs somewhere in the region of three quid?
I just want efficient service with a thankyou at the end of it. And if the likes of Costa and Starbucks can do something about the deep well of emptiness I feel whenever I enter one of their branded waiting rooms that would be nice too.
But this advert? Fuck off and stop lying to our faces, Costa.