Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Should Have Stuck to Starbucks

If you have ever been to a different country you know how much of a pain getting something as simple as a cup of coffee could be. If you have been in this country for more than five years and you are only four courses away from getting a bachelor's degree, you don't expect this to be an issue. Well, you are wrong.

Yesterday I decided to stop at the school cafeteria to reward myself with a cup of Starbucks coffee. I've done it a couple of times before and it was pretty straightforward. I give the cashier 5 bucks, she gives me my Starbucks iced coffee and some change. I put change in my purse and sip coffee. Simple.

Since the weather was particularly obnoxious and chilly yesterday, I though it would be a good idea to warm myself up with a cup of a hot coffee (Big Mistake#1).

- A cup of hot Starbucks coffee, please, - I said with my Russian accent and pointed at the ad featuring a signature plastic cup of iced and slightly overpriced coffee. ($2.30!)

- Oh, we don't do hot Starbucks. We have regular coffee though for a lower price.

- Great! I'll have the largest size then.

- It will be $1.80. Would you like to add a flavor shot for an extra 30 cents?

Heck, yes. Still cheaper than flavorless Starbucks: -Yes, please (Big mistake #2). What flavors do you have?

-Hazelnut, Caramel, Gingerbread...

_Mmm, gingerbread sounds good.

30 seconds later the cashier hands me a 24oz coffee cup and says:

-It (gingerbread) is very sweet. Try before you put any sugar in it.

While still at the register I take the cup to my mouth and take a sip (BIG BIG Mistake #3). I don't know whose eyes became bigger at the moment, mine, the cashiers or a female student's standing next to me in line.

-NOOO, DON'T!!!!- the cashier screamed and every single soul in the cafeteria was staring at me. - I meant you try it after you put coffee in the cup!

Puzzled and nauseous from the incredible sweetness in my mouth, I looked inside the cup and surely enough there was no coffee. Just the sticky orange substance called gingerbread shot, half of which was already gone.

-You pour coffee yourself - it is in the corner.

I forced a silly giggle (Big Mistake #4, because it probably sounded pathetic) and left the register forgetting about the change. Only God knows how hard it was to pour coffee when at least 20 pairs of eyes kept looking at me. Nobody laughed (God bless them), I think they were just curious if I am capable to finish the process of getting my coffee. It didn't go smoothly, because it took me awhile to figure out which way to turn the lid of the pot to pour it.

When the coffee was finally in my cup I slowly walked my way out of the cafeteria (although I badly wanted to run), pretending to be cool.

I am not going back there ever again.

Needless to say, the cashier was right. Gingerbread shot was very sweet. I will never be able to hear the word "gingerbread" without shivers. I will never order gingerbread flavor again.


Faith said...

It makes me sad that you are forever ruined for gingerbread. Ali brought over some gingerbread cake and it was just lovely. I think your problem is that you are a mommy, wife, and student all at the same time, and making your brain work to order coffee was just too much.

Melanie in TX said...

Oh, your opening statement is so true!

When I was in Augsburg, Germany, I looked and looked for a coffee shop. All I could find open early in the morning were bars - serving beer! No coffee!

I got myself a coffee pot and coffee at the base exchange and that solved my problem (I never was one for the base hospital cafeteria).

So yes, I can commiserate a bit with your culture shock, especially where coffee is concerned!

Sean said...

Funny how way too much of one thing can ruin it forever. LOL!