Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Coffee Post

You may recall that over Memorial Day weekend Dez, the boys, and I spent the long weekend at my parents' house in Douglas, Georgia. The morning we left, we stopped at a convenience store in the middle of town to buy coffee.

As a rule, I kill my coffee before I drink it by choking it with sugar and flavored creamer. At home, that takes two teaspoons of sugar, half a packet of Truvia, and almost a quarter cup of french vanilla creamer. At a convenience store, killing my coffee requires 8 packets of sugar and 4 to 6 french vanilla creamers. So killing my coffee at a convenience store takes quite a bit of time . . . and it's a little embarrassing to be putting that much stuff in your coffee when there are a couple of truckers waiting to just get to the coffee spout and put their mouth underneath it. This means that I usually try to hurry along the coffee preparation by opening three packets of sugar at a time and moving very fast.

On this particular Memorial Day morning, I volunteered to go in and get coffee for both Dez and I while she sat in the car with the boys because as soon as I started describing to her how to make my coffee, she retreated within herself and went to her happy place. So I went into the store and proceeded to the coffee counter. Immediately behind me, stocking shelves, was a store employee who was chatting it up with another customer. I fixed Dez' coffee first -- it was easy: one creamer and a couple of sugars, I think. Then I started on mine -- five minutes later I had opened the last creamer and dumped it in the cup.

Before I continue, let me describe this coffee counter -- it was about four feet deep and six feet long. It had two coffee machines sitting on it and various other machines, baskets, and buckets for sugars, creamers, etc. It was a big counter that I'm sure the store employees dreaded cleaning every night.

So after dumping my sixth creamer into the cup, I reached for a lid and knocked my full cup of coffee over onto the counter. I stared in horror as the coffee quickly covered the entire counter, winding its way underneath the coffee machines and bins. There were, of course, NO napkins whatsoever on or near the counter because that's one way convenience stores save money -- by not providing napkins for people. The store employee standing behind me (and with her back to me) did not hear my gasp of horror or the blood rushing to my face, so I stepped over to her and said in my most humble voice possible, "Um, excuse me, do you have some paper towels or a rag? I spilled my coffee over here and made a huge mess??" She turned around and looked at the counter without a word to me and huffed off -- really, she huffed. I just stood there waiting to see what would happen -- I felt like I was waiting for my punishment, really. She came back with a roll of paper towels and handed them to me, so I started cleaning. Of course, by the time she had gotten back to the me with the paper towels, the coffee had become a surface area science experiment and had miraculously multiplied its volume by 6 and spread all the way to the back and across the length of the counter. A man came in about that time and said something to the woman about the big mess, and she said something along the lines of "Well, at least the lady that done it gon' clean it up. They us'ly don't." So the man pitched in and started helping. That made the store employee feel bad, so she started helping too.

It took three of us twenty minutes to clean up all that coffee -- we had to move the machines and the storage containers and wipe underneath -- it was awful. I knew Dez was out in the car wondering what in the world I was doing, but she couldn't come check without bringing the boys in.

And here's the really humiliating part -- after we got the coffee cleaned up, I had to make another cup of coffee and of course it took twice as long as it took to make the first cup because this time, I had to be very very careful lest I spill it again. So I knew those people were dying to talk about me and were having to wait until I put my 8 sugars and 6 creamers in -- they just watched me fix it, waiting, no doubt to comment on how it was no wonder the counter was so sticky considering all the sugar I put in my coffee. I finally killed it, paid for it (the woman at the register wouldn't let me pay for the cup I spilled, so that's something, I guess) and left.

I blame Starbucks, of course, because none of that would have happened if Douglas, Georgia had a Starbucks.


  1. You're too funny, Jennifer. I'll have to admit that you out do me with the coffee preparation. I use honey and half and half and have to make sure it is the exact amount of honey and the right "color" so I keep sipping to make sure. You take the cake, though. Barbara


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