Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I don’t think I’m a feminist. At least, I don’t like feminism as allegorized by the following illustrated attitude:

A Customer comes in and orders a quad venti three-pump percent with-whip white mocha. I make the drink per the specs written for me on the cup by the person expediting the line, except that I forget the customer only wanted three pumps of white mocha. I put it on the bar. I call out, “Quad venti percent with-whip white mocha!” (Actually, in real life, I’d say, “Your drink’s all set, Jerry”—but this isn’t actually Jerry I’m illustrating. It’s just that his drink is high-maintenance enough to be a good example, and plus, I miss him already.)

The Customer-who-isn’t-actually-Jerry comes over to the bar and grabs the drink. “Thank you,” I say. “Have a good day.” The Customer doesn’t say anything, doesn’t smile, takes a sip. “Ugh!” says The Customer. “You put in too much white mocha! Make it again!”

Now, see, I definitely think there’s such a thing as too much white mocha. As in, pretty much any white mocha is too much in my opinion (unless you combine a very small amount with an also small amount of peppermint, and then it tastes like a non-pareil, which I actually like, though probably more for nostalgia’s sake than for any other reason).

Besides, the mistake was mine. It’s not like The Customer had wanted an iced beverage and neglected to tell me and then said with disgust, after I had made it hot, “I wanted it iced.” (To Starbucks customers everywhere: Do not do this. Repeat: DO NOT do this. We cannot read your minds. Nor do we want to.)

This Customer is entitled to having their drink remade. They shouldn’t have to drink all that white mocha if they don’t want to and if (not surprisingly) it really doesn’t taste good to them. They just spent about five of their hard-earned dollars on the thing. But really, do they have to be so rude about it? If The Customer had instead smiled at me when I thanked them and wished them a nice day, then taken the sip, and finally asked politely if I had remembered they only wanted three pumps of white mocha, and if not, could I please make it again, I would have apologised. I would have thought what a nice person they were to have been so nice about a mistake which was not even their fault. I would have made the drink over in a heartbeat.

Given the example at hand, however, I would have remade the drink in a heartbeat just to get them out of my hair, and I would have thought (and probably muttered under my breath to the nearest barista) all sorts of uncharitable things about them. I would have internally blamed the customer for having a drink with so many stupid specifications, and come on, with a line like this, how could they expect me to remember everything when I’m trying to hurry to help them get to work in a timely fashion?

I’m not that kind of feminist. By which I mean, I really don’t like the kind of feminism that goes around acting all entitled (like The Customer), even if women are entitled to certain rights and treatment. The Customer was entitled to the right drink, but they didn’t have to be such a jerk about it. I don’t like any kind of “ism” very much, if the truth were known, because typically its adherents do act kind of entitled, and I think that attitude is one of the hardest on earth to stomach, no matter how worthy the cause is. I don’t want to go around picking fights because I think someone’s ill-treatment of me is based on my being a woman. It’s really their problem.

(Then again, you could probably make the case against me that at least internally I go around picking fights when people treat me like dirt because I work in a coffee shop. Maybe I’m a “barista-ist.” Maybe I act entitled when I think I should be treated better by the people who use me for coffee. Hmm. This is a new thought. I might have to consider this. But I’m still not deleting this post. Consider this a “Not It!” in the game of “Hypocrite Tag.” Even if I am it.)

On the other hand, maybe I kind of am a feminist. A couple weekends ago, I was saying something and friend John said, “Here speaks the feminist-Christian chick.” It was kind of startling nomenclature for me—it isn’t one of the things I call myself. But maybe he was right.

Why all this matters: to be revealed in a future episode of Jennwith2ns.

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