the coffee police

“Do you like coffee?”

This, apparently, is the sort of thing you ask a person who peruses the coffee shelf in the supermarket.

Earlier this week I ran out of coffee, so I had to make a shop stop.  When I entered the aisle where the coffee is shelved, I saw another lady there.  I didn’t pay her much attention.  Nothing out of the ordinary about that.  I’m not in the habit of browsing through other people’s shopping carts – their shopping lists are none of my business after all.

I parked my trolley and fixed my eyes on the wide range of coffee brands on the shelf.  You have to understand, it takes me a while to decide on which tin or jar is making the trip to the checkout point with me.  I seldom buy the same brand twice.  Now don’t go off thinking that I’m a connoisseur of everything coffee!  You’ll be greatly disappointed.  I’m afraid my eclectic taste in (selection of)  coffee is dictated by that pesky thing called “budget”!

The first products my eyes find on the shelf are the cheaper stuff (by the way, cheap is a relative term), mostly out of habit.  Oh, blech – the taste memory my brain kindly send to my taste buds make me close my eyes in despair.  Really?!  Think about it before you reach for that tin, it seems to tell me.  If you buy that you will have to live with it for many months to come.  That’s true.  The cheap stuff has the uncanny ability to last a lo-o-o-ng time in my house.  Skip that.

The more expensive brands are the ones that boast with the “100% pure coffee” labels.  Yeah, okay.  Mind you, I’ve been misled by that label a time or two in the past.  I don’t know beans about coffee beans, but I do know that I don’t appreciate all of them.  I’m also not much for flavored coffees.  I came across an Arabian blend once and was pleasantly surprised.  Unfortunately, this particular supermarket doesn’t sell it.

“Do you like coffee?”

This from the other lady in the aisle.  At first I thought not to answer – scared that she might want my opinion on beans.

“Um. . . YES!”   Oops!

She pointed at the shelf, specifically to a brand that’s a fair bit over my budget.

“You should try that.  It’s really wonderful.”

I just smiled politely, relieved that I don’t have to voice an opinion.

“Or that one.  It’s marvelous!,” she gushed,  pointing at a brand that is so way over my budget it makes the distance to the moon look like a tiny step.

“Maybe, but it’s EXPENSIVE!”  Oops!

“It’s worth it.”   And off she goes.

Now look, I really do like coffee.  I’ve limited myself to two, maybe three,  mugs a day so I really do want to enjoy my coffee.  I draw the line, however, at paying an arm and a leg for it.   Nope,  the expensive stuff  is something I’ll drink at a coffee shop as a special treat.  At home, I settle for the pleasure of instant, 100% pure coffee.  Not too strong,  not too weak.  Ahhh. . .


13 thoughts on “the coffee police

  1. It’s funny how the lady in the store thought she was being helpful!

    I so agree with you about getting the best coffee you can afford, but not being willing to pay the astronomical prices for some brands. My favourite brand – coincidentally imported from the town my brother lives in – is now a special treat. 😦

    • That’s too bad, Lisa!

      There isn’t much that can hold a candle to that perfect mug of coffee. Maybe your brother should come for a visit, bearing “gifts”! 😉

    • There’s a long story about my brother bearing gifts which I’ll have to tell you some time.

      Yesterday afternoon I had to go shopping for amongst other things coffee. My favourite brand was on a special. Still not cheap, but I haven’t had it for months so I decided to splash out and buy some. Bliss! 🙂

  2. I never liked coffe until I started a bakery business and got free lattes from every espresso stands I had an account with. Though, I still can’t see paying 3.00 for a cup of coffe that only cost 25 cents to make.

    • I’m not sure if it’s only a South African thing, but we grew up drinking coffee. We weren’t allowed to consume too much as young children, mind you, but we developed a liking for it at an early age.

      We call it “boeretroos” here. I don’t know if there is a translation for that word really, but I’d call it “farmer’s tonic” in English 🙂

  3. I like my coffee too. And like you I’ve limited myself to 3 cups a day.

    Although the lady was no doubt trying to be helpful, everyone has their own budget which can lead to an embarrassing situation for both parties. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone asked, “What’s your budget?” first. (And respected it).

    • Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!

      I don’t know that I won’t glare if a person asks me what my budget is 😉 That can be a sensitive issue for some.

    • If it’s another customer, I see your point. But what if it would be a sales assistant? Would you feel the same? For me, I think a respectful enquiry would suit me better, although of course, I may feel slightly self-aware at first. Often I’m in a shop and someone tries to sell me something completely out of my price range. Which leaves me either busting my budget, battling it out with the assistant or leaving empty handed.
      The other way perhaps you could then be shown the best your budget could afford.

      My issue is always shoes. With 4 children we need a lot of shoes throughout the year. While I’m looking for reduced bargains, assistants are showing my delighted kids the best money can buy. Can lead to some embarrassing scenarios. 😉

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