3 March, 2003: I love the smell of coffee in the morning

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In my continuing quest to find inappropriate technical solutions to social problems, I have purchased a coffee machine and a mains timer switch. In the future I expect to be woken in the morning by one or more of

  1. the sound and smell of fresh espresso bubbling cheerfully from the coffee machine; or,
  2. an ear-shattering bang accompanied by an explosion of superheated water resulting from a high-pressure failure in the thing's water boiler.

The point being that I bought the contraption for £7 from a charity shop, so who knows what gunk and limescale is likely to be furring up its safety valve. (I hope it has a safety valve. I haven't checked.) In any case, `an ear-shattering bang' sounds like the sort of thing which is likely to get me out of bed, so it's probably no bad thing either way.

Anyway, this brings me, rather tangentially, to something else I wanted to say....

Evil walks the Earth, but it needs coffee to get up in the morning

Why I Like Starbucks

I know that this is pretty heretical, but that's OK, right? You expect that.

Anyway, I like Starbucks because

The latter is obviously pretty important, but for some people it's actually a disadvantage. These people are mostly smokers, and people who associate with smokers and lack what my friends will laugh at me for calling `moral fibre'. The smoking thing really irritates me, and in fact I'm compiling a list of all the people I know who smoke near me. If later in life I get lung cancer and by then the NHS has been abolished, then I will sue the people on the list to pay for my health-care costs. Unfortunately I understand that it's not compulsory for smokers to buy personal liability insurance to protect others from their actions, but I suppose these people are likely to be richer than me anyway, since if they're already doing their best to decrease their life expectancies, it's probably not worth their making payments into a pension. (Link requires `Power Point'.)

Consumer Whore

(Logo by Kieron Dwyer.) That was a bit of a digression. In fairness, I should point out reasons that I dislike Starbucks:

I mean, £1.55 for an Americano? I'm not made of money, you know. Also,

Because they have no conception of how to run a queue. Can't be helped, I suppose.

Apparently, many people dislike Starbucks because they resent giving money to a fatuous corporate behemoth.

This is silly. You shouldn't try to change the world by witholding your money from corporations. The correct procedure is to give it to the Labour Party, and tell them what you'd like government policy to be. Oddly none of this is governed by any consumer protection legislation, so they might turn around and decide that they're not going to accomodate your special interest, and you'll be left with no recourse. But that's one of the risks you run.

There are other possible complaints:

``But I don't agree with the aims of the Labour party!''

The Labour party has aims? Why wasn't I told?

``But I don't have that kind of money!''

Then why are you even contemplating going to Starbucks? I ask myself this all the time....

(I was going to link to the Starbucks website -- you can guess the URL I expect -- but then I discovered that to even view their stupid site you have to accept a cookie. Why? It's not like there's anything on their stupid site anyway. At this point I should probably make some cookies / biscuits gag, but what's the point? In fact, the whole thing is a model of bad user interface design. When you go to their site it produces an idiotic message which states

Your browser must accept cookies to use Microsoft .NET Passport.

What the fuck? I don't want to use Microsoft .NET Passport. I want to find out about Starbucks. Does it not occur to these bozos that those two things are completely different and could only possibly be related in the diseased brain of some lackwitted web `designer' or mindless `consultant'? I despair. What's most astonishing here is that, despite idiocy on every level of their organisation, they still serve better coffee than all the `real' cafés in Cambridge. There's a lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not sure what.)

Copyright (c) 2003 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.