Wednesday, 23 December 2015

On Coffee and Complaint.

I carried my cup of Americano to the only free table in the establishment, it being busier than usual in homage to the season. (I chose to sample the new blend today and was charged an extra 20p for the privilege, which I paid with only the raise of an eyebrow.) I found the table top spotted with drops of water, so I went to the counter and asked for a tissue or piece of kitchen towel with which to dry it.

The assistant would have none of my attempt at self-sufficiency, but instead insisted on dealing with the matter herself. And so she did; she followed me back to the table with a cloth, a damp cloth which she used to wipe the surface.

‘But it’s wetter now than it was before,’ I protested.

She said nothing, but walked away seemingly uncomprehending of the absurd and counter-productive nature of her action.

I felt moved to press the matter, but decided against it because I’ve observed that complaint requires the instinct for fine judgement. If nobody complains, nothing gets done. But if a person complains too much, or is so perceived by those protected by irrational filters, he is viewed as a mere nuisance and his argument – however irrefutably rational it might be – becomes instantly transformed into inconsequential mist which passes harmlessly over the heads of those in a position to right the wrongs.

That’s frustrating, and so I kept my arms off the wet table and mused on the imperfect nature of life on an alien planet. I disliked the new blend.

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