Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Where the hell are the people from Health and Safety?

eh um er
can I get a shake to go....

In the long before time (about 5 years ago) I used to be the manager of a coffee shop. In many respects it was a joyous place and a joyous time, I could play the music that I liked, service was easy, and the coffee was great. The guy that owned the place was a mentalist of massive proportions. He was a great big fan of the Bolivian Marching Powder and this could have positive and negative effects on him, and more importantly, me. His mood could change a hundred times an hour. One minute he was laughing and coming up with ridiculous drinks, the worst being the mint tea cappuccino abomination, the next he would be throwing people out the moment they finished their drink. He once gave a lifetime ban to a 6 month old child and by implication the child's mother. Honestly the child got barred first then the mother. Very funny at the time, in fact it is still funny now.

You never quite knew where you stood with him, he was as paranoid as Joe McCarthy and as strung out as Pete Doherty, which made me paranoid. You would get to work at 4 to find the staff practically in tears as he played the same bloody song over and over again for an hour. But he was generous to a fault, he would close up for no reason and take everyone to the bar, he would lend you money and never ask for it back, and he was a bit of a genius when it came to new ideas, mint tea cappuccino's aside. Happy days, strung out, but happy days. But by the end I wanted to fire bomb the place...

Anyway that's not the point of this post. As I said I was the manager of this coffee shop. It was like being the one sane person in the asylum. The staff would look to the owner when I was going off about time keeping or being stoned at work or the state of their clothes. He would tell me to chill which wound me up. The next day he would have a go at me for the state of the staff! There was no uniform as such but jeans and black t-shirt were what was expected. But this was very loosely interpreted by the staff. This wasn't really a problem as long as it was tidy. Some of the girls interpreted it very very loosely, jeans hung low on the waist, vest tops that made me blush, and flip flop shoes (I think you kids call em thongs in the States). The revealing tops and g-string exposing jeans weren't my problem but the shoes were.

Those fun time kids from the Health and Safety department from Belfast City Council always got very sweaty about open toed shoes. And it makes sense, hot milk and water gets spilled on a regular basis behind the counter of a coffee shop. But would the ladies listen to me? No, no they fucking didn't. I was on at them all the time about it. They would just turn to the boss and he would tell them it was okay. He as a fan of the half dressed barista, female barista that is. Time after time I would arrive to work to find that he had hired another stunning beauty from some piss poor Balkan State. It mattered not a jot to him if they had any experience or even if the could speak English. As long as they looked hot it was all that mattered. Good grief we even had a reputation for it! Every so often I had to sack a few of them behind his back. It became the cull of the pretty'.

giddy up?
what the fuck?


So you can imagine my shock and disbelief the other night when I was searching the internet for pictures of baristas [insert guffawing remark here] when I came across Cowgirls Espresso! Cowgirls Espresso is a coffee kiosk chain who's baristas wear, well they wear very little! What would Belfast City Council's Health and Safety department make of these ladies in their heels and bikinis? Seriously what the fuck is that all about? Is this 1971? Is this all we can come up with to sell more coffee? And political objections aside coffee machines are nasty snarling pieces of kit that spray hot jets of water at you for no reason. It just doesn't make any sense! God my previous boss would have loved that franchise! And they aren't the only ones using sex to sell coffee, if the ladies of Cowgirls Espresso don't froth your latte (genius) then you could try Moka Girls or Bikini Espresso (after a LOT of searching they don't appear to have an internet presence) or The Sweet Spot or Natte Latte.

Cowgirls Espresso have theme nights, Military Monday, Cow Girl Tuesday, Bikini Wednesday, Pedophile Thursday sorry that's not right I mean School Girl Thursday, and Fantasy Friday. No mention of what happens at the weekend, maybe Germaine Greer Saturday and dress up Sunday? Hey I'm not criticising a woman's chosen career but this seems to me to be right out of the town, if not the time, of Bedrock. And honestly if they don't catch a cold they will burn their toesies! It's all a bit icky....

Manuel approved
sensible shoes....


22 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Angela-la-la said...

Sounds like Hooters with caffeine and froth. They should have called it Starfucks.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Ahaha - that Espresso place is in MY town which is the fucking coffee capital of the world. And, given $tarbucks has taken over every corner, small shops have had to resort to these kind of tactics to lure customers.

BTW, Angel-la-la is FUNNY.

Conortje said...

jeez and I thought gay men were sex obsessed. It's just men in general really isn't it. Coffee and flesh though??? I just don't get it.

sheepworrier said...

I'm pretty sure he didn't employ much home-grown talent then Manuel? A muffin-topped milly with soverign rings and a propensity to slap customers children would not be the most alluring of baristas...

Speaking of school girls (i know i'm stretching this here), did you hear about Methody College forcing their pupils to wear skirts below the knee?
The end of an era... them girls created more traffic accidents on the Malone Road than I care to remember.

ellie said...

It's enough to make me ditch the full fat cappachino for a skinny latte. Nothing like a young, pretty girl in jeans to make an older woman feel fat and frumpy.

livesbythewoods said...

Ah, it's such a shame. Being gorgeous AND good at your job is fab (I'm told) but getting a job on the basis that you look cute in a bikini/cowgirl outfit/school uniform?

Hm. I know it happens, but I am rather depressed that some bright spark thought it was time for the whole sorry system to be formalised.

And Jeez! Boiling water! Steam! Hot milk! I hope every one of those places has a fucking HUGE first aid box.

MacDara said...

I like the idea of that coffee shop , It would go down well here in Lebanon. Where can I get a franchise? I already employ good looking girls to work in our company and I am sure I can convince them to wear the uniform at least it would cover more than they wear now.

Manuel said...

Angela-la-la: Hahahahahaha I wish I had thought of that.

Anonymous boxer: You people must be jittey all the time eh? Espresso shakes n all that....

Conortje: coffee and flesh? It is just bonkers! Flesh and booze I get, but coffee? What next, flesh and burgers?

Sheepo: Ah he chose the best of the local ladies. It's where I met my own LMM! As for the skirts on the ladies of Methodist College, I have no opinion....honest

Ellie: Never! A cappuccino made with anything other than full fat milk is not a cappuccino. Frumpy? You? Dont be daft....

LBTW: Burn spray by the gallon!

MacDara: Hahahahahahaha! I can just imagine....

Conan Drumm said...

Ah, so an expresso (sic) is the same as a bit of the udder?

Medbh said...

Feminist bloggers alerted me to this some time ago. It's now a huge industry in Seattle to use women's flesh to peddle coffee. And for minimum wage, too.
That's the patriarchy, folks.

fatmammycat said...

There was a recent kerfufle about this where by a coffee shop owner began to demand his workers dressed this way and the ladies all quit. Quite right too. Why should a perfectly good waitress have to demean herself to serve coffee? The shame of it was there were plenty of others lining up to take their jobs.

fatmammycat said...

I should try reading more clearly.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I think I would end up just ordering water and weeping in the car.

I don't think this idea has given them the financial results they were hoping.... and given it's SEATTLE... well, we get a lot of rain here. BRRRRRR.

Manuel said...

Conan Drumm: Udderly ridiculous

Medbh: It's absolutely shocking. I'm no prude or anything like that, but they are using sex to sell COFFEE! COFFEE, holy fuck...

FMC: No no I agree....

Anonymous boxer: It doesn't make sense on any level...

Manuel said...

Now that I think about it, where's Sheepo today? Eh?

finn said...

let me get this straight, manuel -- is it the *toe* cleavage you're objecting to? or do you simply have a shoe fetish?

Manuel said...

Finn: HAHAHAHAHAHA, I worry about the ladies feet. Hot milk burns! Funnily enough I was had a conversation about foot fetishists yesterday, dirty people, very dirty people.....

Medbh said...

There was just a story posted about this woman getting mugged in the U.S. but before he left her he licked her feet.
Odd.

Manuel said...

Medbh: Odd? Understatement I'd say....

bendersbetterbrother said...

Don't see the problem. Are they changing the uniform in your's?

Manuel said...

BBB: Oh sweet Jesus no! Oh the humanity....

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