Saturday, April 01, 2006

Blast Barista

Today I went to catch a movie after several months. Being in what we thought was good enough time for a movie like Being Cyrus i.e., fifteen minutes early, my friend and I were surprised to find the show full and bought tickets for the next show. This left us with two hours to kill and it being a scorching twelve thirty in the afternoon, our only demand of the place where we’d spend the time was that it be air-conditioned.

So we walked into a nearby Barista. I scanned the menu for options which fit the wallet considering that this was an unexpected expense. (We must not forget that we are lowly interns who are a week away from our first pay). I found several options within my price ceiling of Rs.45. Oh what luck! They also had low-cal options on their menu. So there we are, placing our order when the coffee-maker-order-taker says he’s sorry but he doesn’t have the low-cal drink I want. With a small frown I ask for option No.2; a barista toffee frappe. “Sorry ma’am, I don’t have this but can I make you a ‘barista toffee something else’. Will that be okay?” Okay, I thought, what difference will it make? Some other toffee flavoured coffee. So I told him to go ahead and added, before he could ask, “No cream, chocolate sauce or other stuff with it.” “No ice-cream?” he almost pleaded. Stupid question to ask someone who was just refused a low-cal drink I’d say. So after making it clear that I want only coffee, I go back to my seat. As my friend places his order, I can see our counter guy tell him something which looks like ‘seventy-seven’, if I lip-read correctly. Great, I thought, both coffees in seventy-seven, perfect.

How wrong I was. Just my coffee cost Rs.77. Rs.77!! For a coffee?! And the original frappe thing I had ordered was only Rs.45. So what had he ‘made me’ that was suddenly this expensive, sans chocolate sauce, sans ice-cream, sans cream? At the risk of sounding like my dad, in seventy-seven rupees I can buy 2 packets of Sunrise coffee powder and drink frappes for two months. As for the coffee, give me Mysore Café’s filter kapi, any day. Or the meticulously measured out tall glass of cold coffee that Sumedh makes when we go to his place which no Barista can ever match upto. Or my mom’s early morning ‘alarm for the brain’ brew. Stupid snobbish glass of barista coffee that, I must add, had the ‘toffee’ flavor stuck to the sides of the glass only, which I, nevertheless, polished off in quite an undignified manner.

And this isn’t the first time that any of these coffee shops have let me down in the value-for-money department. A similar experience occurred when a friend once ordered a ‘Barista Blast’. At a whooping price of Rs.80, I’m sure it blasted a hole in his pocket. Another time, at Café Coffee Day, I ordered an iced café mocha which was more ice, less mocha. Sumedh and I waited for the ice to melt, (yes, sometimes you are that jobless). And we must publish our significant finding, that water filled a third of the glass. These people are only out to cheat us.

The fundamental thing is that no one goes to these coffee shops for the coffee. We go there for the lack of a better hang-out in Bombay. Not too many parks and walking tracks for us. The latest Supreme Court ruling in favour of the mill lands being the property of the owners only, to pretty much do what they please, means that there will be more Phoenix mills malls and fewer Joggers' Parks. And these malls will definitely have a Barista, won’t they? But, I’m drifting. The other reason why people go to Barista is to kill two hours in AC bliss. Well, under the circumstances, my original suggestion of window shopping at Shopper’s Stop would have been easier on the pocket. But I should keep that in mind the next time I want to meet up with someone.

PS: The movie ticket cost only Rs.65. The coffee on the other hand…


Sumedh said...

I had myself been fleeced once by the "at-your-service" smiling counter guy, who chipkaoed me a Brrista Blast (worth Rs. 100). As a warning to never be fleeced again, I carry that bill in my wallet.

And the last paragraph was very interesting - the disappearance of the open spaces forces people to go indoors into the deceitfully inviting Baristas and Coffee Days around town! They've truly sold the city to the corporates.

Kag said...