Sitting in one of the large coffee shop chain outlets recently, I was struck by how much going for a cup of coffee has changed since I was a child. In certain department stores across town around 10.30 in the morning or around 3 in the afternoon in the usually top floor cafe, you would find impeccably dressed middle-aged ladies, with perfect hair, matching shoes and handbags. I should know, my mother was one of them and was to be found there often. It used to be somewhat of a status statement to go have coffee or afternoon tea in the department store café in place of the café in the mall or one in a supermarket.
But around 3 on the day I visited to get my large latte with an extra shot, as I looked around the clientele seemed different in the coffee shop. It cannot be expense, as they work out about the same taking into account time and inflation I suppose. People were much younger, although not as well dressed in most cases. Couples sat reading newspapers to themselves, that would never have done in my mother’s day, you went to see and be seen and then to talk about everyone else. A group of young mothers with surprisingly well behaved babies sat around a large table and various people sat typing on laptops.
Interest became too much for me and I was desperate to ask someone else their view, so I approached a young lady sitting on one of the rather comfortable looking sofas. I started by explaining what I had been thinking about and asked her opinion, Frances a Louisiana Licensed Social Worker in town for a conference, had this to say, “I remember visiting the cafe in the biggest department store in my home town with my mum when I was young around this time of day and being told to be on my best behavior or we would be asked to leave”. We both agreed that there was never music being played and that the cups were never so big then either.
Bolstered by another’s views, I moved onto the next sofa where I found Jo, a licensed professional counselor in la, she had overheard some of my previous conversation and was happy to discuss it further. “The department store café was always thought of as being very fancy, as you could order coffee, tea or even have tea with lemon” she laughed, the picture went through my mind of the great ceremony of the small teapot, cup and saucer and small side plate with two slices of lemon on it. I hadn’t even remembered that until she mentioned it. “I do think that now we can be sure of the quality of a cup of coffee though, if I’m in my home town or away if I go into one of the coffee chain outlets, I know what I’ll get”
Perhaps that is an improvement, but I could just fancy lemon tea………………
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