Hundreds of workers based in a prominent city office block have resorted to travelling for their coffee or quit drinking it altogether after an overly friendly barista made it impossible for them to get their daily fix from the café in the foyer of their building.
“I have to wake up 20 minutes earlier than usual to get to a non-English-speaking café several blocks away,” one city employee said of the lengths he takes to avoid conversation or eye contact before 9am. “Once they start remembering my name or my order, I’ll have to move on from here too.”
“Some mornings I’m so desperate to avoid social situations I go to McCafé,” another worker said. “At least I know they’re just trained to talk to customers in that cheerful way and it’s not sincere.”
The biggest winners are keep-cup manufacturers, who say business is booming as workers are using their neutrally branded products to smuggle coffee past their friendly office baristas without causing offence.