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Re: [Czechlist] CHAT: Trust chemists to make things complicated (was washing up)

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  • James Kirchner
    He s expressing my exact feelings about going to Starbucks! :-) If I could compare the Starbucks experience to anything, it would be watching MTV Europe in
    Message 1 of 55 , Dec 28, 2012
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      He's expressing my exact feelings about going to Starbucks! :-) If I could compare the Starbucks experience to anything, it would be watching MTV Europe in the early '90s. It's the same funhouse of politically correct cliches -- real groaners! -- and even the same music stars are featured.

      There's a chain of bakery/deli stores here called Panera. I went there to get a sandwich once, and it got so complicated -- starting with finding out whether "country white" bread is the same as white bread or something tricky -- that I irritatedly told the girl to cancel the order and walked over to the food concession at Target, where I got a simple ham-and-cheese sandwich wrapped in plastic. (This turned out to be divine intervention or something, because a woman there who I didn't remember thanked and praised me to the skies for making it possible for her to finish university on her third attempt. Apparently, I was the first prof with the politically incorrect guts to explicitly tell her what her problem was and to coach her not to write in Ebonics.)

      Later, in a conversation with a friend, I said, "So I went to Panera to get a sandwich..." She made a face and said, "You went to Panera?" I said yes, but when I told her I'd left and bought a sandwich at Target instead, she replied, "Okay. I didn't imagine you'd have the patience to order at Panera."

      Jamie

      On Dec 28, 2012, at 8:22 PM, Pilucha, Jiri wrote:

      > Hi Jamie,
      >
      > These are excellent examples. I have many times observed the same thing on myself and couldn't agree more.
      >
      > Ironically, though, here's an example of exactly the same kind of frustration experienced at Starbucks this time by an American author... it's actually quite entertaining, I am pasting in a whole section only slightly abridged
      > (It's almost unbelievable how he uses almost exactly the same words as you have!!!)
      > I don't mean to draw any big conclusions from this, it's just funny, that's all (...well, maybe somebody will say it's not even very funny... apologies)
      >
      > No, this is not an anti-Starbucks rant. I did that already. It's called Coffee Flavored Coffee and it's on my second album. I could update that bit this very second with my thesis on how Starbucks
      > may be responsible for the pussification of America-I reresearch the subject once or twice a week when I stand in line there and listen as some limp-wristed, yellow-Lance-Armstrong-bracelet-wearing, metrosexualhair-goo-sporting, Hillary-Clinton's-tired-old-ass-worshipping puke spends twelve minutes trying to decide between the Orange Cranberry Vagina Muffin or the Pumpkin Cream Tampon Cake while fingering a Save The Rain Forest Compilation CD featuring Sting, Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Sting's Abs, That Hot 19-Year-Old Blonde White English Chick Who Sounds Like Janis Joplin, and Sting's Penis-who apparently pops out of his master's yoga pants to sing his new single "How I Have Tantric Sex With Trudie Styler For Seven Straight Hours."
      > And while we are on the subject of bullshit-let's get rid of the term "barista" right the f*ck now.
      > Barista is meant to conjure up images of a profoundly dedicated coffee sommelier who busies him- or herself with a constant search for the perfect mug of espresso-tinted java with just the right hint of cream combined with enough of the individual bean's aroma to justify its taste on your eager and expensive tongue.
      > That ain't what it means no more.
      > Thanks to Starbucks, barista has come to mean an overly friendly, far too kinetic Fall Out Boy fan who chowders up a smirky smile and a loud Welcome To Starbucks Hope You're Having A Great Day So Far What Can We Get For You Sir but then immediately blanches when you mention the actual word "COFFEE."
      > He almost always just stands there for a beat-the Fall Out Boy lyrics draining from his Vicodin-rattled veins-before asking if you would prefer to order from the menu.
      > Then when you say FOR SEVENTEEN GODDAM BUCKS A CUP I DON'T WANNA READ A F*CKING MENU, he begins to blink uncontrollably.
      > That's what the term "barista" conjures up.
      > Or a slow, slim-witted, corporate robotron who feels the need to mention that the term "large iced coffee" has to be reconfigured as Grande Vente Ristretto Breve Bullshit Blah Blah Mucho Machiatto Craptalk.
      >
      >
      >
      > From: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of James Kirchner
      > Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:51 PM
      > To: czechlist@...<mailto:czechlist@...>
      > Subject: Re: [Czechlist] CHAT: Trust chemists to make things complicated (was washing up)
      >
      >
      >
      > This means the Czech consumer market has truly changed, because you are describing the exact experience of Soviet Bloc citizens arriving in the United States prior to 1989.
      >
      > A Russian friend of mine walked up to the clerk at Caribou Coffee (something like Starbucks) and just said, "I'd like a cup of coffee, please." When she found she had to look at a menu and pick from so many varieties, she became very disoriented. (Believe it or not, she also mistook a decorative rock for a pastry and asked for that to be served up to her: "But we have a pastry in Russia that looks just like that!")
      >
      > In the '80s, a Czech defector went to my hometown pizza chain, Little Caesar's, and asked for "a pizza". He was asked about the size, the shape, the depth, and when the clerk was in the middle of the list of toppings, he screamed, "JUST GIVE ME A PIZZA!"
      >
      > These experiences really do cause stress in people.
      >
      > Jamie
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      > _______________________________________________
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      > Czechlist@...
      > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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    • wustpisk
      I m very surprised you Brits aren t familiar with it I wouldn t generalise on my behalf :) I like my coffee, but I don t like them doing anything fancy to
      Message 55 of 55 , Mar 15, 2013
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        'I'm very surprised you Brits aren't familiar with it'

        I wouldn't generalise on my behalf :) I like my coffee, but I don't like them doing anything fancy to it.
        I am certain that others living on these isles are far more au fait with the term than I am.

        --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
        >
        > In English, "mocha" is pronounced like "mouka". I'm very surprised you Brits aren't familiar with it, because it's age old, and I thought it was universal. Of course, I noticed in England that people there use English circumlocutions for a number of things that Americans have always used foreignisms for, so maybe you know it under a different term.
        >
        > Jamie
        >
        > On Mar 15, 2013, at 7:51 PM, wustpisk wrote:
        >
        > >
        > > I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to recognise a mocha if it were placed before me, nor would I know how to pronounce it - is it MOCHA with a Czech 'CH', MOKKA or MOTCHA? If the latter, then I doubt it would be very popular in Czech or Slovak circles - 'Dam si moca' might raise an eyebrow, although I understand that some connoisseurs enjoy beans that have been defecated by some sort of Madagascan rat, so knowing Czech tea houses, their coffee counterparts might be able to conjure up the urinary equivalent.
        > >
        > > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
        > >>
        > >> This goes beyond plain English and goes all the way to Basic English, which was promoted in the mid 20th century as a competitor to Esperanto.
        > >>
        > >> The term "mocha" was so well known long before the advent of gourmet coffee shops that there's no need to impose a circumlocution. Besides, mocha is not "chocolate-flavored coffee", but a mixture of coffee and chocolate -- real chocolate, not a flavoring. If you put "chocolate-flavored coffee" on the menu in the US, people would suspect it means coffee with an artificial flavoring added to it, and they'd ask if they can't get mocha instead.
        > >>
        > >> I see that, in practice, customers already use plain English when they order anyway. People already say "small" instead of "tall", for example. With several competing coffee chains all calling some drinks by different names -- not to mention many private shops -- people tend just to describe what they want. I often order "that mocha thingie made with crushed ice", and a clerk anywhere immediately knows what I want. Plus, some of our chains here long predate Starbucks, and they already had clear English names established.
        > >>
        > >> Jamie
        > >>
        > >> On Mar 15, 2013, at 6:05 PM, Melvyn wrote:
        > >>
        > >>> Debenhams has provided customers with a `plain English' coffee menu, replacing potentially confusing terms such as `Cappuccino' and `Caffe latte' with `frothy coffee' and `really really milky coffee'.
        > >>>
        > >>> So, rather than ordering something that sounds exotic but which you're not entirely sure about, you can now get precisely what you want in no uncertain terms.
        > >>>
        > >>> The move will surely go down well with the 70% of coffee customers who have suggested that they have experienced `coffee confusion'. Rather than mull over buying a `mocha', customers can now be certain that what they're getting is `chocolate flavoured coffee'.
        > >>>
        > >>> And do you know what size `tall' (small) or `venti' (extra large) is? This is no longer an issue at Debenhams: it's now a simple case of `mug' or `cup'.
        > >>>
        > >>> Chrissie Maher, Founder Director of Plain English Campaign, is delighted at the move. "Whether it's coffee, tea or chocolate, it needs to be in plain English so the customers can make an informed choice. If they can read the menu clearly, they are more likely to try something new ? and who knows ? they may come back for more."
        > >>>
        > >>> From the Plain English Campaign
        > >>> Fighting for crystal-clear communication since 1979
        > >>> http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/news/debenhams-clears-up-coffee-confusion.html
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>> --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, "wustpisk" <gerry.vickers@> wrote:
        > >>>>
        > >>>> Just saw this on the box http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkwzN-AdIEY
        > >>>>
        > >>>> --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, "Pilucha, Jiri" <jiri.pilucha@> wrote:
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> Hi Jamie,
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> These are excellent examples. I have many times observed the same thing on myself and couldn't agree more.
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> Ironically, though, here's an example of exactly the same kind of frustration experienced at Starbucks this time by an American author... it's actually quite entertaining, I am pasting in a whole section only slightly abridged
        > >>>>> (It's almost unbelievable how he uses almost exactly the same words as you have!!!)
        > >>>>> I don't mean to draw any big conclusions from this, it's just funny, that's all (...well, maybe somebody will say it's not even very funny... apologies)
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> No, this is not an anti-Starbucks rant. I did that already. It's called Coffee Flavored Coffee and it's on my second album. I could update that bit this very second with my thesis on how Starbucks
        > >>>>> may be responsible for the pussification of America-I reresearch the subject once or twice a week when I stand in line there and listen as some limp-wristed, yellow-Lance-Armstrong-bracelet-wearing, metrosexualhair-goo-sporting, Hillary-Clinton's-tired-old-ass-worshipping puke spends twelve minutes trying to decide between the Orange Cranberry Vagina Muffin or the Pumpkin Cream Tampon Cake while fingering a Save The Rain Forest Compilation CD featuring Sting, Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Sting's Abs, That Hot 19-Year-Old Blonde White English Chick Who Sounds Like Janis Joplin, and Sting's Penis-who apparently pops out of his master's yoga pants to sing his new single "How I Have Tantric Sex With Trudie Styler For Seven Straight Hours."
        > >>>>> And while we are on the subject of bullshit-let's get rid of the term "barista" right the f*ck now.
        > >>>>> Barista is meant to conjure up images of a profoundly dedicated coffee sommelier who busies him- or herself with a constant search for the perfect mug of espresso-tinted java with just the right hint of cream combined with enough of the individual bean's aroma to justify its taste on your eager and expensive tongue.
        > >>>>> That ain't what it means no more.
        > >>>>> Thanks to Starbucks, barista has come to mean an overly friendly, far too kinetic Fall Out Boy fan who chowders up a smirky smile and a loud Welcome To Starbucks Hope You're Having A Great Day So Far What Can We Get For You Sir but then immediately blanches when you mention the actual word "COFFEE."
        > >>>>> He almost always just stands there for a beat-the Fall Out Boy lyrics draining from his Vicodin-rattled veins-before asking if you would prefer to order from the menu.
        > >>>>> Then when you say FOR SEVENTEEN GODDAM BUCKS A CUP I DON'T WANNA READ A F*CKING MENU, he begins to blink uncontrollably.
        > >>>>> That's what the term "barista" conjures up.
        > >>>>> Or a slow, slim-witted, corporate robotron who feels the need to mention that the term "large iced coffee" has to be reconfigured as Grande Vente Ristretto Breve Bullshit Blah Blah Mucho Machiatto Craptalk.
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> From: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com> [mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of James Kirchner
        > >>>>> Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:51 PM
        > >>>>> To: czechlist@<mailto:czechlist@>
        > >>>>> Subject: Re: [Czechlist] CHAT: Trust chemists to make things complicated (was washing up)
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> This means the Czech consumer market has truly changed, because you are describing the exact experience of Soviet Bloc citizens arriving in the United States prior to 1989.
        > >>>>>
        > >>>>> A Russian friend of mine walked up to the clerk at Caribou Coffee (something like Starbucks) and just said, "I'd like a cup of coffee, please." When she found she had to look at a menu and pick from so many varieties, she became very disoriented. (Believe it or not, she also mistook a decorative rock for a pastry and asked for that to be served up to her: "But we have a pastry in Russia that looks just like that!")
        > >>>
        > >>>
        > >>> _______________________________________________
        > >>> Czechlist mailing list
        > >>> Czechlist@
        > >>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
        > >>
        > >>
        > >> _______________________________________________
        > >> Czechlist mailing list
        > >> Czechlist@
        > >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
        > >>
        > >
        > >
        > > _______________________________________________
        > > Czechlist mailing list
        > > Czechlist@...
        > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
        >
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Czechlist mailing list
        > Czechlist@...
        > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
        >
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