I hang out in coffeshops. A lot.
Within a three block radius from my house there are, at last count, ten different coffeeshops, or bakeries who sell coffee as a side to their primary business. A fair amount of Seattle is like that, as are Vancouver, Portland, and even smaller burghs and hamlets throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Because of this prevalence, we residents of the Great Northwest have come to expect a certain image when we enter a caffeine mecca of our choosing. And certain images have now become an indelible part of the coffee culture.
Which lead me to ask on Twitter last night: Just what is the most prevalent coffeeshop cliché?
I asked this question after being confronted with yet another arrogant barrista. The arrogant barrista (or assholius grungiust)is a common occurrence here in Seattle, and can be found with relative ease. Related to the snotty record store clerk (ionlyknowus threechordsiust), these customer relation specialist are hired, not to help the customer as much to belittle the customers purchases to the point that they never return. This then gives the barrista ample free time to pursue activities better suited to their unrecognized genius (such as poetry, prose, or songwriting, or talking to their friends about poetry, prose or songwriting), whilst still having income.
But I suspect that this is a regional cliche. What we in Seattle believe to be cliché is likely to be a non-issue in many other regions of the United States. This is one poll where “Other” has a decent shot to be the #1 answer.
But for my money, the most prevalent cliche is Radiohead on the PA system. Throughout my travels across this land of ours, Radiohead is king at the independently owned coffeshops. If not Radiohead, then any other alt-rock or emo-pop band will do.
So, what do you believe to be the biggest cliche at coffeeshops? As always, vote to the left, while commenting below.
(Special h/t to John and Patricia, Ben, Shauna, Jennifer, and Sean for their input!