I am sitting in one of the 338 locations of a famous corporate coffee provider in the greater Seattle area right now. The crowd is thinning out, people heading out to go home and make some dinner, maybe fit in a workout or an early movie too. I sit next to a young girl tapping away at her laptop, as I am. I listen to the conversations all around me and am especially struck by the consistency in the type and tone of the greetings exchanged at the counter. Each customer is greeted with kind of a forced cheeriness, which comes out as kind of this high-pitched monotone. The customer almost always responds in kind.

Barista: Hi!! Howareyoudoingtoday. WhatcanIgetforyou.

Customer: Iamdoinggreat. Howaboutatallhalfcaffwithroom.

Barista: That'sgreat. Comin'rightup. Thankyousooooomuch.

I imagine what this conversation might sound like if none of us employed any filters, if we threw out all social niceties and just said what we were really thinking. I'm pretty sure it would go something like this, especially at the end of the work day:

Barista: Ahhh, shit. Hello. What do you want, I need to go to the bathroom pretty bad.

Customer 1: Well, how disgusting. Can you hold it long enough to get me a grande latte, extra hot?

Barista: No, not really. While I make your drink, I'm going to be letting out some really foul gas, just letting you know.

Customer. Ahhh, shit.


Barista: I just got back from the bathroom and it was great. I didn't wash my hands very well, but I did text my bf a mirror pic of me making duck lips. What do you want?

Customer 2: A pumpkin scone and a voucher for the ER, please.

Barista: We're out.


Barista: How in the eff are you tonight?

Customer 3: Horrible. I fought with my boss all day and now am on my way home to fight with my wife all night. I hate my life and want to die. What do you suggest I order?

Barista: A Cyanide Macchiato? AH HA HA HA. Dude.


Barista: Welcome. What the hell is that in your arms, a giant hairball?

Customer 4: This is my dog, Mr. Nuggles. I want an espresso and a bowl of water.

Barista: Who gets what? AH HA HA HA HA. I need to go home.


Barista: I don't want to take your order.

Customer 5: I don't want to give you my money.

Barista: Done.