Normally I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for my morning coffee. I can’t remember the last time I bought coffee anywhere else, and today, it showed.
I was in Harvard Square with some time to kill and decided to get my morning brew while I waited. Harvard Square is familiar territory – I was pretty sure that there was no DD within walking distance. I spotted Au Bon Pain, which seemed harmless, so I decided to cut my losses and just go there instead of searching for DD. Walking in, I was confident.
Almost immediately confidence gave way to anxiety – I didn’t know the protocol for getting coffee in this joint. Trying to look unfazed, I went to the main counter and ordered a medium coffee. Oops, its self-serve. I was referred to a counter where I could pour my own, so I made my way to the coffee thermoses and picked a cup from the many stacks – oops again…I picked an iced coffee cup instead of a hot coffee cup (apparently they are differentiated by color). I went back to get a hot coffee cup and finally poured the friggin’ coffee. Home-free…or so I thought.
At this point, I looked around and there was no sugar or milk anywhere in sight. I was totally baffled. I slowly backed away from the coffee area, looking casual, and observed another customer pouring coffee so I could follow his lead. Sure enough, that guy drinks his coffee black and I’m shit out of luck. Feeling stupid, I meandered back to the main counter and asked about the milk and sugar. The woman referred me to yet another counter that is literally hidden from all view when you’re standing at the coffee counter…marvelous. I paid the woman and got the hell out of there. It was 5 minutes I’ll never get back.
I must have, deservedly, been the butt of jokes among the Au Bon Pain staff. You’d think anyone of my generation would be able to buy a cup of coffee at Au Bon Pain without bumbling and stumbling around like an idiot. Oh well, at least the coffee tasted good 🙂