As many of you know, I'm an avid tea drinker, Freda, on the other hand also enjoys the odd cup of coffee. Obviously, as a devoted husband, I do try my best to accommodate her in this rather perverse pleasure, even to the point of accompanying her to one of these vile 'Starbucks' places.
Today was no exception; when she realised that I was flagging somewhat, while on an extended shopping marathon, my charming wife suggested a cup of tea to revive my spirits. Of course, I couldn't possibly refuse such an offer!
Funnily enough, we were next to a 'Starbucks', so in we trotted. The place looked quite inviting, I admit. There were hard wooden seats either side of a longish table, there were small tables with dining type chairs either side, and there was soft seating along one wall, with small tables in front with another dining type chair as well.
But I wish I'd had my trusty new camera with me!!!
The cafe / coffeehouse / tearoom was actually inside a larger store, and was separated from part of it by a glass partition. Freda sent me to find a table with soft seating while she went to the counter to order the drinks. The glass screen was behind the soft seats, and this is where I first noticed the streaks, made by a dirty cleaning cloth! There was only one table free in that area, but it was stacked with dirty dishes, so I shifted them to a table nearby, mafeesh mushkelar (no problem). The table itself, however, was rather a problem, it was covered with sticky rings where cups had been. The next table was even worse, with smear marks right from one side to the other, and still with bits of what looked like jam smeared here and there!
Freda eventually landed with a tray, her mug containing coffee, a paper cup containing cream, and three sachets of brown sugar, a two-cup tea pot, an empty mug, another paper cup containing a tea bag (which Freda had made the cashier whip out of the pot, just before he poured in the hot water) and a shaker 'thing' full of white sugar, no milk or spoons. There was also a plate with a lovely piece of lemon drizzle cake sitting on it.
I went to ask the cashier for some milk, and was directed to the 'condiments counter', where I replaced the ridiculous sugar dispensing 'thing', and where I noticed a stained stainless steel Thermos flask, with splashes of milk around the spout. "Ah, the milk!" it dawned! I collected my mug, itself a thick and unpleasant object, (no wisecracks thank you!) and poured in a little milk. As I turned away, I noticed a lady just next to me, also pouring milk, but from another, identical, flask. As she replaced her flask on the 'condiments counter', I noticed that it had the words 'Skim Milk' on a sticky label. (No, this wasn't an instruction, but it was symptomatic of the lackadaisical and devil-may-care attitude evident in the whole sorry establishment!) When I looked on the flask I had used, I found a similar label, on the other side though, which read 'Full Cream Milk'. Not good enough, not good enough by half!!!!! I would have much rather had the 'Skim Milk', if I had known that it existed! I would also much rather have had sugar where I could have some confidence in the amount which was going into my tea! And, I would much rather have had a spoon with which to stir my tea, instead of an anorexic lolly-pop stick!!!!!
Add to this disgraceful excuse for satisfying customers, that the general cleanliness left a great deal to be desired, and you can imagine that I was not a 'happy bunny'.
Fortunately, Freda hasn't confided in me regarding the amount of the bill for this lot. I just hope that she enjoyed her coffee as much as she said she did. I certainly won't be unhappy if I never have to experience such a place again!
We'll get back to that other place, Marrakech, in a day or two.