After wandering the streets looking for a shop (that obviously does not exist; thanks, Google maps) in order to return a parcel, I decide to get some breakfast from PAUL. Paul isn’t a friend of mine whose breakfast I’m about to steal, it’s an “authentic French bakery and boulangerie” (quoted from Paul’s website).
The girl behind the counter is young, pretty and friendly.
“Can I get a Chausson Pomme, please? And an americano.”
“Black or white?”
I detect pretzels hanging from a wooden rack and my heart expands. I haven’t had a decent pretzel since I left Germany.
“Oh, can I also have a pretzel?”
“With salt or no salt?”
What a question. “With salt.” (duh)
“Would you like a bag?”
“No, thank you.”
She puts everything inside a brown paper bag.
“There you go.”
I pay for the coffee, the pretzel and the Chausson Pomme.
Then I wait for my coffee with milk, because that’s what a white americano basically is. Hell knows why it’s called American.
What I get is a black American muck, without milk.
“Excuse me,” I say.
The barista is all smiles, a handsome guy. Unfortunately, he has no idea what I’m talking about.
“I ordered a white one.”
The girl rushes towards him. “Just pour a bit away, and add some milk.”
Problem solved. I agree.
What does he do? He doesn’t pour a bit away, he pours the whole cup down the drains.
I smile. Finally he gets it.
This is my chance. I changed my mind and would like a latte instead, I don’t know why I ordered strong coffee in the first place.
He heats up the milk, so far so good.
After a few seconds, the girl approaches him again.
“What is this now?”
I look at my watch. I have to be at work in 10 minutes.
“I’ll take it,” I say and grab the hot cup. “Just tell me how much more I owe you.” Apparently latte is more expensive than coffee with milk.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
Inside, I dance a little victory dance. I got my hot drink for less than expected. Great, I think. Until I take a sip and realize I just walked out of the café with hot milk worth £1.95.