The coffee machine sometimes runs low on milk. You know when this is happening. It is impossible not to know it.
This is (I imagine) a source of great displeasure for Costa Coffee, and so they’ve enlisted the aid of some sort of cabal of sadistic eggheads. Together they’ve devised a solution, and that solution is to have the machine make an ear-splitting high-pitched beeping noise whenever the milk level drops below a certain threshold.
For the tired and frequently hung-over among us, this is less than fun. But I doubt that that concerns Costa Coffee. They only care that is that the coffee machine is working. To them, the best way of ensuring that is to have the thing make a god-awful racket every time that state of affairs comes into the remotest doubt. I can see the logic behind it, don’t get me wrong. But it is a callous, psychopathic sort of logic. It is the same sort of logic that built a hydrogen bomb! Have these people never heard of Asmiov’s first law of fucking robotics?
FUCK ITS SO LOUD OH GOD MAKE IT STOP
I don’t know how many more cups of coffee it can supply after the milk alarm goes off. It could be one. It could be a thousand. I doubt that anyone does, because the sound of the machine’s tantrum is so nauseating that anyone standing nearby will do anything to make it stop. You have to drop everything to address the problem. To do otherwise would be masochistic. Other jobs are left half-finished: boxes of savoury snacks scatter as the person nearest the machine tosses them aside and sprints across the shop floor to refill the milk.
And that’s when you get to the final kicker. The speaker (or whatever it is) is somewhere inside the cabinet, so that when you actually open the cabinet to refill the milk, the beeping gets even louder. Who fucking designed this coffee machine to do that? The fucking Jigsaw killer? Why would you put the speaker there? Can we not have a fucking snooze button on the front maybe? Maybe one labelled ‘I have acknowledged that the milk needs filling up, give me thirty fucking seconds and I will do it I swear I will do it GODDAM YOU!’
Of course, this assumes you’re not alone in the shop. If you ARE alone in the shop, you have to attend to those weirdos that want to come in and buy things from you, which means that you have to simply stand there and endure it while waiting for a suitable opportunity to shut the thing up. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The staff are not the only victims of this sonic terrorism. I think most customers, rather than facing a torturous ordeal, would rather get their heads down and get the fuck out of there, and my experience would seem to bear this out. No milky latte is so delicious that someone will endure the sound of a fucking juggernaut truck reversing in order to get it. I watch people stand in the queue, waiting for me to sell them their petrol and swipe their loyalty card. Normally, their faces are lit up with anticipation at the prospect. But not now. Now their teeth are gritted, and their brows are all knotted together. The man in front winces as I serve him:
“What the bloody hell is that noise?”
I tell him.
“Doesn’t that drive you mad?”
I tell him that it does, and that I am.
He nods, pityingly, and then leaves me to my fate.
Presumably the next phase will involve an even louder, more obnoxious noise, though I struggle to imagine what this might entail. Dogs might howl. Windows might suddenly shatter outwards. Old ladies might dissolve into the floor, all the while screaming “I’M MELTING!!! MELTING!”
If anyone from Costa Coffee ever reads this, I have a suggestion: Perhaps you could think of a less irritating way of letting people know that the milk needs refilling? Perhaps something involving shock collars, or a swarm of angry bees? Perhaps you could have a gas canister built into the machine that floods the shop with an overpowering smell of horse shit?
Mere suggestions. I’m sure you can come up with something more effective. You psychopathic fucks.
Until the next time.