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My first world problem….a half-filled cup of arse-froth

I get up at just after 5am and walk my dogs. They all go separately (due to being complete knobs when they’re on the lead together) so that means three walks every morning. It hurts getting up that early, especially now when the mornings are back to being dark and chilly. Mind you, the sunrises where I live are just spectacular so the payoff more than outweighs the agony of leaving a cosy bed.

After walks we eat, clean up and get sorted for a day of work. It’s kinda blissful….

But I have a first-world problem and it’s bugging the hell out of me.

I go for coffee most morning. There are two Costa coffee places in my town. One in the town centre and one in the local Tesco. I’m currently using the one in Tesco after the incident in the town centre Costa made it a bit awkward to go back.

You see, I have a large cappuccino with one shot. They normally have four shots in a large cup but that much caffeine makes me bite the edge of my desk so I reduced my caffeine intake to only one shot, and a large cappuccino with one shot is just lovely. Really super nice with enough jolt to perk you up without the need to run naked through the High Street singing The Proclaimers, but only having one shot seems to mess up the milk to froth to coffee ratio thingy. Most decent Baristas can overcome this by, you know, whatever magical stuff Baristas do. A select few however don’t bother using any magical effort and just serve half a cup of lukewarm tepid arse-froth. It’s actual arse-froth too. From an arse.

I was going to the town centre Costa for a while and just took it on the chin when I got a bad cup, then it got worse and the half-filled lukewarm arse-froth became the norm. It was like every morning, and those coffees are £3 a go, which isn’t on. It’s not on I tell you! It got to the point where I could tell by the weight as soon as I picked the cardboard cup up that it was only half-full of arse-froth. So one morning I said something.

“I am so sorry, god I feel dreadful, i’ts entirely my fault for even ordering a coffee and I am filled with self-loathing for even mentioning it…but um…the cup is only half-full of arse-froth and er…haha! I wouldn’t say anything but it’s happening all the time now and…oh I feel dreadful but it’s three quid a cup…”

Cue glares and a sudden heavy silence that swept through the coffee shop. Staff froze in place and the other customers looked away with fear in their eyes. A bell rang out, harsh and grating and I swallowed nervously and begged forgiveness for being British and not-knowing-how-to-complain.

The Barista guy took the coffee back and refilled it. Like he RE-FILLED IT. To the top and over the top until it was flowing down the sides and washing over the counter to form pools on the floor. He FILLED IT with pursed lips while the other staff glared and the silence rolled on, broken only by the dripping of the frothy milk stuff on the floor. Then he put the lid back on but the cup was too full so he had to use force, squeezing the thin sides to ram the plastic lid on that made the lukewarm arse-froth spurt through the little drinking hole over his hands, but he took that pain without flinch because clearly….obviously…..I Had Offended Him I took the coffee and left the heavy silence of froth soaked fear and even as I walked past the slightly dirty plate glass windows the staff tracked my motion and made it clear I was not to return.

So yeah, that went well. But hey ho, there was another Costa in Tesco. Yippee! Winner winner. Fuck you Costa-in-the-town. I shall herewith ply my custom to the Costa-in-the-Tesco.

It was great too with super lovely staff all smiley and nice and happy.

“Hi, how are you today? Usual is it my love? Coming right up.”

Oh it was glorious. Even with the Tesco Managers having their morning meetings within the coffee shop and reminding me of The Sopranos in a Mafiosa kind of way. Those dudes take supermarket managing very very seriously.


That aside, and also the stinky odd people that frequent supermarket coffee shops (not me I hasten to add, I wash donchaknow) it was fine and lovely.

Then a few weeks back it happened. It was a bright sunny morning. The place was busy but in a good way. The lovely lady made the coffee and I picked it up with a big smile of thanks…but I could tell the second I lifted it that it was a half-filled cup of arse-froth. My heart froze and the blood drained from my head but I forced the smile and went on about my business. It was a one-off, a fluke, a random act and nothing more. It wasn’t the Costa-in-the-town. It was different now. I was different now. I couldn’t go back to that. Not now.

Life rolled on, as it does and everything was fine but the fear was there now. The trepidation of anticipation that the event in the Costa-in-the-town would be repeated. The cups were all full of coffee and the Baristas were good so I started to relax. It was a one-off.

Then it happened again. And again. It wasn’t just one Barista either but several were doing it. We’d become familiar you see, smiling and saying hi, chatting for a minute or so about the weather and… er…the weather. I couldn’t say anything. Not again. Not after that one time in that other place.

Then one day the manager lady noticed herself it was only a half-filled cup of arse-froth. She tutted nicely, took it back and said she’d refill it…there was my chance, my opportunity, I drew breath and braved it… The arse-froth spurted through the little hole…’ ‘What was that my love?’ ‘Nothing! S’fine. Thanks…er…s’raining again.’

That’s my first world problem. Sometimes I pay £3 for a cup of shit. It happened this morning hence being a grumpy twat now. Common sense dictates that I politely ask to speak to the manager and mention that more often than not I am only getting half a cup, or just stop drinking coffee…both solutions however are unthinkable. I’m British and my DNA is encoded in such a way that complaining just isn’t done. I’ve actually had victims apologise for being stabbed or run over when I was a copper. They meant it too. Gosh, so sorry, didn’t want to make a fuss but I think both my legs are broken.

Anywho, the new time-travel (not Extracted) I was writing is now finished and has been sent off to pre-readers and my agent. I’ll have a short time to transition my head from that material and get working on the edits for the Third Extracted book, while drinking my half-filled cup of arse-froth.

<grumbles to himself while staring at the Costa cup…

Take care

RR Haywood


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