Sunday, July 17, 2005

Candid cameras and corporate clashes

Standing in a Starbucks line, a man with a messenger bag was disturbing everybody. He was perhaps confused that he was in a coffee shop, not a board room.

"Welcome to the corporate breakfast world," he was energetically shouting.

The attractive woman standing in front drew my attention (let's call her Martha), but she looked at the shouting man, wondering whether this was just an act for a candid camera show or if he really meant it. She wanted to laugh, but couldn't.

After getting candid camera-ed once at an Italian restaurant, I decided to stay away from the corporate freak as well.

People on the way out ignored him so they wouldn't get caught doing something stupid on any TV show.

Soon, I reached the barista.

"A fat free ... mocha?" she asked.

"Don't deny me my daily fat please, I need it," I said, extracting a small laugh from her.

"Why is it that you have the same coffee everyday?"

"To ease life for wonderful baristas like you," I said, with the laugh changing into a deep smile.

The corporate slave was drawing attention of the others in the line, so I didn't have to worry about hurrying. The barista's eye looked at him like a boxer waiting to knockout the corporate slave.

"What did that guy have for breakfast?" I asked.

"Maybe too much mocha," she said, KOing me instead.

"And it's $2.75. You look a bit different today, that's why I got confused."

"What's wrong," I asked.

"Stop being an optimist," she said. "And shave that moustache the next time you come so I can recognize you."

That was the first of many reactions I got to the mouche which included "You look mature," "What are you building a moustache for, as a good luck charm for the Red Sox?" "You look like a South Indian - you are only missing are dhotis" and finally, the insult of all insults -- "King Kong with Godzilla's tail."

I paid up, and picked up the mocha. On the way out, I noticed the corporate hustler had a camera in his cap, and a Delphi XM radio with a probable microphone. Martha was chatting with him. Welcome to Candid Camera Martha. As if you hadn't had enough with your corporate board room scandals.

That was my morning at Starbucks. Not action packed, but interesting.


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