take two

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Ordering a coffee, hey? It’s a minefield, it seems. If Diary readers are to be believed, anyway.

Star cartoonist James Whitworth told this column last week that people in cafes who say ‘Can I get a coffee’ is one of his biggest irritations. “Of course you can,” he said. “You’re in a bloody coffee shop.”

To which reader Matthew Bell now takes issue.

“The point is well made, but more pertinent is the use of the word ‘get’,” he emails. “The customer asking to ‘get’ a coffee implies they wish to climb over the counter to serve themselves. They cannot do that. It is clearly the task of the worker to ‘get’ the coffee. The customer’s question (stupid or not in a coffee shop) should be: ‘Please can I HAVE a coffee?’”

Or, as another correspondent Phil Parker puts it: “when people ask that, it makes me wish I was behind the counter so I could shout: ‘DOES IT LOOK LIKE SELF SERVICE?’”

Crikey. Perhaps it’s best just to stay at home and make your own drinks.



“And while we’re on the subject of annoyances,” adds Phil, “I went into a card shop in Barnsley today to look for a birthday card for my granddaughter and the entire wall was taken up with Christmas cards. In August! I’m going in the shed.”



Tesco taking over the old bank in High Street, as also mentioned in this column last week, is annoying reader Howard Graves, meanwhile.

“What a fantastic back-drop to a nice wedding at the Cathedral it will be,” he notes, “to emerge to the neon signs and delivery lorries of yet another chain supermarket.”