As I’ve covered here before, my morning ritual is getting up every morning and going to Starbucks to write. The first couple weeks I went, I got a banana and a bottled water. Eventually I stopped getting the banana. After a few days this, I came to the counter with my water and one of the baristas who recognized me asked, “And a banana?” I say no thanks, but I appreciated her remembering my old order.
A few days later, I get the same barista. Again, she asks if I want a banana. Again, I say no. Perfectly understandable. It’s only our second day together of banana-free transactions, so this transition might take some getting used to.
Every day I come in and get rung up by different baristas with nothing but a smile and no additional banana-related inquiries. After a few days pass, I’m again greeted by the same barista I mentioned earlier. I have only a bottle of water, as is now my custom. This time (and I thought I could detect a little annoyance here), she asks me again, “….banana?”
Now it’s getting a little weird. She’s now definitely cognizant of my decision to not buy a banana every day, but she’s trying to upsell me anyway. She’s a used car salesman, trying to talk me into that feature I didn’t ask for. “Sure, you don’t NEED the banana….but don’t you want to tell your friends you got one? You’re not buying fruit, you’re buying a LIFESTYLE. So I’ll go ahead and throw the banana on here and draw up the paperwork.”
I’m back the next day. The NEXT day. Same barista. Rings up my water. Pauses. Looks me dead in the eye. Then:
“So do you want a banana too or….?”
I’m officially freaked out. No one should be that concerned over whether or not another human being wants to buy a banana. Is she worried I’m not eating enough bananas? Is this some kind of potassium intervention? When I refuse is she going to draw a curtain with my whole family sitting there? “We’re worried, Mike. We knew the only way to get through to you was the staff at Starbucks. You stopped eating bananas.” I kind of laugh it off: “What is this, a joke? I can start eating bananas again any time I want. Besides I get plenty of potassium. Just the other day I had a sweet potato.” My mom looks up in tears and says, “You know that’s fucking bullshit, Mike. You hate sweet potatoes.” So I say, “Whatever, you people are full of shit,” and try to run away but two big orderlies wearing all-yellow uniforms take me off to some mental hospital for people don’t eat enough bananas.
Another possible reason she was pushing bananas so hard: she’s a sleeper agent for Chiquita. They’ve placed her here to sell as many bananas as possible. The only problem? No one buys bananas any more because Starbucks sells a bunch of sugar-filled garbage that tastes better. She’s losing it. Cracks in her facade are starting to show. She’s in so deep now she’s starting to lose herself. The line between barista and banana agent is blurring. Some days she gets up thinking, “Did I restock the venti lids?” forgetting her ultimate goal. It culminates with me politely saying, “Oh, no thanks on the banana” before she grabs my collar and yells, “LISTEN buddy, do you have any idea how hard it is to sell loose bananas for $1 when you can get a bunch at the store for, like, 75 cents?!? Just buy it already.” Then she breaks down crying, only to be consoled by the other barista she’s having an affair with. She has no idea how to explain to him that she isn’t who she says she is. She certainly doesn’t know how to explain that she has a husband, who’s also working undercover for Chiquita at a bodega down the the street.
Some of you may be wondering, “Hey, why did you stop getting bananas?” I just started getting them at the store. Much cheaper that way. I only hope the banana barista can one day get over what she inevitably sees as my banana betrayal.