Friday, February 08, 2008

stars in their bucky eyes

Tonight on our way home from family night we stopped to get a coffee. We went to SB's because it was the only thing open, a place we usually ignore in light of local coffeehouses. I ran in and left J and M in the car and as i ordered realized we were out of coffee at home too. So with some trepidation I ask if they have Fair Trade I can purchase. And what happened next makes for perfect blog fodder, so here you go.

Adorable waiflike little boy child with streaky project runway style hair: Oh, yeah. (long pause) Um, if I knew what Fair Trade meant, I am sure I can find it for you.

Precious long haired girl from a good home: Yeah, if you tell us what it is......I know we probably have it. I just don't know what that means. Trade? I mean, you still have to pay for it?

Suave dude I'd have totally wanted to date when i was 18: All our coffee is Fair Trade. I just went to Coffee Camp and I learned that. It's been like that since 2004.

Me (older unhip mother type): Really? (I am shocked at this but maybe I'm out of the loop) I don't think....

AWLBC: No he's right. I remember that now.

PLHG: I mean, I am still not sure what you are talking about?

Me: It means we pay a fair price for the coffee rather than raping and pillaging rural farmers all over the world just to make a profit.

PLHG: (with a look of complete and utter shock and sincerity): I KNOW we don't do that. NO WAY would we do that.

Me: Well, actually, we do it all the time and not just with coffee. It's why you need to vote democrat. You guys vote, right? (shameless plug)

PLHG: What?!? (I actually feel bad, she's utterly sincere)

SD: I really think it's all Fair Trade.

Me: (skeptical) Okay.

They hand me a freshly ground bag and I don't see the FT label and so I turn around and look at the row of coffee and on the end, ding ding ding, there's one blend that's labeled Fair Trade.

Me: Ah, guys. See this? This is what I mean. They gather around and stare at the label and I actually read the subtext aloud to them, the waif boy smiling, the good girl still in shock because what do you mean we do bad things while producing and consuming in America? This is just COFFEE AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH POOR PEOPLE!?!?

SD: Oh, sorry. I think we WANT all our coffee to be Fair Trade. (he's still pretty cute)

Me: Well, you should. In fact, you should ask your managers and their managers about it. You could even protest, refuse to grind any more beans till this is resolved. People die for coffee, you know. It's our moral obligation to do the right thing. (taking it a bit round the bend now)

Waif boy is smiling vacantly now, clearly I've lost him. Good Girl still looks stricken, she offers me a whole bag of Fair Trade coffee for free, and you know, what the hell, I accept.

And they pack up my coffee and all smile and wave as I leave. Get the crazy bitch out so we can go home and watch American Idol.

It's the last day to get me your Just Posts. Send them over at girlplustwoATyahooDOTcom today and come back this weekend because we'll be setting the table out on the 10th.

54 comments:

liv said...

oh, girl. i heart you. with all my heart i do. you can rest assured i'll be quizzing my local crew on what they want versus what they have. (lament with me: there is no such thing as a local coffee house where i live)

Family Adventure said...

You know I shouldn't be laughing at this, but the precious girl? You described her so, so well. I could totally envision her.

Sowing the seeds, Jen! That's what it's all about. Let's hope they learnt something!

Heidi

slouching mom said...

LOL!

And your title? Genius!

wheelsonthebus said...

Poor kids. They had no idea what hit them.

I am surprised, however, that kids working in a coffee shop wouldn't know this. Isn't Starbucks big on pushing Fair Trade (you know, for image purposes)?

Omaha Mama said...

I'm probably a PLHG. So thanks for educating me. :0)
I love this story.

Oh, The Joys said...

What happened to the radical youth?

Keep fighting the good fight, friend.

blooming desertpea said...

What a great lesson you taught there, sister - and all that for free - is that Fair Trade? ;)

ewe are here said...

I've met Precious Girl.

sigh

I thought it was today's youth that were supposed to be so gung ho about fairness and saving the environment and the world...

double sigh

Her Grace said...

Oh, I just don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"NO WAY would we do that."

Keep fighting the good fight, sister.

Suz said...

I was a PLHG.

Heck, except for the long hair, I probably am still a PLHG.

This is why I laughed out loud when reading your post but then just smiled in admiration of you. They're not going to forget your visit....and that's a good thing.

Gwen said...

I, too, thought all Starbucks coffee was Free Trade. But then, I buy mine at Costco .....

Good stuff, jen.

nyjlm said...

I just totally, totally love you. That is all.

Andrea said...

Very funny. Good job, jen.

At least one of them was aware of what fair trade is.

Amy Y said...

Good for you, Mama! You and your shameless plug :) I'm very proud of you!

Sober Briquette said...

OMG, I wish I had been there for it.

Candy said...

Well if those kids didn't learn anything, I certainly did. Never before heard the term "Fair Trade Coffee". I'm going to go out on a limb and say my typical Maxwell House fare isn't fair. Am I right?

crazymumma said...

Jen you leave change in your wake. Every damn place you go. It is your destiny.

Get the crazy bitch out of here. Oh man I am laughing. How many times have I seen that look in people's eyes. Beautiful.

hele said...

After my morning lecture on sustainable rural livelihoods this post is just perfect.

Kyla said...

Hey, I WAS that PLHG before meeting you ladies. She'll learn. ;)

Jen M. said...

OH MY. OH MY.

Do I laugh?

Do I cry?

You were right - this is PERFECT blog fodder. You couldn't have scripted it any better.

I just love this.

Julie Pippert said...

I love this story...it tells so much. I love that those kids went home with one new neural pathway.

Can I send my husband to coffee camp? He'd LOVE it.

I love that you are my neighbor, Jen.

I do.

Orangeblossoms said...

I've had that conversation at least a dozen times at Peet's and at the dreaded Starbucks. Peet's is actually MUCH better about it than anybody else in the corporate coffee world. Really, I have to be totally and completely desperate to go to Starbucks EVer. They are completely evil.

Plus, how can people not know that the clothes they wear, the shoes, the food, the coffee, chocolate.... all of it comes at a huge price to indigenous workers everywhere? Gorsh...... This makes me crazy!

Big Box can only sell it at that ridiculously low price because people/planet have been raped, pillaged, exploited. Do people actually think that Walmart is altruistically defraying labor costs to save the American people a buck?!

That's my soapbox..... here take it now. Quick. Before I write more and take over your comments section completely!

Blog Antagonist said...

OTJ asked what happened to our radical youth. I can tell you exactly what happened to them. They are living in 6,000 sq foot McMansions. They are wearing designer clothes right out of the womb. They have Ps3's and computer and iPods and tennis shoes that cost more than my car. They don't need to think about making the world a better place because their world? Is A-okay.

Gah. I hate living in the suburbs.

OOPS, sorry, I just totally made that about me.

Good for you. Someone has to knock some sense into their heads. Someone needs to shake them up a little.

Defiantmuse said...

um.
that is disturbing.
seriously.
she did not say, "Trade? I mean, you still have to pay for it?"
did she?? really??
:-O

meno said...

Kids these days.

That was priceless, i could visualize them perfectly.

Hetha said...

I love you for all that you say and do, but this is especially priceless! I take issue with this part:
"Me (older unhip mother type)", something tells me that is not an accurate portrayal at all. I'd edit to add Me (hot cool mother type). Just sayin'.

alejna said...

Ah, jen. I love you so. This story makes me smile. And those kids got something to think about.

mamatulip said...

Ohmygod I LOVE THIS POST SO FUCKING MUCH.

QT said...

Ok this? Was too, too funny. Maybe we should plan a raid on Coffee Camp?

I consider myself highly "enlightened" about this stuff, but remember my shock and dismay when my sister told me that potpourri is gathered by illegal workers who are forced to wander the forest for pine cones,moss, etc. and are paid by the BAG.

It happens all day, every day, all around us and far away. Cash rules everything. Maybe they will go home and think about how wrong that is.

Magpie said...

I love this. Love this. You tied them in knots AND got free coffee.

You rock. Can I vote for you?

Karen said...

I love posts that write themselves - that is classic - don't feel shameless - we need all the votes we can get - I don't mind if young minds go home, cry in their pillows and google fair trade. I'm okay with that.

Bon said...

dude, i so needed that laugh.

and they so needed that knock-knock to their little heads. :)

forgot about the JPs...will get act together.

Deezee said...

I love QT's idea of raiding Coffee Camp.

This whole thing was too funny. I think you should return to the scene of the crime and see if they tremble.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

i've had that conversation before also about shade grown coffee (which is better for the birds and bees and the people) even at small coffee shops. One thing I do thing SB does right is they give their employees health insurance. That is a good thing. But my, how ignorant some of the "haves" are of this world.

Janet said...

Yeah, today's youth just don't have that fire in their bellies. Perhaps it has been displaced by Grande Caramel Macchiato?

Momish said...

"Get the crazy bitch out so we can go home and watch American Idol" just about sums it up, but at least you tried. And got free coffee.

Not bad, sister. Who knows, maybe it will sink in to even just one of them.

marymurtz said...

You bleeding heart liberals are all the same. I'm glad to be counted among them. You ROCK!

I love that you plugged the democrats, while schooling them. This was a terrific post!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Oh wow.

I shouldn't be laughing this much at those poor, uneducated children, should I?

Jennifer said...

Bwaaa ha ha ha ha! I have so many things to say about this, but I can't stop laughing long enough to form the thoughts. OMFG. This is hilarious. And sad. And hilarious.

I just went to Coffee Camp and I learned that.

*snicker*

*snort*

And Jen? You ROCK.

ms chica said...

don't worry, jen, the kids at the grocery story still look bumfucked when I supply my own shopping bags.

Ally said...

Coffee camp? Seriously? This is hilarious, and you rocked it, as always. Way to educate those youth!

Lawyer Mama said...

Seriously? There's a coffee camp? You didn't make that part up did you?

You notice the rest of it doesn't shock me at all.

Jen, I think I love you. If you weren't already married to Mad, I'd have to snatch you up. Of course, it sounds like I'd have to fight my cousin for you now!

bgirl said...

god damn i love you. this is too much on so many levels. thanks for this one j.

luckyzmom said...

Well, I had no idea what you were talking about either until you made it clear. Thanks for making it clear.

Pgoodness said...

Coffee Camp? ROFLMAO! Way to teach the young ones - I like how you completely confused them and got free coffee out of it!

Eileen said...

Jen,
Thanks so much for visiting my blog and your comment on Home visits in America. I am so glad Hetha introduced me to your blog, because I am totally in awe of your writing, and the work that you do. I will be a back here on a regular basis!

I love the free trade lesson! Sometimes, just planting the seeds is the best we can do, and hope at some point they will take and grow. Plus, a free bag of coffee if not so bad either!
XOXO

cce said...

Coffee camp...that's just a riot. But really, maybe you have a future with this fair trade thing. Starbucks could pay you to visit their coffee boot camps and lecture Emo waifs on the importance of fair trade. That's a pitch I think you should pursue.

kgirl said...

Honestly, my brother worked at SB for a while, and his 'education' was taken very seriously by the corporation. I think they'd be very upset that their coffee camp dollars had been wasted.

You are a riot.

Jocelyn said...

Could you please go to SB every week, ask a question that sets them into a tizzy, and then provide the transcript here?

OMG.

nomotherearth said...

Working at a coffee joint, how do they NOT know that? YEESH.

AB said...

Yeah - the training at SB is not what it used to be but the company does try (really).

Here is some info...

Like "certified" organic vs. just organic, certification costs money and often even if a small farmer grows products organically, they can't advertise them as "organic" because they are not "certified". The same is true with "Fair Trade" products.

Of course there is no way to know for sure whether a fair price was paid for a product without the certification but I worked for Starbucks back in the day when it wasn't the big conglomerate it is today and I believe this is one area that they have probably stayed true to.

AB said...

Oops, forgot the link
http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/StarbucksAndFairTrade.pdf

Amanda said...

Are you sure you need to live in the golden state? I feel like we are really, really, really supposed to be friends. Face to face.

Sigh.

anna said...

Fair trade or not, Starbucks practices gender apartheid in places where it is legal to do so. If nothing else is open, how about going without next time?