When I was in Pret yesterday I noticed that instead of offering ‘strong’ coffee you are prompted to order a ‘two hit’ one. After a brief struggle between a commitment to plain English and caffeine addiction, the devil won and I obediently asked a ‘barista’ for a two hit cappuccino, despite thinking it sounded like a summary of John Prescott’s relationship with journalists.
She stared at me blankly, and asked her colleague for advice. He stood beside her supportively and stared at me blankly. After a moment I asked for a double cappuccino, and they smiled and got me one. I explained I had just been asking for what it said on the board. It’s ridiculous, they said, in Southern European accented English. It’s Oxford Street, most of the people who come in to this place don’t speak English as a first language, why do they make it more difficult? Marketing, I guess, after all, I feel much more kinship with the staff of a cafe if I know that they have the same problems as me in understanding management speak.