The Garden City Refugee

Musings from around the Niagara Region and elsewhere

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What’s Not To Like?

January 2, 2023

This morning, I was out for a bike ride in NOTL and stopped into Balzac’s for a pit stop, as it was about the only thing open.

Like, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters.

The sign outside says Balzac’s. But it’s not Balzac’s. It’s like Balzac’s. Because it’s apparently a condition of employment for those who work there that “like” has to be their favorite word. And none of the three college-age girls behind the counter violated their employment contract.

After stepping inside, I ordered a hot chocolate from the only one of the three who wasn’t busy. One wearing an orange toque was munching on something and the other was at the coffee machine.

“Do you want whipped cream on it for an extra dollar?”


But I got it anyway. Perhaps they took pity on me. I must look like a haggard old fart. It reminds me of the time when I was walking down North Division Street near the bus terminal in Buffalo when a bum approached me and directed me to a soup kitchen where I could get a free meal. But I digress.

Once they finished with me, the three of them started chatting. When, like, do the kids to back to school? one asked. It was the third, one answered. And she was so, like, excited because she doesn’t have to stay home anymore. I presume she had small children at home. Someone else’s children, I’d guess, since she looked barely old enough for it to be physically possible to have children of her own.

This discussion was rudely interrupted by a, gasp, customer. A dipshit. He came in wearing a mask, ordered an Americano espresso and promptly took it out to his black Honda SUV parked down the street, where he sat inside for quite some time, presumably enjoying his pricey beverage without having to risk being unnecessarily exposed to any big, bad viruses floating around. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he’s likely one of those idiots who have taken as many shots as the government will give him, ostensibly for “protection,” yet remains in fear of those who haven’t.

Moving on, the chatter quickly restarted. One of them who used to work at a different coffee shop said that she, like, got two free drinks per shift. And she couldn’t wait to tell her colleagues about something she wants to buy. It’s, like, on sale for $290. You know me, I will do it, she said. But first, she has to go to the bank at, like, 9:30. Then she’d, like, pick up a sub from Subway for one of her colleagues on her way back.

In came, gasp, another customer. How much is the Café Nordique, she asked. Why look at the big board staring you in the face in letters so large anyone with vision better than Stevie Wonder could read when you can ask the clerk? Then she asked what was in it.

Café Nordique. No mention of Marc Tardif or Réal Cloutier.

She passed right by this sign on her way in. But again, why read for yourself when you can ask the hired help to do it for you? Hey, that’s what they’re there for. And after being told, she changed her mind and settled on the Americano espresso that the dipshit who came in earlier was enjoying in the “safety” of his virus-free SUV down the street.

Once this woman left with her espresso, it was Orange Toque Girl’s turn. Busy texting and in ill humor while the customer was ordering, she put down her phone and told her colleagues that she needs between four to eight hours of sleep every night so she can function. But she got less than four hours of sleep the previous night and she’s struggling. The other member of the group then began talk about her, like, new job. The company is, like, growing, she said. But she doesn’t really know. It’s going to be, like, different not standing around all day. Like, I heard there’s more of a process with a supervisor role there, she said. She does love her current job, though. She went on to mention that her brother’s wife, like, has to travel for a month at a time for her job.

As this would-be “supervisor” turned her attention to her phone, the third member of the group piped up and said she’s going back somewhere between the 4th and the 7th. She’s, like, in her third year and taking statistics and math. There’s, like, different kinds of statistics, she said.

Like, give it a rest.

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