Thursday, December 20, 2012

This? Just my soapbox. Gimme a minute...

Listen, I'd HAVE to get on a soapbox to read off the list of reasons why you should only patronize independent espresso bars. It'd be one of those scenes where I'd untie the scroll and it'd roll past my knees, past the soapbox, and into the (hypothetical and unlikely) crowd gathered around to hear my screed.

I've worked for Big Coffee before (not entirely voluntary. Long story). It wasn't altogether the most uplifting experience. For one thing, I died a little inside every time I had to make a non-fat decaf caramel macchiato with extra syrup and whipped cream (oh, can you make that sugar-free?). I could never remember if I was supposed to swirl the caramel sauce (distinct from the caramel syrup) or draw a cross-hatch pattern. So when I came on at Capogiro and found out that they (we) only serve a traditional, simple Italian espresso menu, it was like a ray of sunlight beaming down on my otherwise relatively curmudgeonly heart. 

(Another major plus is that I can randomly drop videos of bulldogs bouncing on trampolines into my blog posts without any real rhyme or reason. Bulldog on a trampoline!)
And then, you know. I was living and making espresso in Seattle, and the organization for which I was working decided that the best course of action over the long term would be to shift all their espresso bars from using real espresso machines to fully automatic espresso machines. IN SEATTLE. Still haven't really gotten over the wrong-headedness of that. We take our espresso seriously at Capogiro--you know that. We put a lot of time, thought, and effort into training our baristi. It's difficult and it's on-going, but it's worth it. We'd rather give our baristi the training, tools, and ingredients to make awesome, real drinks. To actually CRAFT something worth savoring for a few minutes, as opposed to hiding your mediocrity under a blanket of corn syrup and artificial colors. For sure it can take a newcomer to one of our stores a minute to adapt.

But really the inspiration of this blog post--what I'm up on my soapbox about today--is this. What you've got there is a story out of Seattle about how a regional coffee chain there is looking at a hostile takeover (my interpretation, maybe not entirely accurate) by a group of out-of-towners who's mission is to have their crews dress trashy. Now, listen. I've got nothing against people dressing trashy if that's their wont. You do you! No issue with that. And trashy is for sure subjective, and my trashy might be your subtle. It's fine! Really. Really!

But when your employer EXPECTS it of you? Who gauges your value as an employee based on your perceived attractiveness and tendency to put yourself on bodily display? I sort of can't go any further with it because it leaves me pretty grossed out. I'm a son, a brother, an uncle, a boss, and a friend, and I wouldn't want any of the women in my world to work there. (Do applicants have to do a cat-walk strut as part of their interviews? The mind boggles.)

Listen, you can trust that the people that head the CapoCrews are very serious about making our workplaces welcoming and safe for the people who work for us. We respect and value our crews at least as much as we want them to respect and value themselves. We want individuals working for us, and we want them to feel like they have a fair degree of latitude in expressing that individuality.

Ok. Stepping off of the soapbox. The whole "I'm your boss and I need to you turn around so I can decide if you're dressed trashy enough" thing definitely gets my (Scotch-) Irish up. So degrading, and so indicative of the challenges women STILL face in this world, in the 21st century.

But hey, guess what time it is!

Y'know, I'm a little concerned I might not get to watch ANY of A Christmas Story this year, given my impending travels to see family. Which is not the greatest sacrifice an uncle can make. If you've already had a holiday, I genuinely hope it was full of warmth and joy, and if yours is coming up, I hope that it will be.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Capogiro. The world's a better place with you in it.

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