I’ve been back 4 months and dependent on outside sources for most of my needs, including food and drink, all that time.

So the time has come, sitting in Starbucks between Charing Cross and Embankment, the one half way between, not the one at the end right near Embankment station, to ask if this outbreak every time I go in happens only to me, or if other people get it as well.

As soon as I came in (and this often happens with Starbucks, any branch) they jumped on me immediately I walked through the door and when I asked for a minute they replicated my gesture (raised index finger).  Then they immediately went into a whole load of stuff about ‘baby’, in a singsong voice which felt like a confrontation, but it also has the air now of being caught out a bit in what they are doing.  That, when it is time to hand over the money, is when I start to resent the whole transaction, and I told them so.  Today is the first time I have been in here.  They were also talking about bags and reacting awkwardly and to me that says that, whether they meant that for me or not, they recognised the thing in itself when they do it in other ways.

I got quite cross with them, saying it was subliminal interrogation and harassment and they tried to make out they didn’t know what I was talking about.  So I said to leave it, if they didn’t even want to acknowledge they understood anything.  But I also said I knew they did understand because they were salesmen and I had done selling myself.

Every time they have banged a surface I have seen by their reactions that, even if that time was not deliberate, they were completely aware that they do do it deliberately.  They were loudly saying words like ‘crushed’, loading it all with significance.  I’ve wondered for ages if it is some sort of club selection/initiation/rejection procedure, that this place which I thought was just an open, walk in good coffee place actually operates a selection process, very aggressively and violently, if my experience is anything to go by.

The thing is, they are always going on about babies every time I walk in.  ‘Baby’ this, ‘baby’ that, ‘baby’ for ‘maybe’, and there are plenty of people who would find that difficult for all sorts of reasons – infertility, still birth, abortion, miscarriage, cot death, for instance.  Both men and women.  I am not the only person who does not need this, and it is, by its very nature, visceral and inappropriate to be used in a selling context.

I don’t normally get the answers I seek, on my blog.  But for what it is worth, this is my experience, and I wonder if this is something they do to everyone.  Along with that is other stuff.  God stuff, vegan stuff, camp vamp (as I’ve heard it referred to).  They are doing a heavy emotional display right now.  At least some of it is theatre.  Every time they say ‘yes’ my reaction is one that I would have if lied to or assaulted in some way.  They are playing right into my face now.  it is really insulting and hurtful and they can see I am hurt by my reactions, and the man just hid his face behind the counter.  They are team laughing and mocking and intervening, aural interjections in response, I assume, to my body language.  Their own body language is quite aggressive and contemptuous, strutting up and down in front of me, and one of them just (15.35 edit) said something about ‘stupid’ and is hanging around looking miserable, as if I am supposed to care how he feels.  The same one that . . .

. . . (One of them) just came over and ‘asked’ me if he could ‘ask’ me to calm down.

It is viscerally savage and dishonest.

Posted 15.23pm Saturday 7th January 2012, UK time.

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