As alluded to within numerous of my essays, of late GJ Strachan has penned a large proportion of his daily prose residing in a White Rose Shopping Centre (WRSC) coffee house, south Leeds.

This frequency of visit so regular the very amiable baristas seem so au fait with my order that on occasion they’ve commenced prepping my drink upon witnessing me queue in situ. Congenial customer service afforded to yours truly which, as I made financial recompense for my lunchtime fodder, today extended as far as being provided with a Christmas card .

This heartwarming gesture you’d perhaps expect more from a small cafe owner than staff representing a global coffee house franchise. A much appreciated personal touch from employees who secure my habitual return custom with their collective attentive and welcoming personas.

If truth be told, I’ve not yet opened this festive greetings card, consequently I should perhaps temper my gushing praise of these affable baristas until I’ve done so. That being said, as the message on the white envelope states ‘Merry Christmas’, I envisage the locutions within are of a warm nature; not akin to a submission of ‘Stop occupying one of our tables for two to three hours a day, you fat so and so!’.

The latter a greeting that clearly wouldn’t be uttered via the medium of xmas card, or indeed any corporate communication conduit. I can’t help feeling, though, that on some juncture it’d be somewhat justified. Especially during increased pre-Christmas shopping day when heightened visitor numbers mean tables in WRSC cafe’s are of a premium; along with significantly more queue latency.

Some may posit my prose observations are excessively enthusiastic for what is, after all, only a small token of appreciation. However, I’d argue this gesture proves that, unlike Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, good customer service isn’t dead.


Shamefully, I don’t even know one of this team of baristas names. Not through lack of interest on my part, moreover a consequence of an uncharacteristic display of GJ Strachan timidity. A behavioural trait which rarely rears it’s ugly head in contemporary times.

Ever since witnessing ‘Rain Man’ savant Raymond Babbitt disturb a waitress by quoting her name and phone number learned while randomly scouring the phone book, I’m reticent to refer to individuals by their name unless it’s offered by the recipient.

In a proposal I’d intended to implement even before today’s receipt of the festive greeting card from one of the Costa coffee manager’s, prior to the xmas holidays commence I intend to make available a Christmas gratuity for this amiable bunch of baristas….. I’m unsure if bunch is the correct collective noun for baristas, but in the absence of the genuine grouping name I’ll go with the ‘b’ word.

I’m oft asked the reasoning behind writing my narratives in the WRSC; an inquiry that can be simply explained as thus. My chronicling strategy in the presence of the aforementioned waiters/waiteresses make my penmanship environment a great deal more cordial, less distracting, than attempting to practise my art at mater’s East Ardsley residence.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to concentrate on the job in hand when not being approached by a septuagenerian widow asking me the same inane questions she’s already asked quarter of an hour earlier.

As an aside, I’ve got an uncle who’s a habit of submitting what initially appears to be the inquiry “You for coffee?!” when you visit his home. On further scrutiny, though, it becomes clear he’s not delivering the three words as a question; moreover as the exclamation “You f*** offy!”…… And no that isn’t the message in the card I received earlier!

To conclude this prose I’ll leave you with some coffee related facts from Francis Albert Sinatra:-

Way down among the Brazillians, coffee beans sell by the billions
So they have to find those extra cups to fill
They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil
You date a girl and find out later she smells like a perculator
Her perfume was made right on the grill
They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil………..