I want to be a supporter of the local, independent businesses. I want to help to ensure that my local shops keep having a bakers, a butchers and a veg shop. I want there to be choices in my shopping and eating life that aren’t decided in some homogenised tax avoiding board room. But I keep finding myself buying differently. I keep going to those corporations because they are easy, they open at silly hours and they are reliable in the choices that they provide.
For example, I want to go to my local farm shop. I am lucky enough to have one about three miles away. They grow lots and get other produce from local farms. They are lovely and the family that live on the farm run the place. The produce is quality and seasonal. BUT I often end up buying my veg in plastic bags at 9pm at night when the farm shop is understandably closed. On the weeks when I do make an effort to go to the farm shop, I love what I get but those weeks are embarrassingly rare.
It’s the same with coffee shops. I drink tea. I like the smell of coffee but hate the taste. In a world of hundreds of coffee options, we tea drinkers are just grateful if they can make water close enough to boiling to make the tea actually drinkable. We can’t be bothered with tea pots and milk jugs, as though we are visiting an elderly aunt, we just want a decent teabag in a cup with BOILING water in it and room for a splash of milk. Easy, you’d think, but no. We get tepid murk in a mug.
There is one global chain that can usually make tea. They have a blend of breakfast tea which is quite nice. So, whilst I want to be supporting the independent business, when I need my caffeine fix I often go there. I even caved last week and got a loyalty card for there as it seemed pointlessly stubborn to refuse a free drink 10% of the time. Even in Paris I went there – it was the only cafe which understood how to make tea.
So, even though I hate how they treat their staff and how they don’t pay their taxes, and how they are making the world a bland and boring places, I just can’t give up them. I will keep trying though.