You see them in most restaurants, whether the place is a bar and grill or an a la crème house of cuisine. Work in a factory and they pop up around the coffee maker. And if your place of employment has a vending machine, the accessory table near it has a stack for the taking.
I am sure that by now you know where we are heading in this week’s commentary: I want to discuss the world of coffee condiments.
Specifically, I’d like to point out the frustrations many of us experience every morning when we reach for our cup of java. If you drink your coffee black, this subject has little to do with you. But for the rest of us who like to doctor our daily beverage a bit, it is a major annoyance that needs to be corrected.
Most eateries will bring out your coffee promptly. And, most likely, their servers will drop a pill-sized container or two of milk on the table for those who are so inclined. Besides the dab of milk — which by itself is a challenge to get to open because the tiny tab on the cover can only be removed by a set of tweezers — sugar is the target of my complaint.
Using a term common in today’s world, I refer to the fake sugar packet. On the table there likely will be a bowl containing little envelopes of a sugar substitute of some kind. The envelope might be pink or yellow or blue and might say “sugar twin” or “equal” or it will have some other identifying name on it. Whatever it is, that’s what you get to use, like it or not.
Complaint number one is those packets do not rip easily. You may have to struggle to get one open, and if you want two or more doses of the sweetener, the rips never produce enough of a riptide to break them open. When they finally do tear apart — whew! — some of the granules will likely spill on the table and you have to conclude the klutz in you has just been revealed.
More often than not, while you are maneuvering material into your cup of coffee, your breakfast arrives, bringing us to complaint number two.
I like my food hot. What good is a stack of pancakes cooling on a plate, waiting to be buttered up and devoured but it is untouchable because the sugar substitute has riveted all of your attention.
I cannot believe the best way to package the fake sugar is by putting it in mini envelopes that customers have to tangle with. By the way, have you ever really looked at a packet of Equal? I have, and do you realize there are 18 lines of writing on one side, telling me things I never wanted to know. (If, at this point, you are tempted to ask if I haven’t got anything better to do than read my fake sugar sleeve, go ahead and ask. The answer is no.)
Whatever happened to the good old days when a sugar bowl or dispenser just sat on the table or counter waiting for a customer to use it? Those were the days when milk came in a serving pitcher so the combination of hot coffee and hot food was a reality.
I realize this issue is not one to concern oneself with today, given the slightly more important activities going on in the country, but someone has to highlight the mundane things that keep our lives in turmoil. On the blood boiling schedule, let’s grade this one a three and tackle more significant issues next time around.
After a short hiatus, Winslow and his Curmudgeon Report are back. He as written the Report for more than a dozen years. He wonders how rapidly your blood is boiling on this issue? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.