As soon as I got my work permit eight years ago, I went to Borders and asked for a job, because I thought it would be cool, and I thought I was cool, which made it a good fit.
So I came in with a friend, and a dude gave me an application, and I filled it up on the spot, still standing, because I was so excited, and I handed him the application, and that was it. I was very pleased with myself.
So pleased and so certain I got the job, that I wanted to celebrate in the Borders Cafe.
My friend was first. She ordered a latte.
The cafe girl put some coffee, added hot milk, put some puffy shit on top, and gave my friend her latte.
I was next. I ordered a cappuccino.
The cafe girl put some coffee, added a tiny bit of hot milk, and filled the rest of the cup with the puffy shit.
Now I was grabbing the cup and realizing I had a tiny little teaspoon of cappuccino in a large cup, so I said, "Hmm..."
And she said, "That's the way you make cappuccino."
And I said, "But there's nothing there."
And she said, "That's real cappuccino."
And the fucker behind me in line said to the cafe girl, "People don't know what real cappuccino looks like anymore."
And I didn't want to create a scene because I just applied to work there, but I also didn't want to spend $4 on a teaspoon of coffee and a bunch of fluff on top, even if it was sprinkled with chocolate powder. So my friend made a suggestion: Just get Cafe Girl to add some hot milk.
But Cafe Girl said, "Then that won't be a cappuccino--it will be latte."
So I said, "Okay, so I want a latte. It's the same price. Can't you just add some hot milk to my cup and call it a latte?"
And she said, "It doesn't work like that."
So she gave me a Borders Return Slip, where I had to put my name, address, and phone number. She then started looking through the trash because she threw away my credit card receipt, and she couldn't give me the refund without the receipt. And she couldn't find it just by sifting through the trash, so she emptied the trash can on the counter behind her and started looking through that mess until she found my receipt. So I signed the Return Slip, and I signed the Credit Card Refund Slip, and I bought a latte.
So now she took my cappuccino, and she opened the top, and she put the cup against the machine, and she pressed a button, and hot milk came out and filled my cup. Remember how Moses hit the rock with his magic stick to get the water out in the desert? Something like that.
And that's my Borders story.
Wait, there's a punchline.
I got a phone call later that day, telling me they read my application, and the only open position they had was in the cafe. I said I'd call them back.
But just in case this story was a bit disappointing and you feel you've invested too much time for a story that ends with a cafe girl pushing a button, here's a book-related issue:
I read a review on Harper's about a book by Clare Pettitt, and all I could think was, "Really? Think she's compensating for something? Clare, no matter how many T's you've got in your name, you'll never have a penis."
Sometimes I wonder how normal people look at things.