57. Running Through a Maze with Natasha Kandilas Feld

Natasha joins me on the lounge for the first episode of 2021! We reflect on our recent visit to one of the most unusual, niche amusement parks in Australia, called Granties Maze, then share memories of trips to theme parks from when we were kids. We then ruminate on the difference in experiencing such places as adults.

(View the links and show notes below to see the places that we mention.)

Links and Show Notes

Rumination 72: Urban Coffee Culture

Whenever Natasha and I do our grocery shopping, we always make sure to visit local, independent shops in our area, as we naturally wish to support them. Furthermore they often stock obscure things that you can’t find elsewhere.

In Australia, the two main grocery chains are Coles and Woolworths and although their respective ranges are great and they have encouraged more package recycling, I don’t really enjoy shopping at either one of them. Their marketing campaigns are blatant and tiresome and there’s less of a personal touch, besides the fact that they’ve been crushing smaller grocery shops for years. Of course, given the world in which we live, there are some things that you can only really get from large supermarket chains. We often buy our favourite biodegradable coffee capsules there, which are made by República, a small Australian business (not a sponsor! 😀).

Now that we may swim freely in a boundless ocean of consumer choice and buy fancy biodegradable capsules, one also notices very sad sights such as this.

A coffee stand with the sign 'Coles Urban Coffee Culture'
So much culture

I couldn’t help but laugh as I read the sign ‘Urban Coffee Culture’, wondering if the Coles marketing people who developed this were being deliberately ironic in highlighting the total lack of culture that comes with this depressing automated set-up—or perhaps they really had no clue.

If they had bothered actually to create an in-store café that were staffed by humans and where customers could meet with friends—almost like a little town square that would challenge other local cafés—I would have thought, OK, I don’t like it but let’s see how it goes. In this instance, it appears to have been left with virtually nothing to select from the oven and the accompanying orange-juice stand and fridge are also completely empty. This thing’s so innovative, convenient and popular that they don’t even restock it.

Turning to you—aside from the automatic coffee machine or capsules that you may have at home, do you use such machines when visiting supermarkets or service stations? How does it make you feel to push a button rather than interact with a person?

You may recall that I’ve been frustrated by automatic coffee machines in public before. While the earlier example was completely unreliable, at least it had stuff in it.

(To finish on a separate point, yes, I am also troubled by the missing hyphen in ‘self-serve coffee’. Read more about compound modifiers here and here.)