A well-known department store chain has announced that it is to trial a rebranding of the coffee in their in-store cafeterias, to make life easier for purchasers to work out what they want. I have some sympathy with this; some of those beverages can be quite daunting. I was proud of myself a few weeks ago when, in a C0sta at Southampton airport, I ordered an Americano and got what I expected – a black coffee with milk on the side. And I’ve never dared to enter a St@rbucks.
But I do think D€benha∑s – for it is they – are perhaps at risk of obfuscation by over-simplification (and if there’s a word for that, please do let me know what it is). Apparently, 70% of their customers struggle with terms such as ‘cappuccino’ and ‘espresso’, which are to be renamed ‘frothy coffee’ and ‘a shot of strong coffee’. Really? If this is true, then it does seem to suggest something about the majority of their clientele, or their opinion of them, which I’m sure D€benha∑s didn’t quite intend.
But fair do’s to them, if they think it’s going to help. I rarely enter the store by choice (sometimes you have to go through it to get to the car park), and never their café. What does bother me slightly, though, is the ‘director of food services’ (and there’s a job title for you – what happened to ‘catering’?) claiming, as he does, that this will enable shoppers to “spend less time playing coffee Cluedo.” Now, I don’t know whether this guy has ever played Cluedo, but a moment’s research would have revealed the inappropriateness of this metaphor in every single respect beyond smart-ass alliteration. ‘St@rbucks Scrabble’ would have been marginally better. Nothing would have been better still.