John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Condiment Bars

Want to really know someone? You know what I mean? I mean…”really know their souls?” Not just how they want you to think about them…or the way they are when times are good and things are going their way.

I also don’t mean knowing someone in a crisis situation. I mean just knowing their real temperament, their respect for others and their sense of themselves and their place in the world.

If you do, there is not better way to do this than watching how they conduct themselves at the Starbucks condiment bar when it is crowded.

Some people, when it is their turn, act like they own the condiment bar all by themselves. When it is their turn they take their sweet time getting their sugar and 2% milk…just like they like it. They obviously have high self esteem but show a lack of respect for others. They tend to be in middle-management and think they have all the answers.

jyb_musingsAnother group of people don’t even need much sugar or half-and-half but take their sweet time getting it ….in fact, they take much longer than is actually needed. These people don’t have high self-esteem but are actually struggling with low self-esteem and being flagrantly passive aggressive toward others. Being at the condiment bar at Starbucks for them is viewed as a time in their day where they feel they have power over others–and they wield in irresponsibly and excessively. They abuse the condiment bar rules of engagement. They tend to be corporate executives and bored housewives.

What about the people who use the last bit of cream and don’t get it re-filled and instead leave it for the next person who discovers there is no cream left? These are the social deviants who are simply out for themselves. They tend to be stock brokers and lawyers.

Still another group gets very nervous at the condiment bar and starts nervously hurrying to get out of the momentary limelight into the safety of their car. They don’t take the time to put the right amount of sugar and cream in their coffee but will usually at least get the cream and sugar right if they are getting coffee for another person. These people are co-dependent and struggle to see themselves as “worthy” —even worthy of having cream and sugar in their coffee. They are the saddest condiment bar personality type. These types are usually at the bottom of the food chain at work and apologize for even being there.

Finally, there is the type that doesn’t even use cream and sugar but will go to the condiment bar to steal napkins they don’t need for their car. Does this make them criminals? No, not really. But you don’t want to go into business with them….and if you do you can be sure you will always be getting the short end of the stick. They tend to be CEO’s.

Oh yeah, there is one more condiment bar group. The kind that watch others and draw conclusions about their personality. They tend to be the ones who always get stuck with the empty half-and-half canister. And they usually write a lot on Facebook.


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