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OP-ED: I Waited 8 Minutes for a Latte at Pret—Now I Understand Oppression


Photo by Zhangyang / CC BY-SA 3.0

I knew that life could be challenging. I had to ask my parents twice for a Canada Goose jacket before they bought me one in middle school. I actually had to pay someone to complete my application to Penn, even though I’m a double legacy and the application is just a formality. But last Wednesday, I experienced the true difficulty of a world set against me. I ordered a vanilla latte at Pret, and I had to wait eight minutes before they gave me my drink.

In that time, my thoughts were racing. I had no idea what to do—I got tired of looking at Instagram on my phone, and I had a lecture in fifteen minutes. Even though I was not going to attend, I would appreciate it if the baristas at Pret respected my theoretical commitments. Yet, there I stood, latte-less and afraid, because I knew I had to use all the grit that private prep school taught me to survive the grueling wait.

I saw friends come and go, and people who were in line after me got their drinks long before mine arrived. I politely coughed, to alert the baristas to my impatience, and they didn’t even look up. It pierced me to my core.

Finally, eight agonizing minutes later, they gave me my latte. I smiled, but on the inside I was drowning. I took the coffee and went to the GSR I had booked, eager to evict the current inhabitant. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps to get this coffee and this tiny glass room in a windowless basement.

I did learn something from this trying experience: the baristas at Pret really need to get their shit together for the sake of downtrodden, oppressed, blonde heiresses like me. If no one else is comfortable speaking this truth, I guess I’m a martyr for the cause. I’m going to be hosting a bake sale on Locust next week to raise awareness of this important issue. Cookies start at $8.95.