Bizarre experience on North Island

A couple of weeks ago, I had breakfast at a newish cafe in Fitzroy, Melbourne, called North Island. The cafe is in a strip where there is plenty of competition, including Tin Pot Cafe, and Dench Bakery, which have both received excellent reviews in papers such as The Age, and are even mentioned in the Australian Lonely Planet Guide. So, my point is, no cafe can really afford to be dodgy with this much competition.

The cafe is sparsely decorated, but seems to be picking up some business as run-off from Dench next door. So, I decided to try the cafe (as you do when you have so much choice). After I’d sat down, the “waiter” placed two glasses of water on the table, turned away from me and my companion, and said (to no one in particular), “Do you want coffees?”.

I ordered their “North Island Beans”. After about five minutes, I heard a familiar “ding” – familiar at home, because it was the ding of a microwave oven. I turned around to see the waiter taking my beans (which were in a plastic take-away container) out of the microwave, and then, wait for it, watched him as he stuck his finger in my beans!!!

I was just a bit flabbergasted. But I recovered, and said to him, “Did you just stick your finger in my breakfast?”, to which he replied, “I was checking to see if it was hot.” After a couple of seconds, he may have realised that sticking his finger in someone else’s breakfast probably didn’t conform to the usual hygiene standards, and said, “Do you want me to make you another one?”

Hmmm. Did he need to ask me? Did I want to eat there? What had he done to my coffee?

This is a true story. The names have not been changed to protect innocent customers who can’t get in to Dench or Tin Pot.

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