Common Sense Rule of Vancouver #0004 – Finding Fault

Oh what a month we have had, dear sweet denizens of Vancouver! November started rather meekly, and then turned into a Shakespearean drama of tempests, squalls, and social disintegration not seen since, well, The Tempest

I was with you, my brothers and sisters, as you stepped over (or into) backed-up overflow pipes. I was with you when nobody followed Rule 0002 of the Common Sense Rules of Vancouver and started inadvertently poking people with your umbrellas. And, I was with you, during the water shortage of ’06.

And wouldn’t you know it…..common sense went out the window.

Photo by Roland

On the first day of the Boil Water Advisory, I happened into a Starbucks knowing that it would probably have free WiFi and be relatively uninhabited. Variants of the following conversation were overheard, at least 15 times during my not-short-enough stay within it’s franchised walls.

BARISTA: “Hi there. Sorry, we have no hot drinks today.”
BARISTA: “No hot drinks. Water shortage.”
CUSTOMER: “What?!”
BARISTA: “We have no water so we’re not serving hot drinks. We’d be happy to offer you -”
CUSTOMER: “So I can’t get a coffee?”
BARISTA: (*Grimace*) “No, unfortunately you can’t.”
CUSTOMER: “This is so stupid.”
BARISTA: “Sorry, but we don’t know if the water is safe, it’s kinda not our fault.”
CUSTOMER: “Whatever kid. I’ll just get a latte then.”
BARISTA: “Um, …..”
BARISTA: “We use steam to make lattes”
CUSTOMER: “……..”
BARISTA: “Steam comes from hot water.”
CUSTOMER: “This is bullshit!”

So Common Sense Rule of Vancouver #0004 reads as follows

Thou shalt not, whilst wearing a business suit or other reasonably expensive attire, try to blame underemployed coffee house workers for the faults of others. Thou shouldst realize, what with the business suit implying a modicum of intelligence, that the fault lies entirely outside of the realm of the young person thou art giving grief to.

Thou shalt, instead, either place fault where it should lie, or shuteth thine mouth.

Same goes for Translink workers on the broken Skytrain, bus drivers on the frozen roads, and anyone else who is not directly responsible for the various little snafus that add a little bit of excitement to your otherwise banal existence.

Following said rule entitles you to the use of the coveted title: Reasonable Person

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Have a nice day.

Go back and read Common Sense Rule of Vancouver #0003

8 Comments so far

  1. John Bollwitt (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

    I’ve been pretty amazed at some of the reactions we’ve seen from the water situation to the snow. Perhaps it takes the worst of situations to bring out the worst in some people, but some of this crap has been incredible. Shit happens, and you’ll be able to get your fucking latte in due time.

  2. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 7:13 pm

    Well put, Mikey.

  3. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

    Five more common sense rules, and I’m nominating Mikey for mayor.

  4. Chris (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

    Hey Jonathon, how come you’re allowed to comment on Mikey’s article but I can’t comment on yours? Hmmm?

  5. bcneocon (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 12:39 am

    Oh well, a few people got a bit stupid during this past month of inconveniences … which is all it really was for most people. The people without power and heat were the ones who I could forgive for being pissed… But it’s a big city and you’re bound to have a few aholes making us all look bad. On the whole, we took it pretty well. Let’s give ourselves a hand… and a latte….

  6. Erin (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 12:38 pm


    I see the same scene all the time, regardless of the water situation. It’s not the barista’s fault that they’re understaffed on a Tuesday night, that’s the manager’s doing. It’s not the bus driver’s fault that the bus only comes once every 20 mins. These people don’t make up the rules and their jobs are thankless enough as it is. No need to make them worse.

  7. Rob Cottingham (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

    Mikey, you have a potentially invaluable refinement here for the Bob Sutton Starbucks Test for telling whether someone is an asshole.

  8. Mikey (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

    I think the best “asshole test” would be gaged by how a person treats those whom he or she feels superior to.

    Funny, though, how some feel superior to the very people (baristas, bus drivers) that they are dependent upon.

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