A little while ago I moved from the village that had the pleasure of my residence for a few months. I moved over to the other side of the city and the suburb that I now call home is about as middle class as you get in these parts. People buy houses here because the schools are good, because there is a Marks & Spencers and a Waitrose and because there are a respectable number of small independent shops staffed by well-turned out middle-aged ladies with names like Margot and Penelope selling knick-knacks for your home that I don't understand*.
It being slightly more hip than my previous location (by which I mean a higher proportion of the population still have their own) there is also a Costa coffee shop. I know this because we were there recently enjoying a cappuccino and a cake. As I relaxed on the artfully shabby leather sofa I noticed a quite startling array of security cameras (circled in red) in the ceiling:
There was actually another camera that I couldn't get in shot, pointing at the toilets. I don't even want to think about that.
I'm really not sure quite what they're expecting. Did they think that there was a real danger that one of the customers might react violently to a story in The Guardian relating to slipping educational standards, which could lead to a coffee shop brawl? Maybe they thought the local church Open Mike night** on a Sunday evening might end in rowdiness and violence?
Or maybe I'm just missing the point. Maybe in this era of multi-faceted, multi-media business, Costa have their own TV channel showing the comings and goings of their customers in a Big Brother format.
"Day 37, and Andrew is wondering if a biscotti is just a biscuit, but smaller and more expensive."
* - Small bits of painted wood with platitudes written on them in unusual fonts appear to be very much in vogue.
** - I haven't made this up for comic effect.