Tuesday, 28 February 2012


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.


  1. In their defence, our local Costa had its air conditioning unit stolen last week. But then this is Essex. Also the other day the coffee machine exploded spraying the whole place with hot water and coffee grouts so the cameras would have come in handy to film the customers reaching for their mobiles to call their solicitors....

  2. Biscotti deserve to have platitudes painted on them....

  3. NB - If the cops don't catch the air-con thieves quickly, will it be filed as a cold case? Sorry.

    Libby - My thoughts entirely.

    CQ - Just like the painted wood, but less tasty.