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Coffee cup filth

Many people spend much of their time in cafes. But, as Meghan Lodwick has found, some have extremely high expectations of service and little respect for those providing it.

I was doing a round, picking up empty glassware and ceramics. They had been scraped clean with a spoon to get out every drip of the coffee I had made. In the corner of the shop stood a lone empty. I went to pick it up and take it to be washed.

The spoon was delicately placed next to the discarded dish, but sitting next to the cup was a dirty, half-eaten chicken bone.

I recoiled, overwhelmed with disgust yet somewhat curious about the wing and bean combination. Shaking my head on my way back to the sanitizer I wanted to throw the entire plate and cup in the trash, as if the bone had tainted the plate because some customer was too lazy to walk to the bin.

Coffee cup filth is a usual occurrence. Mostly it’s apple cores, wasabi, soy and chewed gum. The chicken bones come in twice a week and they are the worst of all.

I have, however, gotten used to the cigarette butts. It’s such a regular find that you’d think we were a tobacco dispensary.

I like to think of a café as a third home. After your actual abode and the office, getting a coffee is something most people do every day, usually at the same place. But that does not make me your mother and it certainly doesn’t mean you can leave crap all over the place thinking I’m going to come along to gladly demonstrate how to use the rubbish bin.

I’m lucky enough to have a workforce in place that supports my cleaning duties. The blue-shirted men and women that work hard at La Trobe to ensure a clean environment do offer the alternative to walking towards a smelly bin.

Although, it is pretty sad that many of us weren’t taught that bits of paper and uneaten lunches go into one of the hundreds of trash cans situated throughout the uni.

Without me and the fleet of disposal experts, La Trobe would be a pretty dirty place. Yes, it’s my job to clean the cups. But c’mon now – we don’t even serve chicken wings or apples. Be a little responsible and discard your manky food scraps. Also, apply this lesson elsewhere. A little spit shine on the world is always welcome.

Meghan Lodwick is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University. This piece was initially published on her blog, For The Love Of Beans!

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