Possibly the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had with a barista (including the one where I explained to my manager how I had opened the store an hour late because I’d forgotten my key) occurred when Nathan and I (ok, I) noticed an Intelligentsia coffee shop and insisted on going in. Even though I was already hyped up on too much caffeine, and our wallets were drained for the very same reason. You see, I’d read articles about Intelligentsia that touted it as the best coffee shop in the US; these articles stated that Intelligentsia alone was an excellent reason to go to…Chicago. So you can understand my confusion as I tried to remember exactly what their logo looked like, and whether this was the same one, or perhaps just copyright fraud. You can probably also understand the barista’s bemusementwhen I asked her whether she was famous, and why she was in New York instead of Chicago. Explaining that I meant her shop, and not her personally, didn’t make it any less awkward. When country comes to town, country requires detailed explanations of basic economic concepts like franchises. 


The ever-obliging Nathan enjoying his fancy coffee that he probably thought tasted just like gas station coffee, but he made an admirable effort to at least look happy about it, anyway.


No pretending here.