I was amazed at the cheek of the lady behind the counter when she charged me an extra ten pence for having my coffee in one of their mugs.
If I had known I would be charged more for the trouble of them washing up an extra mug and not wasting more cardboard cups by opting to drink in, I would have opted for the paper-wasting option, although I would still have been charged another little extra (ten pence) for the sprinkle of chocolate powder.
I wonder what else they would have charged me for given half the chance?
Perhaps another 10p for extra milk?
£1 for the use of a spoon?
Or even 50p to sit and drink the coffee in their esteemed premises?
Immediately, I began to think about the mine field that the modern high-street coffee shop can be. I very rarely buy coffee from a shop in town, as I regard it as something of a luxury.
But if I were to grace them with my custom more often, I honestly believe that within one year they would have taken similar revenue to that of the earnings of Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch and J K Rowling combined.
Not only are you charged for everything, but there is an overwhelming choice of uber-expensive options.
Do you want an Affogato or a Baltimore?
How about a Black Eye?
Or you have a choice of a Black Tie, Breve, Caffè Americano, Café au lait, Café Bombón, Caffè latte, Cafe Medici, Café mélange, Café miel, Coffee milk, Cafe mocha, Cafe Zorro Ca phe sua da Cappuccino, Chai Latte, Chocolate Dalmatian, Cinnamon Spice Mocha, Cortado, Decaf…
The odds of me walking into a coffee shop and coming out with the cup I wanted, and without punching someone on the nose, are very slim indeed.
I mean what on earth is a Dirty Chai?
Or an Eiskaffee?
Or a Flat White?
Do they put mud in your Chai, send your coffee to Sweden, or stamp on your mug? Who knows?
In a very roundabout way, that brings me nicely onto the car industry, because as you may have noticed, there is boggling array of options on offer on every new car nowadays, whether it be a £10,000 hatchback or a £1,000,000 hypercar.
Let me take Porsche as an example.
Now I like Porsches – I like the way they look, the way they sound, and most certainly the way they go, so this isn’t me having a personal rant on Porsche.
It just so happened that I was in the presence of some highly specced Porsches last week, with the options added listed with the corresponding prices, so as I have real cars for sale as an example, I thought I would use them.
First up was the Porsche Panamera GTS.
The seats were pretty uncomfortable, but other than that it seemed like a speedy enough set of wheels, with a 4.8 litre twin-turbo V8 and a top speed of 180 mph, all for a rather large, but sort of worth it, price of £91,239.
However, if you add anything to it at all, the price will head for the moon.
The red paint cost £2,500, the red interior stitching with a few other bits and bobs cost £1,700, the wheels cost £1000, a modified chassis costs £3000, carbon brakes cost £5000, and get this: the rear wiper costs £235.
You get rear wipers as standard on a Renault Clio, so why shouldn’t you get one on a car for which you could buy two second-hand Ferraris? In the end, this car cost £106,000.
Then I moved into the Porsche 911 Carrera S. Basic, it costs £81k, but with options like sports seats, logos on the leather, and a few styling tweaks, you could be spending a whopping £115,000.
One final example, and this really will burn your mind.
A Cayenne Turbo costs about £87,000, but the car I was in, with extra stitching, a ‘power kit’, a garage door opener and a few other trinkets, cost £142,624.
Think about that. If you start ticking random boxes, you would have blown an extra £55k. Genuinely, I’m sitting here writing this almost unable to think, because that is such a colossal figure.
Porsche, it isn’t your fault at all.
Yes, you do offer a lot of expensive options (the rear wiper should come as standard), but it is our fault for being twitchy when signing the forms.
My point today is simple. Either you can be careful with what you choose on a new car or rally for the manufacturers to give you fewer options, or you could say goodbye to 55 years worth of holidays by specifying brushed aluminium and extra leather.