Sunday, June 10, 2012

Needs vs. Wants

I have the good fortune of working at a locally owned coffee shop in my hometown.  I've been employed by them for the past 3 years and have enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it immensely.

I know that I've noticed the following situation before, but never really had an outlet (outside of my private journal) to talk about it.  Here we go:

A customer walks into the coffee shop (I know, sounds like a bad joke already, doesn't it) and sidles up to the register.

Me or another staff member: "Hey, how's it going?"
Customer: "Good"
(occasionally the conversation will go on a little bit longer where we may mention what has happened in our day)
Me or another staff member: "Awesome.  What can I get for you?"
Customer: "Well....I NEED a(n) (insert drink name here)."

This is where I lie in discontent.  Does any customer really need a 16 oz-extra shot-sugar free-skim-vanilla latte?  Are they in such a state as that they will cease to exist without said latte?  From my observations, they do not need this substance, but they in fact want it.  The difference between needs and wants.

Now don't get me wrong, I've done it too.  After a long day at work or school or whatever I'm prone to saying "Ugh, I need a good beer."  I am fully aware of the fact that I do not need a good beer, merely that I desire it.

I'm calling myself out, too.

However, it's easy enough for me to say to myself:

"No, miss lady, you do not need a beer, but merely want it because you find the process of drinking a beer, which is often accompanied by great conversation, exceptionally relaxing.  People who actually need things are the starving children of the world, which sounds completely cliche, but it happens to be an unfortunate truth.  There are starving children, and they do need food."

I don't know how many of you frequent coffee shops, but at the one I work at, we tend to have a clientele that would not take kindly to being corrected.  And, I just so happen to enjoy my job enough that I don't want to lose it because I was trying to redirect the misguided use of the English Language.  After all, if the word need comes to symbolize merely a "want".  What word are we going to use to fulfill the meaning of the word "need"?

But perhaps it is upon my shoulders (and now yours, for reading this and realizing it) to correct these individuals.

Anyway, rather than ranting and being redundant, I will leave the conversation at that.


Things I've read that you should read: "The Fault In Our Stars" - John Green
Things that I've heard that you should hear: Hundred Waters (it's a group)
Things I've eaten that you should eat: Spinach and Cheese Quinoa
Things I've drank that you should drink: Delirium Nocturnum


  1. Well said, my friend. I have taken note of situations like this many times.

    1. Christine! How is England?! Is everything proper? The English always seem so proper...unless they're at a football game. I'm excited to hear stories when you come back! (And thanks for reading!)