Socialist Worker

Glamour of part-time work on low pay

Issue No. 2342

Just why are so many people desperate to work in coffee shops?

When Costa coffee looked for eight workers to staff a new outlet in Nottingham—only three of them full time—it got 1,700 applications.

The highest paid position got £10 an hour, the lowest barely half that.

People were rejected with more than 15 years retail experience.

Many had been laid off by HMV, Comet or Clinton.

There are 2.5 million unemployed people in Britain, so it’s not really much of a mystery. But Guardian columnist Leo Benedictus has a theory.

He admits that neither the money nor the experience is that appealing. But “something sparkly clings to that word ‘barista’,” he wrote.

“There’s some special cachet there.”

He went on about “a whole look, with tattoos and trendy clothes, and an attitude—an odd combination of the laid back and the intensely serious—that marks out the career barista.”

Yeah. That’ll be it.

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The Troublemaker
Tue 26 Feb 2013, 16:52 GMT
Issue No. 2342
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