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If I ruled the world

These days, you can’t buy so much as a chocolate bar without being given a receipt. What’s behind this unnecessary pedantry?

By William Davies   December 2009

“Would you like any pastries with your coffee?” No thanks, I’m fine. “Any muffins at all?” No thanks, I’m fine. I maintain a half-grateful smile, remembering to divert any irritation towards the manager who first insisted that coffee should come bundled with cake. “One medium Americano with milk, sir… And your change! Have a nice day!” Thank you. You too.

Around this point in the ritual, something unnecessary occurs. More unnecessary than the offer of glutinous blueberry-based carbohydrate. More unnecessary, even, than the day’s third coffee, which I’ve bought because Starbucks advertising execs convinced me that ten minutes of solitude…

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