A long, personal, winding tale of one barista’s experiences and ruminations. Take a look at what life is like on the other side of the bar, and how it feels to be part of the socio-economic evolution of New York’s gentrifying neighborhoods and the service industry that symbiotically subsists on it and helps the process along. There’s a lot of insight in this article:

“My kind of service work is not the kind of service work that puts you in the back room washing dishes for 12-hour shifts for dollars because you are considered completely expendable. But my kind of service work is part of the same logic that indiscriminately razes neighborhoods. It outsources the emotional and practical needs of the oft-fetishized, urban-renewing “creative” workforce to a downwardly mobile middle class, reducing workers’ personality traits and educations to a series of plot points intended to telegraph a zombified bohemianism for the benefit of the rich.”

And this bit – which I’ve thought about before from the outside looking in:

“For all of North Brooklyn’s book groups and websites and meet-ups dedicated to alternative monetary systems, the solidarity economy is, for the time being, at its best in the service sector. I can barely remember paying full price for anything. Checks for Negronis, artisanal spicy pickles, hand-roasted coffee beans, and sometimes entire locally sourced meals disappeared with a wink and a nudge reminiscent of Fight Club’s ominous waiter scene. At the very least, it allowed us to participate in a culture we couldn’t really afford. At its vilest it felt like a neighborhood of people working for slightly more than minimum wage in exchange for a chance to play-act at brunching in a nice neighborhood.”

And there’s much more. It’s a long one, so brew up a cup or two before you dive in. And if it spurs a thought, do share on Twitter or here in the comments – I’d love to start a discussion.

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