Mondays – for me – usually go something like this: (1) Get off work at 7AM. (2) Head home. (3) Crawl out of work uniform and smother into pajamas. (4) Crank the electric blanket on high and fire up the ol’ Netflix…until I fall asleep. Pretty routine for a night-worker to not want the word “productivity” encroaching on sleep. Yesterday (read: Monday) morning, however, I had to be up and about. And, oddly enough, I was glad of it. These were tea-related errands – my favorite kind – some I had been shirking for one reason or another, others that recently fell into my lap.
This is a breakdown of how that all turned out.
First Errand: Smith HQ
I received an e-mail a week prior from Mrs. Teamaker herself saying there was a package waiting for me at Smith’s. Curiosity baited, I said I would be in that following Monday. An impatient part of me wanted to go in a lot sooner, but I was still fighting the monkey flu from Hades. Waiting until I was more cogent and less – er – phlegmy seemed the better strategy.
Being the punctual not-so-little sprite that I am, I showed up right when the doors opened. My Smith trip this time was threefold. I needed a light-load of caffeine for further errands ahead; for which some White Petal was required. Second, I needed to pick up some chamomile. Sleep was a rare commodity these days, for some reason. Of all the teas in my arsenal, none were straight chamomile. Third, I had to pick up said surprise package.
Smith himself and Tea MC Tiff were on hand when I got there. Steve then lugged over a black back with the company logo on it. Not sure what I did to deserve it, but I manblushed and accepted. After that, I shot the breeze with the Tea MC for an hour over my pot o’ Petal before venturing on to the next task.
Second Errand: Paper Zone
I was in dire need of little plastic baggies in which to carry samples. As far as I knew, only one place clear on the other side of the river carried ‘em. The reason I needed ‘em was simple: Tea swaps. I needed something to ship the leaves in. Dollar Tree sandwich bags – my usual back-up – just screamed, “I’m a cheap-ass!” So close to the holidays, I wanted the delivery presentations to come to be more presentable.
As soon as I entered, a chipper-ish floor person greeted me. I fumbled and studdered my request, and the gal bee-lined to a small aisle near the back. Not only did they have the bags I was looking for, they had different sizes. And the best part? Buying a hundred of them didn’t break the bank. I was in and out in five minutes.
Paper Zone, if you were a girl…I’d marry you on the spot.
Third Errand: Stash Tea Store
Only one place on the Westside carried the next item on my list at a decent price. When I’m at work, I try to rely on loose leaf teas as much as possible. However, I don’t have the luxury of bringing all my brewing equipment with me. A gaiwan simply doesn’t work to well when you’re constantly moving about. As much as it would make some of you, fair tea-readers, cringe…I rely on do-it-yourself teabags. The Japanese foldy kind.
Shut up, they’re awesome.
I can easily store any tea I need for that day, brim a coffee cup with boiling water, and dunk that bad boy. Instant tea-happy. You go with what you can due to time constraints. The nearest place for me to get them is – and has always been – the Stash Tea Store. I’m so glad it’s in my neck o’ the woods.
Funny thing happened, though. As I was ready to check-out at the counter, I asked the aproned teller a question he wasn’t quite prepared for. Although, he initially said something to the contrary.
“I have a strange question,” I started.
“You’d be surprised what I hear,” he said with a smirk.
“Can I take a picture inside?”
“Nope,” he said curtly.
“Vendors don’t approve of it,” the teller said flatly. “You can take a picture of that wall.”
He pointed at a colorful mural.
“Ah, that’s okay,” I declined.
“Why did you want to?” he asked me in return.
“I’m a blogger,” I replied.
“Uh…huh…” he nodded slowly.
I gave a polite nod and left – inwardly chuckling at the irony that I took a picture with Stash’s former owner in his own shop a mere two hours prior.
Fourth Errand: Post Office
Having acquired the sample bags I wanted, I returned home and began preparing packages. There were seven teas I needed to divvy up between two lovely lady bloggers that showered me with teaffectious awesomeness prior. Returning the favor in as bountiful a way as possible was mandatory. The new bags worked like a charm. Preparing the samples took no time at all. What worried me was the post office.
It was the holidays, and – as expected – traffic was a mess, thanks to last-minute shoppers. I half-expected the line at the local USPS to be equally as hellish. Indeed, when I got there, a line was clear to the door. A funny thing happened, though.
It actually moved. I barely had time to finish addressing the packages before I found my place in the cattle-call of people. For once, the post office was moving – dare I say it – efficiently. Maybe some Power That Be sensed that my caffeine reserves were fading. I was grumbling to myself, after all. Yet I was at the counter in fifteen-to-twenty minutes with nary a curse word parted from my lips.
I returned home accomplished, then went about my delayed post-graveyard shift routine. Jammies and ‘lectric blanky were primed, alarm was set, NyQuil was imbibed…and I was off to dreamland. If this had been any more whimsical a day, I would’ve counted teacups to sleep.
A pretty productive day.
The idea of those fill-it-yourself paper infusers is not a bad one. They aren’t really “tea bags” with all the horror that holds. Good on you for maintaining your standards in a workplace that is not loose-leaf friendly.
Now, let’s deal with two issues.
I”ll forgive you mentioning chamomile on the basis that you never mention it again without.at least three swear words in the sentence. Since it was conclusively proved a few months back it does not assist sleep in any way, there is not even that poxy excuse.
Secondly, what this ‘asking permission to take a photo’ crap? You are a BEAST OF BREWDOM!! You are above those petty rules made for mere mortals, Get some Lapsang Souchiong in a travel mug, grab your camera and stride back in there. Get that camera out, and if the pathetic lackey tries to stop you, spit some LS in his eye, stick a tea cosy over his head and kick him in his tea bags.
Take the photo, nod in as cool a manner possible to the bevvy of swooning ladies, and exit.
I expect to see that outlined in your next instalment.
Aye-aye, ‘o cap’n my cap’n!
I will agree that chamomile doesn’t really act as a sleep aid, but – for me anyway – it does have sedative properties. Ones that I’m VERY susceptible to. Valerian root is too strong for me, chamo’s the second best choice. Although, granted, it does taste like medicine.
Haha! Fun story. I especially like the before-and-after Donald pictures (and the ex-Stash-dude photo irony). Nice one.
And I assure you, I paraphrased the encounter only slightly. I mean, I understand their policy for security reasons. Heck, I would’ve said the same thing had I been in his shoes. But…then again…I’ve been called an a**hole during customer service jobs.
I had a similar encounter occur where I wanted to take photos of the interior of a well-known French tea shop.
Actually, I got off a few shots before being told it wasn’t kosher. Neglected to use them when I blogged about the place, but I’m sure I’ll use them at some point.
I can only assume that they want to avoid industrial espionage, and the policy makes some sort of sense if they’ve put a lot into design that they don’t want copied elsewhere.
That being said, if I were a professional industrial spy, I wouldn’t let such a store’s policy stand in the way.
If this humble teablogger could get away with it, think of the tea shop paparazzi.
Oh, and before I forget, I use paper filters for most black tea all the time. For the reason you mentioned, but here at home as well. If there are no leaves to unfurl, it doesn’t really matter.
Nice post. I liked your before and after Donald cartoons, as well.
Actually, I really like the way you display images on this blog Geoff. It’s always inventive. Quite visually pleasing. Without fail.
I can understand the need to prevent “industry secrets” from getting out, but there’s also something to be said for the personal touch. If it was someone wanting to take a picture of specific merchandise for packaging…then I’d side with leeriness. I did the same thing when I worked at an art gallery. But what about the patron that wanted to take a picture of his brewed tea…or get a touristy photo by the wall of bagged tea? Those should be an exception. Stash must’ve adopted a sense of privacy…given their now-Japanese ownership.
I’m also relieved to hear you adhere to the do-it-yourself baggies as well. I thought you would’ve been one of those to sneer at my unsophisticated use of to-go apparati. *heh*
Thanks for the compliment. I always try to keep the images relevant to the topics.
Well, you know, ever since that whole All the tea in China thing the tea industry has been a little edgy…!
@Peter – Is this a reference to the old adage, or a “Family Guy” textbyte?
Or was there a recent tea conspiracy I hadn’t heard about?
(Sometimes I’m a little behind in the news.)
lol – @lazyliteratus – it wasn’t all that recent, 1841 I think was. East India Company. Robert Fortune. Greatest historical corporate theft ever. Tends to make those tea brokers a little jumpy these days…
Oh, THAT theft. Right. Yeah, definitely current events. *heh* Guess tea vendors are still a little jumpy about that.
“For all the tea in China” by Sarah Rose. Have you read it? I’m sure you know about it.
I know the book and REALLY wanna read it.
A firm “no” or shall we say a “nein” got in the way of taking several tea pics in Germany too. That’s a no-no there it seems. Talking of pics, I really should post some one day!
Ha! I guess Germany is just jittery about state secrets .
I agree with that irony of leaving the Godfather’s tea house with picture firmly captured only to enter the son’s and be firmly refused.
Stash has not captured the wisdom of the master yet…or, perhaps they relinquished it far too long ago…
My guess is relinquishment. While I like their operation, and still have a soft spot for ’em since they helped get me started on the tea path…it’s not my first awkward run-in with them.
Tea swap? Now this is an idea.
And one I’ve adhered to for quite some time.
Lovely post. Darn, I’m not one of those lovely tea ladies, although I do remember you offering something a while back. I somehow never got back to you, mainly because I had to think about what you said. Thinking my friend, you understand – delayed my response. Then after that I couldn’t remember where you posted that offer. It’s hidden in some blog comment somewhere I think.
Anyway, a swap would be fun, though I fear I have the most of what I rarely drink..so flavored teas. All the good ones, Pete and I drink before they have a chance to be shared.
As to your post, I asked @peter if he’d read it and seen the pic and he said “Oh yeah, you mean of Geoff and the Godfather” – of tea of course. I had to chuckle. Brilliant pic. And the Donald, those pics are hard to beat. I love Donald Duck.
Thanks for another entertaining post, may you sleep well tonight! : )
I forget what that was exactly. It might’ve been a sample of the Persian stuff or purple tea. Can’t remember. No worries, there’s plenty of time in the future.
I’m always open to swaps. Do it all the time if I’m financially able to. I’ve made some great discoveries that way.
I’ve been compared to Donald on more than one occasion, so he was pretty much a give for this post. Thanks!
Swaps… This is an idea.
I do it all the time. 🙂