Bikini Baristas Stir Up aTempest in a Coffee Cup

May 07, 2011

With summer and warmer weather approaching, a coffee lover's mind turns to thoughts of……bikini baristas? Well, at least that’s the message being given by some state's controversies over the attire of female baristas at coffee stands. The custom is cropping up in several states: female baristas are trying to outdo the competition by wearing less. Some have minimized their costumes to a couple of pasties, but that was stopped. There IS a boundary after all. Now the red line is the bikini, the result of the trend started a few years ago when female baristas started wearing low cut tight fitting sweaters and tee-shirts to presumably attract more customers. This must have lost its appeal, as the ladies seem to think they need to reveal more. According to a Kitsap county paper, the issues involve both the appropriateness of scantily clad women working in a largely outdoor and public shop, the legalities of legislation restricting the clothes - or lack thereof, and the optimum use of law officer time spent investigating and handing out citations. Some citizens are concerned small children will be exposed to the scantily clad women, while others feel it’s no different from what they see on any beach. The writer asks the logical question: why is it okay to wear very little in one setting and not another? Depending on one’s feelings as to what is appropriate to reveal in any setting, there will be different answers to that question. The other aspect is what the trend toward using sex to sell a product like coffee reveals about our society. We know sex is used to sell every kind of product, through subliminal images to blatant offensive images. Although there may be many potential customers - mainly women – who will avoid the bikini baristas in search of more modest coffee servers, money and sales figures talk. In a perfect world, many of us presumably would prefer that everyone picked their coffees by the quality of the cup, rather than the size of cups. Hopefully this tempest in a coffee cup will soon wear itself out. If there has to be competition, at least through the latte art medium, baristas could vie for customers based on their creative artistic way with coffee rather than their looks.



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