Perhaps you saw a recent news story about the caffeine-infused shenanigans at the Grab-N-Go Bikini Hut drive-thru latte stand in Everett. It seems the baristas at the Grab-N-Go, all of whom wear skimpy bikinis on the job and all of whom, as far as we know, are female, had many Everett residents up in arms.
Evidently, these unhappy Everettonians were concerned that allowing baristas to serve coffee while wearing bikinis represented a full frontal assault on the sacred institution of the drive-thru latte stand, and threatened to begin the final socialistic unraveling of the very fabric of American society.
The thinking evidently is that if we allow baristas to serve coffee while clad in swimwear then pretty soon hairstylists, dental technicians and grocery story clerks would all demand the right to ply their trades while wearing comfortable and practical two-piece swimsuits. The whole goose-pimply issue might have blown over with the approach of cooler winter weather – January in Everett not being prime bikini season – had not a new wrinkle developed. After an intensive, exhaustive and painstakingly thorough three-month undercover investigation by the intrepid Everett Police Department, five of Grab-N-Go’s bikini baristas were arrested for prostitution.
A sixth barista was arrested for indecent exposure, her offense being that she apparently was seen standing outside the latte stand “shaking her butt” toward traffic on Highway 99 while wearing pasties and a G-string. (I’m pretty sure that’s not a typo from the police report, but the actual allegation might be that the perpetrator was understandably wearing some pastries and a key ring.)
Before rushing to judgment on the indecent exposure charge, we would all do well to remember the words of Jesus in John 8:7 in which he said, “Let he or she among us who has not shaken his or her booty at traffic outside a latte stand cast the first biscotti,” or words to that effect.
According to the lavishly photographed, high gloss undercover police report, copies of which are available on the Internet at bimbobikinibaristas.com, there was more “‘grabin’ than ‘goin” happening down at the Grab-N-Go. It seems that in addition to wearing their bikinis, the baristas were also willing to not wear their bikinis in exchange for a little extra compensation, and, in Everett at least, providing any sort of sexual act for compensation, such as stripping or getting jiggy with the whip cream dispenser in a drive-thru latte stand, constitutes prostitution.
As a serious coffee journalist, this story hit particularly close to home and raised many troubling questions for me, like why didn’t someone tell me about the Grab-N-Go a long time ago? More importantly, if we have women stripping in our coffee stands, why can’t we get better coffee in our strip clubs? The owner of the Bikini Hut called the charges bogus, and described his baristas as “college girls just trying to make a living,” and I hope he’s right about that.
It’s not yet clear how the criminal case will play out, but several developments are sure to follow. First, Everett police will undoubtedly see a surge in employment applications for the position of undercover cops. Second, Blue Dog Democrats in Congress will resist efforts by Nancy Pelosi to amend all pending health care legislation to specifically cover steam burns, coffee ground abrasions and similar occupational injuries suffered by uninsured bikini-wearing baristas. Third, right-wing conservatives will allege that President Obama is actually the illegitimate offspring of a former Brazilian bikini barista, and is therefore ineligible to be president. Either that or else he is a closet tea drinker, and we all know what that means.
I’ll keep abreast of this story and let you know how it all shakes out. In the meantime, when driving through your favorite latte stand, please keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes forward and everything will be all right.
Tom Tyner of Bainbridge Island writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper. This one comes from his “Classics Files.”