Сoffee сhoice

29.06.2023 10 mins to read

Today you decide to visit your favorite coffee shop.

Not the most delicious coffee. Not the newest furniture. There are stains on the floor and ceiling that you don’t even want to think about their origin. Behind the counter is not the most polite barista. But you feel calm here.

Here there are huge heavy doors, with a height of one and a half human heights. To open them, you must really want coffee!

Every time you come in here, your Kits falls silent and seems to look around in surprise.

Do you remember last week when you entered the café across the street? It’s almost directly opposite.

Great coffee.

But there Kits would go crazy, endlessly warning you about attempts to influence decision-making.

In that café there were no doors, but as soon as you stepped over the threshold, the street noise turned off. Technically, it really was turned off, as the café employed noise-cancelling cannons.

As soon as you entered the doorless establishment with noise-cancelling technology, the barista shouted, welcoming you, “Hello, Joey!”

You saw him for the first time in your life. He saw you too. But the camera at the entrance already recognized your face, and another marketing AI startup for corporations found your Facebook profile.

Kits immediately signaled to you, “He addressed you by name. Your relationship has moved into the realm of friendship. Now the likelihood of you leaving him a tip has increased by 15%. The likelihood of you coming back here again has increased by 8%.”

And in front of his eyes was already your psychological profile. Fears and hopes, level of sociability, degree of openness to new experiments. Your Kits is not set to report such obvious things every time.

In your favorite café, nobody ever greets you by name. You don’t even hear any greeting at all. Not even a ”Good day. The barista is too absorbed in their Twitter feed and seems to have not noticed you come in at all.

You have no doubts at all that the cafe came to him through an inheritance, with him being its guardian, not the other way round. 


Following the arrival of Money Shell app a couple of years ago, securing a basic income from automatic stock market investments for anyone willing, you are either doing what you fancy, or what you desperately need to.

The café is empty.

No one but you, the baristas, and his virtual world on his phone. Oh, wait, there’s a fly. Actually, it’s trying to fly away. But seems too weak to open the heavy door.

Unlike the café across the street. There’s always a line. Kits speculated that it creates the FOMO effect – the feeling of potentially missing out on an excellent opportunity. Does it work with coffee too?

When you were there last time, you carefully and slowly examined the menu.

The medium coffee costs twice as much as the large one. The small one is slightly cheaper than the medium. Kits immediately warned that you probably already chose the medium. You confirmed. Kits noted that the cost of the medium coffee in this establishment is 40% higher than in other coffee shops. But because of such a small difference with a small portion and a significant one compared to the price of a large coffee, your brain seemed to think that choosing the medium coffee was a great deal. But it’s not.

“And what then would be more advantageous to choose?” you asked.

“The medium coffee,” Kits replied.

“But you said that it’s a bad deal and the cost of the medium coffee is inflated compared to other establishments,” you exclaimed.

“Yes, but the prices for other categories are even worse, so this is the best option among the worst,” Kits replied in his characteristic straightforward manner.

Needless to say, in your favorite coffee shop, the price for larger volume coffee increases evenly.

“Hey there! It’s been a while since you last visited us, would you like to try our new special?” started the dialogue of the barista from the posh coffee place, when the line finally reached you.

Kits exploded with indignation:

“Firstly, he reproached you for not coming in for a while – purposely to make you feel ashamed. Now, the likelihood of you ordering more than you planned has increased by 60%. Secondly, the special is a stale batch that the supplier sold them at a discount. I see the corresponding ad on Alibaba from last month. Thirdly, the price for this special is 1.5% higher than the regular. It’s stated on the menu, look, there in the corner. But you need to make a decision quickly, and asking how much the special costs is uncomfortable for you because he already shamed you for not coming in often. And fourthly, according to the reviews on Tripadvisor, this batch is far inferior to the classic one.”

And before his eyes, your psychological profile is displayed. Fears and hopes, sociability level, openness to new experiments. But you already know that your Kits isn’t inclined to report such obvious things every time.

In your favorite coffee shop, you approach the counter and the barista tears himself away from Twitter. He smiles awkwardly and looks at you with a slightly confused expression. Suddenly, a spark of recognition ignites in his eyes and he breaks into a genuine smile.

Genuine, because Kits remains silent.

“As usual?” he asks.

Kits continues to stay silent. There was no warning at the entrance that a facial recognition system was in operation, so the barista relied on his own memory. Well, let’s be honest, they probably don’t have the money to invest in AI services.

You smile and nod. They don’t have a speech recognition system, so you have to pay manually. But at least you don’t have to confirm your order aloud.

You won’t be able to stay quiet in the coffee shop across the street. Of course, you ordered the best of the worst – a medium-sized classic Americano, while actively fending off persistent suggestions to add various syrups (“the cost of syrup is 40% of the coffee price,” Kits insisted).

“Anything else with your coffee?” the barista asked, acknowledging defeat in his attempt to upsell syrup, continuing with the script (which, of course, Kits quietly squeaked about).

You really wanted to take that muffin. And all you needed to do was say “Ok” and the money would automatically be deducted from your account.

You even had to pause and pretend to seriously consider his offer in order to fully comprehend what was happening.

“What is a negative calorie muffin?” you asked Kits, knowing that you shouldn’t expect an honest answer from the barista.

“It’s a way to sell you a muffin,” Kits replied. The level of sarcasm was set by yourself. Just a reminder.

“As you probably know, calories are the energy released when a product is burned. In this case, burning has a literal meaning: you take the product and set it on fire. But luckily, no one has been setting food on fire for a long time, and calories can now be calculated automatically using a formula.

So, according to what I found online, a startup appeared a couple of months ago that allows you to automatically, but most importantly, legally calculate calories in such a way that the result is negative.

Since regular ‘positive’ calories have nothing to do with the actual energy you get from consuming food, from the standpoint of regulatory authorities, ‘negative’ calories also don’t affect consumers’ awareness and have been deemed acceptable. And that’s what this startup is taking advantage of. Well, and thousands of its clients.

So, a chocolate muffin with negative calories became 84% more attractive to you compared to a regular chocolate muffin,” Kits lectured.

You declined the muffin and quickly walked away, anticipating your coffee and shutting down any further attempts at upselling.

Your favorite coffee shop doesn’t offer muffins. They simply have nothing except coffee. And baristas. And a fly that can’t find its way out.

While the persistent barista was preparing your coffee, you looked at the photos on the walls: celebrities enjoying this very coffee, in this very cafe.

Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney, the Dalai Lama, Steve Jobs, Neil Armstrong, Bono – either themselves or their relatives once sold their images and now artificial intelligence can generate any images with their participation. In any environment.

“Now you feel like one of them,” Kits explains, “Belonging to something great, something bigger.”

“Oh, it’s just coffee,” you brush it off.

A barista approaches you and, bowing slightly, extends a mint green cup of coffee to you with both hands. You reluctantly accept the cup with both hands as well.

“See this QR code?, the barista points to the bottom of the cup, If you scan it at the Hyperloop turnstile, you can ride for free. 

It sounds incredibly tempting, but there must be a catch, right? You’re already eagerly anticipating what Kits will tell you.

“The nearest Hyperloop station is just 10 minutes away from here, Kits begins to explainBased on the traffic patterns, 80% of the people who exit the station pass by this café. If you carry this vibrant cup all the way to the station, around 300/450 people will see you and your cup. You’ll be a walking advertisement. Even if just one person out of those you encounter comes into the café, the cost of your ride will be compensated.”

“But couldn’t I simply take a photo of this QR code, throw away the cup, and then scan it with my phone at the terminal?” you ask, mostly out of curiosity.

Kits makes a sound that you’d consider a condescending nod.

“Firstly, most people simply won’t bother doing that because it requires extra effort. And your body doesn’t like putting in extra effort without clear benefits. There’s no clear benefit in ceasing to be a walking advertisement. Secondly, the QR code is located at the bottom of the cup. That means it won’t be very convenient for you to photograph it, and most likely, you won’t succeed on the first try anyway. Your brain has already calculated this prospect and the likelihood of it sending you a signal saying, “Take a photo of the code and throw away the damn cup” is much lower.

“You set it up that way yourself,” echoes in your mind.

Hey!” the barista at your favorite café waves and smiles.

“Huh,” you raise an eyebrow.

“Coffee, the barista continues to smile, extending a white cup towards you.

“Oh, thank you very much, you shyly smile and take the coffeeGoodbye! 

The barista simply smiles again, nods, and immerses themselves in Twitter.

They sold you the coffee, you paid for it, which means you’re no longer of interest to them.

You walk towards the Hyperloop station with the white coffee cup, while people pass by with bright green cups and bright green packets with negatively calorie muffins.

“You must feel special, because you’re not like everyone else,” Kits said. “But if you want, I can refrain from telling you such things.”

“No, go on, I’m interested.”

“Okay, in my opinion, you come here not because you like this coffee, but to stand out from everyone else.”

“Yes, probably. But what’s wrong with that if I’m aware of it?”