Wake up, get ready, make your way to work, order your coffee, pick up your coffee, start work and so on.
This routine is fairly simply and is what a lot of people do now. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary and easily accepted as part of life.
But let us rewind a bit and go into a bit more detail. Thanks to Starbucks and similar companies, life becomes so much easier and my commute so much smoother as I can order in advance and pick up my coffee having already purchased it via my mobile phone. Yay to apps and ensuring I do not waste time. If I did this every day, after a while surely the staff at Starbucks would start recognising my name and say “he is here again and he has ordered a Flat White again”. Every so often this may be followed by “…he must be hungry as he now wants a bacon roll”. Who doesn’t like bacon?!
So now Starbucks know I like a Flat White and occasionally, I will indulge and treat myself to another item. When you order an item you are telling them more than just what you like to eat. The additional information in that order is:
· Time of order
· Cost of order
· Location of pick up
· No. of calories in order
This is just your barista at that store that know this information. Starbucks as a company, they collate a whole lot more details. Signing up to the app you provide this with address and phone number and all of a sudden, Starbucks know where you have travelled from to get your daily coffee. Hmmmm...
In this world of consent for marketing messages, cookies and targeted advertising, data is key. I am feeding Starbucks and other similar loyalty and member programmes so much information. The worst thing about this, I am doing it willingly. I am the one with a TripAdvisor account telling people about my holidays. I am the one with Google Maps giving reviews about places I have gone. If my work ever saw the times I was not in the office, well…nothing would change but you get my point. And then, what about my perceived loyalty?
Do Starbucks head office tell my usual Starbucks if I go to a different branch? Is that classed as cheating? Do my usual Starbucks even care and what do my local Starbucks think of my antics?
So many questions I ask myself and should I care or should they care? I as the consumer am consuming both their mobile application and their goods. Starbucks as the retailer are providing me a service and are taking my money. Win win for both I would assume. But what if they wanted more…they know so much about me! They know my movements. Are they Big Brother and tracking my movements…I feel scared. Like Terminator and the machines rising, will Starbucks rise and claim us all based on the information they have. Will they oust my secrets as to how I changed from semi-skimmed milk to Soy Milk?
What is your objective Starbucks? What is the end goal? Surely you cannot just want to serve me coffee? The convenience and service you provide have made it way too easy for you to get a hold on me. Your ploy of offering me rewards and a free coffee every 15 purchases has kept me interested for now, but how much longer.
It has just dawned on me. I have been using the Starbucks app for over 2 years now. I even used it on my holiday to New York. Who am I kidding - Game over.
This is 21st century living. We are in a digital age where movement are tracked, preferences are known and relationships pieced together. All of this is done both with and without consent. What are you going to do about it? Me, I embrace it and accept it. Make it work in your favour and make sure you order your coffee in enough time to avoid that awkward wait.
Another year, another amazing show by London Super Comic Convention. Six years now and the fans keep on coming.
LSCC is and has always been about the comic book fans and the show definitely delivers for them. The fans get there super early in order to see their favourite artists and writers and to buy comics and novels.
I was volunteering again this year, from Friday 11am until Sunday 2pm, I was there to assist, Jon, Gary, Sherwin and the rest of the team. We were an army of about 40 volunteers with the sole aim of running a great show.
The convention is for all. Families, comic fans, film buffs, novel enthusiasts, collectors and cosplayers too. All were evident across the three days. The effort made by all was impressive and a sample of outfits can be seen below.
This years venue was at the Business Design Centre. This was a new venue, new time and layout. Set out across three days, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, guests were arriving early doors on the Friday.
Comic Fans are passionate and loyal. They are also hardcore and determined. The fans would queue up way before start time to see their heroes.
One of the main heroes was Brian Michel Bendis. This guy was the creator of the Marvel Ultimate Universe. The queues to see Mr Bendis were well over two hours long. The fans were willing and happy to wait. Dedication. They were very lucky as Mr Bendis happily dedicated extra time to see many fans and sign as many books as possible.
Another great convention. Thank you all the volunteers, artists, exhibitors and most importantly you- The Fans. See you Soon!
Pubs do Thai Food. This is not news.
I am sure we have all been to a pub for a drink and some food and have been pleasantly surprised that they serve Thai food instead of the usual pub grub. You feel like you are cheating the system and treated to a dining surprise.
Unfortunately, there have been a few of these pubs now that have closed near me. So I was happy to be told of a new place called The Meeting, even closer to where I live
"The Meeting brings you the very best of Thai hospitality and cuisine right at your door step. We are using traditional family recipes and fresh ingredients to produce authentic Thai food. With the combination of excellent food, A welcoming ambience, contemporary décor and fast friendly service.
Sample the finest in The Meeting from our menu, prepared by our exclusive chef and his dedicated team. From mouth watering appetizers, tom yum soup, classic thai curries, exotic seafood dishes, lamb massaman, pad thai noodle favourites, to our chef’s specialties. All freshly prepared from the finest ingredients."
This visit to Enfield was borne out of boredom. We were out an about as a family and our friends were bored at home. What happens when you are bored at home? You eat. What happens when you are too bored to cook? You go out and eat.
So off we went for a meeting with friends at The Meeting. Thai food for me is all about sharing. Sharing dishes such as Pad Thai, Red Curry and more are some of the food we went for.
We also had:
The table was full for both starters and main courses. Each dish was eaten, pecked at and scavenged over (in a polite). As hungry and delicious as the food was, there was a lot of it. And because of this, the lucky Kapil got to take the leftovers home with him.
The food was very tasty, with the main courses shining and delighting our taste buds. The spice levels were good with the occasional chilli threatening to blow my head off.
I will need to go back and try to enjoy the food without a 10 week old baby. I'm not complaining but you don't get to eat properly with a newborn.
For four people it was reasonably priced. this was at about £25 per head. Based on food quality, portion sizes and venue, I would say this is fair.
As a starter in Enfield, i am pleased with the food so far. Hopefully the next few restaurants in Enfield Town continue to match the quality shown by The Meeting.
GOOD TIMES: Paed Makam- tasty duck with the a nice sauce
WATCH OUT: Quite a loud restaurant for a new born- many distractions
OMG: Good food with friends
The big event is one week away and for the third year running I will be volunteering. Previous years I have helped the exhibitors, artists alley and general set up.
Why have I helped out and why you should BOOK YOUR TICKETS: MANY REASONS:
Those are just a few reasons. So if you haven't bought your tickets yet, please do. Three days of fun in North London. Free for children under 4, Burger offers from MEATLiquorN1 and a club night at the o2 Academy.
Book your ticket and join the fun over Bank Holiday Weekend.
Although I like my meat, good food is the priority. If that means no burgers, or lots of burgers; it is all about quality.
For this edition of Life of Shayan, I was recommended a Fried Vegan burger by the team from Temple of Sietan. At the time, the thought excited me and did not faze me. I mean, why should it, I have had veggie burgers before. The only difference this time, was that this was fully vegan.
What is Seitan? Well according to the Spruce it is:
"Although it is made from wheat, seitan has little in common with flour or bread. Also called “wheat meat”, "wheat protein", “wheat gluten” or simply “gluten”, seitan becomes surprisingly similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked, making it a popular meat substitute."
To be honest I didn't really care, what it was. I just wanted good food.
Previous Veggie burgers I have had before have been mixed. Sometimes I feel they try to overcompensate for the lack of meat and pack way too much in.
The best veggie burger I have had to date is Shake Shacks Shroom burger. A fried mushroom which has cheese in it. Oh Yes!
So let's get straight to the verdict and you can see how I feel with my video below. ENJOY
GOOD TIMES: It is Vegan, packed full of Protein and popular in trendy East London
WATCH OUT: Lacks real depth to the flavour. Needs a bit more to it
OMG: It is Vegan. NUFF SAID