About once or twice a year I drive to Lenox Mall in Atlanta for a little drooling over the racks in Anthropologie and Free People. Part of my little fun day always involves a cup of tea from Teavana for the long ride home back to the ‘burbs.
I know, I know, what’s a coffee junkie doing in a tea shop? All I can say is they have this chai mate blend thingy that transports me to amber leaves falling off trees and all things spicy and comforting. And mate has as much caffeine as you can have in a leaf and still call it tea. It’s almost like it’s coffee’s BFF, like they’re friends, even though coffee secretly knows it’s better. It would never tell mate this, though.
Anyway, I love Teavana enough to swap out my afternoon coffee for tea once or twice a year. The only problem with going there is that the sales team is too good. I think all the top cookie sellers in Girl Scouts end up at Teavana after they graduate and give up their cookie peddling ways. It’s like they’re in some kind of tea cult and they want to suck you in and get you to drink the Kool-Aid…except tea.
The last time I went, I made the mistake of letting my husband go in alone. This is basically what happened:
TeaCultMember: Welcome to Teavana! Would you like to try a sample?
TheHubs: Well sure!
(He takes a sip of heaven’s nectar. He dies a little.)
TeaCultMember: Good? Well let me introduce you to this blossom thingy that opens when you pour hot water over it. It costs $64 per dried flower, but you can reuse it and it will add twenty years to your life and help you hit your upward plank pose like a boss.
(If they get you further into the store, you’re dead.)
TheHubs: Okay! Oooh, blossssommmmm.
TeaCultMember: I know, right? So now I want you to taste this one over here and compare.
(Do not go further into the store. At this point, you’re entangled in their web and I think I see Shelob creeping around the corner.)
TheHubs: Love to.
TeaCultMember: What makes the tea excellent is this teapot made from antioxidant-infused metal, which you absolutely need if you want the tea to work. Do you have this exact teapot at home?
TheHubs: I think my wife has a $10 one from Target.
TeaCultMember: I’m sorry. I just threw up in my mouth. So you’ll be needing the teapot, too.
TheHubs: Well, I don’t want to disappoint you, because you’re really good at your job.
TeaCultMember: Yes I am.
(By now, my husband is at the cash register, where the former Girl Scout cookie Seller of the Year goes over his purchases with the man taking credit cards. Massive shoveling of tea leaves commences.)
TheHubs: Maybe I shouldn’t buy all this–
(CreditCardZenmaster uses the lid on the canister of tea leaves to waft the fragrance directly up his nose.)
TheHubs: I’m sorry. I lost my train of thought.
CreditCardZenmaster: Now, in order to guarantee the freshness of the tea, you must store it in our signature canister. If you don’t, it will be like shredded copy paper by the morning.
TheHubs: Okay, canister me.
CreditCardZenmaster: Excellent choice, sir.
I met up with TheHubs and found him laden with leaves and a confused look on his face. When he told me how much he spent, I almost pooped my pants.
You cannot go into Teavana without a plan. When I went this week, I strode straight past the tasting stations, avoided eye contact, got in line, and ordered my drink. I think my hard core teeth grinding and steely gaze creeped them out a bit.
TeaCultMember: Can I offer you anything els–
Me: No thank you. I’m all set.
CreditCardZenmaster: Heh heh, she knows what she needs.
Me: Damn straight.
On the way home as I took my first sip, I moaned audibly, because it’s just that delicious. It’s probably even worth getting sucked in by the tea cult.
image from en.wikipedia.org