Dynamightgiveitamiss No.1: A new ‘c’ word

January 4, 2011

“So where do you want to meet?”
“Well, you could come round to the Coffice.”
“The what?”
“The Coffice. It’s a coffee shop.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Well, it’s actually a branch of a coffee shop chain, but I take my laptop to do some work there, so I call it the Coffice.”
“Er, right. So Starbucks at 12, yes?”
“Sounds good. Twelve pm. In my Coffice.”
“In Starbucks, you mean.”
“I prefer to call it the Coffice. Because it’s like an office, but in a coffee shop. You mix the words together and make a new one. It’s creative. You see?”
“Well, yes, I understand the general concept of how portmanteau words come into being, and the English language is endlessly malleable, but there’s really no point in inventing a new term if the end result makes your meaning less precise. If you mean Starbucks, just say ‘Starbucks’. Or if you want to meet in Costa, just say ‘Costa’. ‘Coffice’ could mean anywhere. And it sounds ugly and joyless. Like ‘coffin’.”
“Hmph. That’s just the typical narrow-minded thinking of your average office drone. I’m a Coffice worker, pal. I can work anywhere – well, I say anywhere, but obviously it has to be somewhere with decent wifi access – and I make my own rules. There are millions of us. Just you wait until Chris Ward publishes his book about Coffice working. The guy’s made millions, and he’s mates with Fiona Phillips and Jamie Theakston, and he helped get Tony Blair elected or something.”
“Ah, I see. So you don’t think this guy is overstating the extent of this supposedly huge change in working practices chiefly as a means to sell books? And how would ordinary customers feel if – or when – the place they go to for a quiet coffee becomes a squat for pushy entrepreneurs?”
“Every revolution has its casualties, my friend.”
“About that meeting. On second thought, come round to mine for coffee. I’ve just bought a Nespresso, so we can probably get some work done in the kiffice.”

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