How NOT to go to a Tea Shop

So, I finally went to a tea shop.  More specifically, I went to a tea shop at the Galleria.  Even more specifically, I went to a tea shop at the Galleria after helping a friend put up outdoor Halloween decorations.  Also, I spent a lot of time petting my friend’s giant enormous horse of a Great Dane while I was over there. But Scooter is so lovable, what can you do? Plus, he folds one leg up in your lap and kind of sits on you like a chair. I almost got a picture of it but… oh wait… yeah… we were on our way to the Galleria, sorry.

For those of you unaware, a Galleria is like a mall on steroids… or maybe Botox. It is filled with people walking around looking purposefully indifferent in clothes you know must be stylish because they are completely and utterly odd.  Today, there was a girl with cutoff shorts and knee length black boots. I can only assume the boots were Jimmy Couture or Juicy Choo or whatever.

My friend in need of Halloween decorating assistance happens to live near the Galleria.  In the Galleria happens to be a tea shop.  Brilliant plan, right?  So this is how I find myself at the Galleria in the same t-shirt I was wearing to hang some kind of black outdoor Christmas lights from Satan.  Also, my hair is completely windblown and I smell like dog.  While I am in the bathroom trying to fix my hair, I happen to notice there is black glitter all over my face.  However, we had just passed a store selling “hand-made” make-up.  One could only hope the black crap all over my face would pass as stylish.

I’ve been reading tea blogs lately, so I was bound and determined to get to a damn tea shop, even if I had to get through the Galleria smelling like dog to accomplish it.  After going past the Banana Republic, Brookstone, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brighton Collectibles (people collect purses now???), the ice skaters,  and a store completely devoted to selling sweaters for poodles, we finally arrive at Teavana.

As if getting through the Galleria itself wasn’t bad enough, the entryway to Teavana is a total bombardment of the senses. Hippies with long hair and goatees impose tiny cups of sample tea at us left and right, all the while yelling about antioxidants. Undaunted, we push our way into the store.

Inside, sits a very calm looking gentleman who encourages us try the store’s most rare tea, Monkey Picked Oolong. He asks us, in a dramatic voice, “Do you know about the Oolong?” I am so excited, because yes! I have read about Oolong!  I was about to say: “Simply put, green tea is not oxidized and black tea is fully-oxidized. Oolong falls somewhere in the middle between the two. Some Oolong is lightly oxidized, some is allowed to oxidize much more but not fully.”

Okay, fine… I DID just cut and paste that entire speech from Lahikmajoe Drinks Tea

No matter, it turns out the question was rhetorical anyway. Immediately after asking, Oolong man launches right into the spiel about antioxidants. Apparently, we are all dying from lack of tea. Then he shows us a cast iron teapot, the best way to brew the tea. He does mention in the course of demonstrating the cast iron teapot, how the tea got its name because Buddhists trained monkeys to pick the tea leaves.

I tell him that I will not be purchasing a cast iron teapot, but if they have one of those trained monkeys in the back, I would totally buy one of those immediately.  He doesn’t laugh, or offer to bring out a monkey. Now I am uncertain where I stand with the Oolong man. Plus, I don’t even really need a monkey.

Finally, I decide what tea I want to buy. I want to buy caffeinated tea, really caffeinated – with or without antioxidants. I am more worried about how to stay awake right now than how to stay alive.

A guy behind the counter, complete with the requisite goatee and long hair, brings out two rather large bins of tea, wafting the metal lids of each towards us so we can smell the leaves. I desperately want to lean forward slightly, intentionally causing this gentle and soft spoken hippie to hit me in the head with a giant metal tea lid. However, I fight the urge. I am trying to be nice to the tea people. Especially after the monkey comment was such a major fail.

One bucket of tea, White Ayurvedic Chai, has a weird name and 1% the caffeine of coffee. The other bucket of tea, Samurai Chai Mate, is apparently named after Samurais and has 100% the caffeine of coffee. Now THAT is my kind of tea. So I tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy that I want the tea with the caffeine. Long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy says, “But you HAVE to get the 50/50 mix of the two teas or it WON’T taste like the sample.” So I tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy, “I don’t CARE about the sample. I want the tea with caffeine.” Then he starts describing how the caffeine in tea is metabolized and also something about the antioxidants. I think he is just trying to distract me so he can sell me the odd tea later. So I tell him to just give me six ounces of the Caffeine Samurai Tea, thank you very much.

Then he asks if I want the German rock cane sugar crystals. I tell him I do not, in fact, require German rock cane sugar crystals at this time. Then he says, “But you HAVE to get the German rock cane sugar crystals, or it WON’T taste like the sample.”  So I calmly tell long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy to give me my damn antioxidants and my monkey so I can get out of this freak show.

But I didn’t really say that. Actually, I think I said something about how he was way too attached to those samples. The end result was that long-hair-hippy-lid-waving guy looked just as offended as if I had yelled at him about the monkey. The lesson here is to always go with your first instinct, even if it involves yelling to people about Oolong monkeys.

So, long story short, that is how I got my tea…. and my antioxidants. I will be living forever now, all the while writing completely ridiculous and useless blog material about non-existent t-shirts. The hippies should have probably saved the antioxidants for someone else.


About lgalaviz
All of this hardly seems necessary.

18 Responses to How NOT to go to a Tea Shop

  1. Em says:

    I totally wanted to work at one of those stores. I would have found you a monkey, even if you didn't think you needed one. Then we could have fed it rock crystal sugar from Germany. It could then breathe on the tea as it picked it and it would taste damned close to the sample!I'm not over-thinking this, am I?

  2. Em says:

    Also! We could get the monkey a little rhinestone encrusted collar. I don't usually care for rhinestones, but this way, the collar would match the rock sugar. Or!!! Even better! We could design a little collar that LOOKED like it had rhinestones but on closer inspection, was actually a holder for the sugar. They really should have hired me. I think I've proven that.

  3. LucidLotus says:

    No one really *needs* a monkey. But imagine the status, the exclusivity, the tiny hands that can get into crevices and retrieve lost objects. I hadn't been to the Galleria since I was a drug addled teenager eating Monte Cristo sandwiches at Bennigan's and topping it off with a little TJ Cinnamon's while watching broom hockey on the ice rink. I noticed that the parking garages for the Galleria now appear to encompass the three miles surrounding the mall and that the stores have increased exponentially, while still occupying the same physical space.Also, Transco Tower now has a name so boring I don't recall it, but the Water Wall still stands as a reminder of my wasted youth and all the time I spent wasted in front of it. Good times were had by all.

  4. Katrina says:

    Brilliant. Sounds like your tea blog reading has served you well. We seem to be a particularly snarky bunch. (Maybe it's the antioxidants.) Sorry you missed out on the monkey. Maybe he's the one who makes the samples.

  5. LGalaviz says:

    Teavana totally should have hired you, Em. They are killing themselves right now over the lost profits from lack of sugar cane monkey collars. Win for you!

  6. LGalaviz says:

    You know, LucidLotus, I do keep dropping things under the seat of my car. It is almost impossible to get them out from there. I DO need a monkey. Sorry about your wasted youth.

  7. LGalaviz says:

    Katrina… the monkeys make the samples??? I KNEW they were hiding a monkey in the back somewhere.

  8. Gigi says:

    I haven't thought about the Galleria in YEARS! I didn't get to spend my mis-spent youth there though – it was too far across town. But next time I'm in town, I'm totally going to stop in and see if they've hired Em and have begun selling monkeys with their tea.

  9. I have a Galleria just like yours including the Teavana! I've only been in there once and had to beat a hasty retreat since my kids were yelling and disturbing the shop's aura.

  10. agiftoftea says:

    Great post. Glad you survived all the Teavana monkey buisness:-) Hope you enjoyed your tea.

  11. Debihen says:

    I have a friend who's son wanted a monkey and an arcade for his birthday. Maybe he secretly knew something of Tea Picking Monkey profits. A child prodigy no doubt. I think the fishing things out from under the car seats is a brilliant use for a Tea Picking Monkey. He could live on the McDonald's fries that lay in wait between the seats in my car. Which would save me in monkey feed…which, by the way, I have never seen at Petco. As for the antioxidants; I have lived to 51 years of age without worrying too much about those pesky oxidants. To wipe them out now maybe too much of a shock to my system. It would be like taking away my sheepskin slippers; I may be more fashionable without them, but my feet would be yelling "WTF!!". So, let me keep my oxidants…we are quite comfortable together.

  12. Effusive and wonderful! This story brought my back to my own first Teavana experience!I made a recent post on Monkey Picked Oolong, and I'll have a followup on Wednesday!I'll be back for more tea stories!

  13. Anonymous says:

    "I am trying to be nice to the tea people." Is my new mantra! : )

  14. Handflapper says:

    People who take tea that seriously need to find a new hobby. Maybe monkeys. Monkeys is a fascinating hobby. Tea, not so much.

  15. LGalaviz says:

    It is the people who collect Precious Moments dolls you have to look out for. Those individuals cannot be trusted.

  16. Maybe you should have gone for the German crack cocaine sugar. Oh. wait. He said ROCK CANE sugar. Sure changes things.My attempt to be humorous may have been ruined by typos. Dang it!

  17. LGalaviz says:

    You are right, Elizabeth, I should go back there. Will you go with me? I need someone to distract them while I run to the back and free the monkeys.

  18. MsDarkstar says:

    Ok, I have no idea how I missed this post when it first posted. Probably my lack of antioxidants. I've tried to get into the tea drinking habit and have not yet been successful. Clearly I need to travel to The Galleria (where I have been once since I moved to Dallas 2 years ago and that's because there is a LUSH store there). Maybe I need you to go with me to help me wrangle the hippies.

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