Café Trash

Many mornings I get a newspaper and pop out to the local cafe for a coffee and a croissant. One thing you'd notice when visiting Madrid is the profusion of debris on the floor of any coffee shop (or bar).

Sugar packets, toothpicks, cigarette butts, olive pits, serviettes… whatever.

It's messy, traditional and let's face it - it's harmless. This habit is less evident in other parts of Spain (the coast regions) but here in the center of the country people throw their trash on the floor. The procedure is: order a coffee, rip open the sugar, dump sugar into coffee, dump empty package on floor.
You can observe this same behaviour by everyone from the humble day labourer taking a break from the construction site next door to to the suited-up lawyer chatting on two mobile phones at once.

I'm sure it's not a fault of manners. My speculation is that "back in the day" when labor was cheap that it was more or less expected that there would be somebody around to perpetually be cleaning the floor while the bar was open. And, since the floor's usually ceramic tile, the trash doesn't have much impact at all (except visual); and it does have the advantage of keeping the surface of bar itself nice and tidy and clean.

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