Confessions of a Cult Member This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 7, 2008
My name is Karen, and I am a practicing member of Metairie's own Coffee Cult. My membership in this unknown yet undeniably unique cult began when I was just 16. Previously, I held a job at the local frozen yogurt place, but I applied to the coffee shop when the fro-yo joint was sold and became a sushi restaurant. Although I knew some of the workers at the coffee shop, I had no idea that I would soon be part of their selective Coffee Cult.

Within the first month, I discovered that these people were unnaturally close to each other. Even though this diverse group ranged in age from 15 to 40, they all found time (and by time I mean one to three days a week) to get together and blow their paychecks on dinner, movies, or some other form of entertainment, despite seeing each other every day at work. My first attendance at a secret cult meeting was in July at a local bowling alley. ­Although some members welcomed me, it was some time before I would officially be initiated.

In addition to their extraordinary gatherings, the Coffee Cult has also created some of the most original sayings I've ever heard. “Blatant disregard,” ­“irrelevant,” and “truth bomb” are just a few of the many mottos that almost every Coffee Cult member has uttered at some point. Learning to decipher their strange yet enjoyable language has been both a challenge and an important step in my Coffee Cult initiation. I began to use their odd expressions and once caught myself shouting at an oblivious driver, “BLATANT DISREGARD FOR THE STOP SIGN!” As soon as I started using these sayings in a non-work environment, I knew I could not be far from my long-awaited initiation.

One of the last steps before initiation was learning the orders, habits, and even the nicknames of the regular customers. One white-haired lady always orders a small café-au-lait with medium roast coffee and skim milk; once a day, an athletic middle-aged man dashes in for a large iced royale with “extra whip cream, no top.”

Along with the regulars' orders, I have also made note of the strange habits of our loyal patrons. For example, Mrs. Sylvia loves to inform the counter staff when the bathroom is out of toilet paper, while Mrs. Eloise always studies the menu for a lengthy five minutes, even though she eats here every day.

Finally, and most enjoyably, the Coffee Cult has created affectionate nicknames for its everyday customers. “Freeze with an Extra Shot of Espresso,” “Sketchy Medium Latte,” and “Creepy Dark Roast” are some of the magnificent pet names for the lovely faces we see each day. My skill for picking up on the meticulous habits and orders of regular customers, along with my ability to talk about them with cult members, was the final step that sealed my Coffee Cult membership.

Although there was no formal initiation process, the invitations to dinner with the cult, the lessons I've learned from both my co-workers and customers, and most importantly, the genuine friendships I've made at the coffee shop have been the most rewarding parts of my membership in the Coffee Cult.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 29 comments. Post your own now!

Timothy R. said...
Mar. 2, 2015 at 11:28 am
M8, m8, m8... you don't understand just what a cult is... so hold on. We're gonna sit you down, and give you a stern lecture. First things first... if this is a cult, it either needs to have an extreme fondness for something or someone, or simply have a group of extreme religious values. Unless your "cult" is in love with coffee to the point they would kill over it, which I highly hope they don't, this isn't a cult. Phew, now that's that over with we can be friends again.
hippo said...
May 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm
You arent in a cult sit down son!!
TheOceansBlackBird said...
Mar. 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm
The title is sort of misleading... I thought it was going to be about your dark and mysterious past life as a cult memeber...not coffee. But still, the writing's very clear and it's a fun read. Great job.
theatregirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm
medicore. It was okay, and it could've been better. It wasn't very descriptive and it felt like a quick creative writing story for a language art class not like a teen ink article. Over all, it could be better, but keep working on it.
randumfave said...
Aug. 23, 2012 at 7:28 am
This is great! It made me laugh, even with the misleading title, this is a seriously well written piece and it's full of humor. Keep it up!  
CelestaCuffrig said...
Jul. 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm
First off, I love the light-hearted, yet colourful words you chose for this piece (: It's very good writing and it made me smile... My brother was a part of one of these 'cults' you wrote about and I know exactly what you mean about the special lingo used and the nick-names for customers! Check out my own writing, pretty please? (: And KEEP IT UP.
LongLazyDays55 said...
Jul. 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm
I wondered what this was about. I really like your work. Well done! Congrats on getting published in the magazine! Keep writing! :)
Immortal.Lights said...
Jul. 4, 2012 at 11:10 am
I admit, I was rather mislead by the title. However, I found no disappoint when I began reading the article and found the contents to be quite different from what I expected. This was very well-written and a great blend of funny and sweet with a dash of dark humor.
Kanupriya said...
Jul. 1, 2012 at 5:16 am
it was really good-concise and to-the point....actually ur title Confessions of a CULT member attracted me very strongly...nice trick and very cleverly phrased.... :)
originalityisdeadd said...
Jun. 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm
i love this very much .very well-written, and, against popular opinion, i love the usage of the word cult. very clever.
Kelley D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm
Thanks so much everybody! Didn't mean to offend or mislead anyone, I actually wrote this article about 3 or so years ago when I was still in high school and we literally used to joke and call ourselves a "cult" at work and when we hung out. It is a bit dark, I will admit, but that's just good old New Orleans humor for ya!
mmb77 said...
Jun. 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm
I'm not offended by the title, but I don't think it was a great title. You story was nice and sweet, but the word cult brings dark ideas to everyone's mind. 
mmb77 said...
Jun. 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm
I'm not offended by the title, but I don't think it was a great title. You story was nice and sweet, but the word cult brings dark ideas to everyone's mind. 
silverwolf63 said...
Jun. 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm
I love the comparison to a cult its refreshingly funny. Anybody offended should chill out.
Caleb.Andrews replied...
Jun. 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm
I don't think it's that people are offended; it's just that some teens have gone through rough times with bad friends and gang relationships, so they feel almost defensive about the use of what in their minds is a very strong word. I doubt anyone is really offended per se, just maybe taken aback.
AlaskaFrost This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 24, 2012 at 12:21 am
I actually love how you use the word "cult" - it draws the readers in and it's also kind of cute the way you use it. This is a nice piece and very well-written! :)
ColouredCages said...
Jun. 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm
I agree with Alyssa.N.S, I thought this article would be about and actual cult. Although it did draw me in, I was disappointed to find that the article wasn't about what I thought it would be about. It is an enjoyable read, and my only suggestion is change the title.
Alyssa.N.S. said...
Jun. 21, 2012 at 7:29 am
It's a good article, but the word "cult" gives it the wrong connotation from the beginning.
Caleb.Andrews said...
Jun. 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm
Cult member? Symbolism is one of my favorite tools to use when writing, but there are boundaries. "Cult" is a strong word, especially to some teens.
TMarie42 said...
Jun. 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm
I totally expected this to be about some creepy cult, but I was pleasantly surprised! Very well written. Great work. :)
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