I Visit a Starbucks


Wall o' Text — cliff notes in bold.


After reading (and responding to) a forum post about someone considering a career move to becoming a manager of a Starbucks location, I went to my local Starbucks. Reading the thread planted the word Starbucks in my head just like the jingle of a pop song. And since I got one of those Starbucks debit cards as a Christmas gift, it wasn't going to cost me anything. Off I go, then.

It really is just sort of a different take on the People of Walmart, but instead of trailer-park trash you get self-entitled douches and... no... pretty much just self-entitled douches. I'm not a Starbucks regular but I went in with some preconceived notions. The funny thing about stereotypes is when they are based on reality...

My experience starts in the parking lot. Every space stuffed with new full-size SUVs — even the compact spots. I can't see how the soccer moms can squeeze out the doors of their hell-spawn-haulers. And of course, it's one person per each 8-passenger SUV. As I'm walking toward the door there are two instances where a monst4r-truck backing out of a compact space gets honked at by another hell-spawn-hauler homing in on final approach. I assume the reason for the intolerance runs something like this: "You've already had your coffee!!! Get out of my way so I can get mine!!"

As I enter I immediately am in "the line;" their "computers are down" so they have to take and process orders manually eek! The effect of this catastrophe is that it now takes 4 minutes to process 1 30-second order for a cup of simple coffee. Of course it should be a 5-second order, but the more self-conscious of the customers need to make sure they are using the correct size-naming protocol. It would have only taken 2.5 minutes for each order, but the staff needed to explain to each and every customer that "our computers are down so please excuse the wait," only drawn out into a lengthy treatise on society's dependence on technology.

So I have time to look around.

happy banana

The particular douche directly in front of me in line has on a SUBARU jacket and is wearing a black-on-black flat-biller Anaheim Angels cap... backwards. I score that a 1, 2, pass, 3-pointer!

Every table, easy-chair and sofa is filled. There is an spider-web obstacle course of laptop wall-warts and power cables crisscrossing the floor, connecting every wall to a combination of iPhones, Androids, netbooks and the ubiquitous 37" MacBook Pros.

Four separate "business" meetings, but the principals are in white short-sleeve business shirts with dark ties so I have to assume they are either Mormon missionaries or K-Mart managers.

At least half a dozen ex college students who just can't seem to let go of "the life." Of course they are alone, many of them tethered to the wall via their mobile device. The rest are all reading well-worn copies of Henry Miller's Nexus.

An equal number of soccer moms with their BFFs of the week obediently listening to them pontificate on any number of subjects centering around their being forced to participate in life as normal humans instead of the entitled, unique, self-important bitches they perceive themselves to be. These poor tired old gals are desperately trying for the MILF look but instead are just more middle-class dumplings that have tortured their beleaguered husbands into buying that new battle-cruiser hard-parked across two compact spaces outside.

A handful of what appear to be car salesmen (dark colored business shirts with matching ties, slicked-back, greased-up hair) gazing off into infinity as they babble to their Bluetooth earwigs.

Two or three homeless/beggars: "Can you spare some change?"

Half a dozen foreigners of indeterminate origin (Mexican? Middle-Eastern?) dressed funny, unshaven.

What appears to be 1 or 2 normal humans.

So I finally order my 20-ounce coffee (my particular Starbucks affectation is to never say "grawn-day" or "ven-tee" but instead refer to the actual size I want.) Of course the order-monkey corrects me: "Ven-tee." I eventually receive my order and go outside to sit at a table in the sun while sipping my coffee and eating my bagel.

At the other tables are what appears to be a homeless couple, dressed in 30 layers of what they slept in, sharing a cigarette and nibbling on some Twinkies not bought at Starbucks. Next, a pair of female dumplings discussing their horrible-sounding job at some religious ministry with multiple locations. There are frequent references to "central" which apparently has no clue as to what is happening out in the trenches of branch-ministry admin. It sounded like they were having some sort of supervisor/supervisee conference which should have taken 3 minutes but because they were both lonely dumplings they couldn't stay on topic for more than 8 seconds at a time, wandering off on various topics like how they really liked that you could bring food and coffee into church but how the parishioners would then just drop the empties onto the floor ("like in a movie theater" <gasp!>) and how could they discourage that or encourage responsibility for proper trash disposal? I paid close attention as I got some good pointers on how to up my politically correct passive/aggressive game. Then more gossip, insider info, criticism of coworkers and ministers, etc.

A raggedy guy in a wheelchair rolling up to each table, "Got any change?"

And of course the Russian who, like the car salesmen, is babbling (extra loud, of course, because he's Russian and wants to make sure you know he's not from around here) into his earwig but instead of staring blankly into space is glaring angrily at the world in general.

As I was leaving of course I got honked at by another entitled patron in a hurry to park their land-yacht and get inside.

There are 6 Starbucks within 1 mile of my home.