Posts Tagged 'starbucks'

Bullet Thoughts // 11.29.08

I’m convinced that I must stutter.  That or Miami-based Starbucks are just not used to making ‘hot’ coffee drinks that they’ve gotten my order wrong at multiple locations (the only exception being that at Miami-Dade International Airport).  ‘No room’– which, to those of you who are unfamiliar with Starbucks speech, means to not allow any space for cream– seems an alien concept to the Floridians, who are no doubt more accustomed to iced versions of their more popular beverages.  I think, however, that what was actually happening this weekend was that the ‘regular’ staff must’ve had the Thanksgiving holiday off, which, therefore, meant that the area Starbucks locations were manned with relief or (even more alarming) ‘temp’ employees.  Tis the holiday season.  But, at least, at Starbucks, you won’t end up getting trampled on by caffeine addicts.  One couldn’t say the same about the poor Wal-Mart employee in New York state who lost his life because some shoppers were obssessed with the floating smiley face.  Poor bastard…

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I realized that it would be impossible for me to wear a confident face whilst running on the sandy beaches of Miami.  I must’ve looked quite pathetic this morning, in particular, while I attempted to run even one mile.  The shoes I wore were definitely not meant for sand-running.  Ever step sank in the soft sand.  I realize that I probably should’ve been running closer to the water, where the sand was a bit more firm.  So, I took my shoes off and proceeded to run as if I was taping a Baywatch commercial.  At best, I probably looked like David Hasselhoff‘s retarded Asian brother.  This is not to say that David himself isn’t retarded.  I’m sorry; I’m being insensitive.  I meant to say ‘mentally challenged’…

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One thing about Miami, nay– South Beach, in particular– is that people live to look good.  The women are like models, wearing the typical tropical attire: tight, tight, and tight.  Oh, and tight.  And the men (most of whom are undoubtedly flying the rainbow flag) appear as though they spend half their days inside the gym.  Another thing about Miami, however, is the prevalence of the walking cane crowd, the elderly from the northeast who have decided that they enjoy eternal sunshine for their spotless minds.  And they’re incredibly/maniacally active, often seen walking or running as only Florida’s weather can allow.  I say “Good for you, Grandma or Grandpa!  Now, if you don’t mind, get the hell out of my way…”

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The Vanishing Shops

Vanishing Myth

Vanishing Identity?

A month ago, I could walk to any one of three Starbucks coffee shops within a 10-block radius of my house. Now, there is only one; the other two, just blank facades that still bore faint traces of the all-too-familiar logo.  This is part of the Seattle-based company’s decision to close 5% of its US Stores to help “boost the bottom line and its stock price.”

In a city like Portland, these closures will not likely be any hardship at all, what with the ubiquity of coffee shops from a variety of roasters seeming to mirror that of microbreweries.  But the two-tailed mermaid has been such a part of the Pacific Northwest’s identity that their disappearance — gradual or otherwise — would be felt.  One used to be able to say that, in the Pacific Northwest, there was a Starbucks “on every corner.”  That would not be true these days; at least, not in my neighborhood.

I enjoy other roasts — Stumptown, being another one I enjoy most — but Starbucks has been such a part of my own identity.  There was a time when you wouldn’t see me walking into work without a Starbucks cup in hand.  It became such a routine for me.  And even when I lived in PR, where the nearest Starbucks coffee shop was a twenty-minute walk from my condo, nothing would stop me from imbibing those tasty drinks.  (And, in PR, the drinks were “iced,” of course.)

Alas, there is nothing I can do with these changing times except to adapt.  At least there is still this one Starbucks location near my place that is very accessible.  And, since its location allows for mucho traffic, I don’t see them closing it any time soon.

Awkward Greetings Loop

I’m at a Starbucks when I witnessed this awkward greetings loop (or AGL, for short) between a female barista and a man whom it was clear she wasn’t too excited to see:

Man: “Hey!”

Barista: “Oh, hey…”

Man: “How are you?”

Barista: “Fine. Yourself?”

Man: “Doing good. You?”

Barista: “Uh, fine…”

I know that AGL’s are not uncommon.  Heck, I find myself in one all the time when my poor memory kicks in and I inadvertently inquire about a person’s well-being twice during the greeting (such as above).  And it shouldn’t be that awkward, but somehow it is.

The Watchtower and Metro-Fi

I’m sitting outside a cafe (*cough* Starbucks *cough*) at Pioneer Square. Some kind of event is happening downtown today, so there are canopies and booths and whatnot strewn across the amphitheater. A live band is playing. They’re singing worship rock and sound pretty good. Anyway, Pioneer Square is one of the hotspots for MetroFi, downtown’s free wireless Internet access. I tried to access it, and it made me download “MSN SiteGuide” before I could access the free service. Ordinarily, I would scoff at yet another attempt by Bill Gates to insist that his shit is the shit, and say, “Ah, forget it!” and walk away. But, alas, I desperately needed to get online right then because I was in a blogging mood, so I allowed his viral software to enter my trusted laptop. As I’m sitting there surfing the web after downloading the damn application, a man in a gray suit came up to me and asked, “Do you want to read some good news?” I replied positively and he handed me a leaflet entitled “The Watchtower: Announcing JeHoVaH’s Kingdom” with a subtitle “A Meaningful Life Is Possible.” The man didn’t look like a Jehovah’s Witness, that’s for sure. I imagined them traipsing around in orange robes handing out daisies. Wait, I think those are Hare Krishnas.


Something For Nothing

Hi, I’m Jon. And I’m a wi-fi leech. (Hi, Jon!) I sit at a coffee shop or restaurant and tap into a wi-fi service that may or may not be offered by that very establishment. Case in point, I’m presently at a Starbucks, which does not offer free wi-fi,* and am blogging by piggybacking on an “open network” offered by a neighboring business (in this case, the McMenamins across the street). I feel like I’m stealing from that business by using their wi-fi service while patronizing the services of another. Such is the current state of affairs in the world, my friends. Do I feel remorse? Of course, I do. Stealing is never a good thing, kids. Just ask Sam Peterson from Michigan. Will I stop doing this? Heck to the no, homeslice! Wi-fi service should be free, dammit. Charging for wi-fi in public areas is so five years ago, and Starbucks really needs to jump on the bandwagon.* I mean, all Stumptown coffee shops offer free wi-fi; hundreds of independent coffee shops (which, incidentally, serve delicious Stumptown coffees) in the city also do. C’mon, Starbucks! Offer free wi-fi, dammit, and without any strings!* I think you’ll find yourself closer to re-establishing yourself as more than just another corporate giant by doing these little things. Please, truly listen to your consumer this time. We don’t need you to conjure another multisyllabic beverage; we need you to offer free wi-fi. Dammit.

* To be fair, Starbucks now offers “free” wi-fi, but, as with everything Starbucks, there are strings attached. They’re such a joke! (I type this as I take a sip from my decaf-venti-with room-Americano.)