July 30, 2014

Is this really the environment you want served up with your cup-of-JOE?

Have you ever really sat in a Starbucks with your laptop or tablet? Seriously, we have all walked into a Starbucks and gave glaring looks at the insipid college students taking up every piece of real estate studying, chatting, growing roots where you know they’re practically in that spot for life.

I am a Starbuck purveyor at times, but it’s mostly joe on-the-go. Over the past few weeks I’ve actually tried going into a few around greater Boston. Not even in the city, which in the city I have had the somewhat pleasure of sitting in a Starbucks and enjoying my iced-grande coffee in a Venti cup, extra ice, with one pump hazelnut and one pump of vanilla (French vanils is what the flavor turns out to be; since Starbucks is anti-French vanilla). A little bit overrated of an experience that most people have of a Starbucks, but decent nonetheless. The real enjoyment of a coffee house is not at the coffee chains like Starbucks. It’s the individual little coffee shops that we really should be paying attention to and giving our business. 

Sorry, I got off track. I’ll try to shorten this as much as possible. I’ve sat in Starbucks doing, or trying to do, some work. Here’s what you get: 20 degree frigid-cold temperatures, loud music that one would think is not soothing to your coffee sipping, and loud customers chatting about incessant topics you could not give a rats a** about. 

I’ve literally sat in the middle of it all. Even if you try to drown out the conversations, it doesn’t matter, people are on top of you and you’re in their conversation whether you like it or not. Also, the noise coming from behind the counter in barista-ville. LOUD. Banging, dinging, blending, grinding, hissing, yelling out of orders - ouch, my ears. It just adds to the mad noise you will encounter. Don’t get me started with the parents and the screaming kids. Crying, screaming kids in Starbucks? Yes, Starbucks has become the alternative to destination McDonalds. It’s become the Chuck-E-Cheese of the 2010’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But when did children start drinking coffee and tea at 3, 4, 5 years old?

On top of all this, you get “sorry all out” of product at the dairy bar where you sugar, milk, cream, sprinkle your coffee beverage. And, it’s less than tidy. For real. You know this, you've been here and encountered it. It’s a rare occasion that you will come across a nice, clean dairy bar to fix your $4 coffee. 

And since we’re on the subject of tidy, lets talk about the tables? You need a hazmat outfit to clean up the tables. I mean, c’mon Starbucks, step up  your game. I hardly ever see anyone going around actually cleaning or wiping down the tables. These tables at Starbucks need a few good anti-bac sprays throughout the day. I’ve had to almost wallpaper my table with Starbucks napkins just to put my food down, let alone my laptop.

Sighhhhh. . . so as I sit here and try to do work and get some things done in what I thought would be a productive, soothing environment, it is really far from soothing or productive. It’s almost downright irritating. My advice is, enjoy your joe - on the go! If you know what’s good for you. . .

(Yes, I wrote this while sitting in my Assembly Row, Somerville Starbucks, while trying to drown out screaming, crying kids, with louder-than-I-wanted music, while my teeth chattered from the cold. I’m leaving shortly to go outside and warm up!)