Thursday, February 12, 2009

Coffee Shop Observation

Many of life's decisions are made in a coffee shop, I'm sure of it.

I stopped by Starbucks near my house this morning to get my tall Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte (whatever that is and however you say it I'm not sure, but it is good and decaf-my recent drink of choice) on my way to work. Of course there was a line.

As I stood there I heard someone mention to a passing Starbucks employee, "How do you like your profit sharing here? [he laughs] Starbucks is down so and so amount." Okay, interesting comment, but then I took a look at who was commenting. He sat at the corner table baring his nose in the Wall Street Journal that he held up with both arms spread out to get a full view. The man looked as if he not taken a shower for weeks. His hair was matted, his clothes torn and dark, and he had a battered bag next to his chair. He was homeless coming in from the cold to catch up on the daily news. Interesting.

I ordered my drink and was waiting at the counter for my tea while I observed other costumers. In the other opposite corner by the door were the regulars. It was a bigger table and it usually hosts a lively discussion of politics. The man tightly tucked in the corner was older and my guess is that he is retired. He is there every morning when I come in and he knows everyone who comes in by name. He even knows my name and waved and called out my name when he saw me one time outside of the Starbucks setting. He attracts a crowd. Policeman sit there for a lively discussion, women in there high heels stop by to poke in on the current monologue, construction workers, educators, and all the like are always welcome to pull up their chair and join in the discussion.

I ducked my head low so he wouldn't see me (the man in the corner that is - whom I don't remember his name, but he remembers mine) while I grabbed my drink and dodged out the door.

Now, I made good effort to frequent other local coffee shops, but I find the lines don't move as fast, not always sure how my drink is going to taste (sometime good sometimes not so good), and the prices are higher. So, why keep trying to be a new customer when I am just as happy with my Starbucks coffee and always know what it is going to taste like.

As much as I tried not support them, during this time of survival for them, I have to say, "Hats off to you Coffee Shops." And here is to many more lively discussions about life and politics at the tables of the coffee shops.


  1. It's funny, I don't really drink coffee, but I love to read and hang out with my friends at Starbucks.

    It just feels right! :)

  2. Such a great article Sharon! Our friends own the great greek restaurant and they have the same "Socrates Style" discussions going on there. My husband occasionally goes down to "chat" with the owner at their place.