I spent all day just sitting at Starbucks

I spent all day just sitting at Starbucks

apparently there's an #overheardatstarbucks twitter page and they retweeeted me. am I famous now? #random http://t.co/M3FWgqZC

03 Haziran 2018 - 02:00

After spending eight hours sitting inside a Starbucks, I still can say I haven’t tasted the chain’s coffee. Or its croissants. Or even its water.

The mega coffee brand recently changed its policies so that almost anyone can hang out in the store or use its bathroom without buying a thing. The change, along with anti-bias training for all employees this week, was in response to the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend inside a Philadelphia Starbucks.

I am a 6-foot-3, 245-pound black man in my early 30s -- not unlike Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two 23-year-olds arrested and released in April in an incident that led to a firestorm of controversy. 

So, a day after more than 8,000 Starbucks locations across the country closed for training, I went to the location in Woodbridge to conduct an experiment: Would they really let me walk in, use their bathrooms and sit at their tables free of charge?

I would keep to myself and not do anything against store policy, which bans things like taking a nap. I was going to act like the two gentlemen did that day and see what happened.

9:04 a.m. — I arrive at the Starbucks in a small strip mall. I walk out of the humid, gray weather and into the air-conditioned building, and am immediately hit with the smell of coffee. I find a table near the bakery section, plug in my laptop and prepare to work on some long-term stories. The post-rush-hour crowd still means a decent amount of people are in the restaurant, so the fact I find a table is like owning prime real estate.

9:27 a.m. — As the baristas make their patrons’ orders, there is the constant barrage of blenders that sounds like a carpenter working on his latest craft. Mental note: Next time I'm looking for a quiet place for a company conference call, don't come here.

10:39 a.m. — After downing a 20-ounce Red Bull earlier in the morning, this is the first test. I go to the bathroom. I come back and sit down in my seat, happy no one has taken my stuff or commandeered the chair I was sitting in. No one says anything.


10:42 a.m. — Starbucks brings two strangers together. Well, with the help of cartoon cutie Hello Kitty.

After ordering, a patron is drawn to the bright red Hello Kitty jacket of a customer seated in the coffee shop, and immediately compliments it.

"Thanks, I love 'Hello Kitty,'" the customer replies. And adds -- "When people ask me when I will give it up, I say never." 

I realize this would be the perfect opportunity to create a Twitter account and call it "Overheard at Starbucks," modeled after "Overheard in the Newsroom."

10:44 a.m. — After searching Twitter, my dreams of creating Overheard at Starbucks are dashed. It already exists.

apparently there's an #overheardatstarbucks twitter page and they retweeeted me. am I famous now? #random http://t.co/M3FWgqZC

-- melissa beldon (@melissa_beldon) October 10, 2012

10:58 a.m. — A few tables from where I sit, two people are having a loud conversation about the social following they have accrued at their business.

"I have over 2,000 connections on LinkedIn and 2,000 likes on the Facebook page," the customer continues.

I have 3,109 followers on Twitter. #Winning.

11:16 a.m. — I can't concentrate on my work because the conversation a couple of tables down is so loud and proceeding at a torrid pace. Perfect time to walk out to my car and stretch my legs. A couple of employees see me when I walk back in, and they flash quick smiles.



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