Friday, April 13, 2007


I don't hate Starbuck's with the rabidity of some. Sure they overroast their coffee. Sure they put a number of cooler coffeehouses on warning if not out of business. Sure they're destroying the planet by not shade-growing their coffee. But when I travel, particularly in NYC--they always provided: 1)clean, unlocked bathrooms. 2) a coffee lingo I could learn and repeat "Tall," "skinny," "with room" etc. and 3) OK, I can't think of a third.

I went there today to try to finish this long poem (in Terza Rima!) and first asked for a cup of Fair Trade coffee since my poem is about the end of the world (as usual). They didn't have any brewed but they'd make me a French Pressed cup. Yeah! But then they asked me what size and it seemed like all of western civilization took a nose dive when I said "tall." They said Large, I said Venti and I realized I was no longer in Starbuck land.

I tried to log on to the internets. They were closed. Or rather, a T Mobile Hot Spot connection was available for the low low price of $9.99. For a day pass.

Still, my very very Grande Fair Trade French Pressed coffee was freaking amazing and the only thing to have gotten rid of my three-day old headache. But it was GIGANTIC (large, Venti, whatever). So, I went to the bathroom. What did I find there, insult among insults? A locked bathroom and a sign that said please to ask for key. A key? For a Starbuck's bathroom? Is it worth it then, to humilate oneself for the Starbucks-going rather than the cool coffeehouse because it's non-smoking and has comfy chairs, for them to destroy rainforests to grow coffeebeans, traded unfairly, to pay them for the internet even though I didn't really end up having to since 4 businesses around had open access wireless accounts if they're not going to leave the bathrooms open for everyone!

Democracy is over if we have to pee with a key (see how I've got the rhyming for the Terza Rima in my head?)


Valerie said...

The Starbucks I go to here for my post workout treat latte at 6am... is filled with haiting people that work there. They HATE and they are MEAN. Even when I order my grande quad shot sugar free vanilla skinny latte. It's nearly a $5 cup of joe. No smiles.


Emma Jane said...

I hear you on the end-of-democracy. Oh man. You know, it's just humilating to have to do anything that signals to strangers the fact that excretion is necessary. Even if you can just grab the key off a hook, it's still a public action.

But my luck with finding bathrooms, let alone open access, at urban Starbucks, on both coasts, has been only moderate. Especially the ones that are shoehorned into lobbies of buildings with other purposes... it's not like a Starbucks is a bad thing to find when you gotta go, but it's not a sure haven either.

Lisa B. said...

May I just say, on the point of bathrooms, I hate, and I'm using the word HATE, bathrooms that make you PAY to open the f***ing stall. When we were in Santa Barbara, all the public bathrooms were this way. Boo to that, I say. And also boo for having to pay for wireless in public or semi-public places. Boo.

Dr. Write said...

Yeah for "pee with a key"! I can't wait to read the poem.
And for Starbucks. Well. I haven't had a decent cup of coffee there for ages. And also I think I'm only drinking Americanos from here on out. MB and I walked the dog to our neighborhood coffee shop where they give out dog biscuits.
Long live the neighborhood coffee shops!
(and unlocked bathrooms, we're hoping!)

P said...

I have been waiting to post for awhile because I absolutely LOVE starbucks. I know I know, it did kill the little coffee shop, and it is always like a big mac, always the same. I even have a special text code *$ when I'm going somehwere and stopping there first. There is a drive thru *$ on my way to work, and one in my campus library. Can't wait to open one in my teacher lounge. Couldn't handle teaching all day and grad schooling all night without my triple grande nonfat vanilla latte. And my BFF Big Daddy always orders a Venti Java Chip Peppermint Frappacino, it's like SO gay and expensive. OK hanging out there is out of the question. Panera has free internet.

middlebrow said...

Possible rhymes for a terza rima poem about Starbucks.

1. starbucks -- what the fuck?
2. ordered a tall -- cast a pall, or: after the fall (very poetic)
3. maple nut scone -- oh so alone!

First two stanzas

In the middle of life's journey I found a place,
A Starbucks, and ordered a fresh cup of coffee, a tall.
Why was I there? And what green- aproned demons might I face?

These questions couldn't cast a pall
Over the honest smell of yukon blend.
At least I wasn't at the mall.

That's just to help you out otterbut.