Starbucks is often much more than a cup of coffee (and I am mildly aware that they offer an ever-changing menu of things I am not interested in except for that occasional desire that strikes with a sudden force that leads to the purchase of a chocolate chip muffin). On this particular day I visited a Starbucks, got my coffee, sat down, and observed.
A woman perhaps in her fifties engaged so thoroughly in a book she had become the most interesting piece of furniture in the room.
A pair of women in their forties who I would have thought were a couple if they hadn’t spent so much time railing against their dumb husbands. (Runners-up in the great world of dumb were their dumb jobs, dumb bosses, dumb neighbors, and dumb – oh we won’t go into that but – dumb politics. Notably missing were dumb kids, but that could either imply a solo spark of anti-dumb in their world, but more likely it just implied a lack of kids.)
The four twenty to thirty something employees chirping with an enthusiasm that one assumes is generally only purchasable by large wages, unhealthy amounts of caffeine, or some foolish game of rising stakes where you can only win by being the very most happiest, energetic, enthused and excited by all things customer-oriented person in the world!!! (Note: there are no winners of this game.)
A man, mid thirties, and his almost or just barely teenage daughter were also present.
I had to wonder, marveling at the technology on display with phones and tablets which were accompanying the conversations despite the fact that some still consider this rude, the clock counting how long since the drive-thru customer ordered will it take to get their order, the polished nature of everything on display that implies that this chain store is a unique chain store unlike any other chain store. But then, listening to the snippets of conversation, the debatably teenaged daughter just called her dad an asshole and he rolled his eyes at her which I think is a nice touch, one of the married women just talked about how her boss doesn’t understand her and how she would never deign to understand him, and flip goes the page on the furniture’s book, and barista one is totally psyched he has a date tonight but he met him sorta like commenting on reddit and is that gross? should I like be worried? but in his pics he’s pretty hot so whatever right? OH hiiiiii welcome to Starbuuuuuucks!
Now the man in his thirties has taken his turn to call his daughter an asshole. The furniture closed her eyes for a long second, then locked eyes with me and I think I could almost hear her screaming.
Has humanity gone too far? Have we already peaked? Is technology just failing forward at this point, new achievements reached, new heights claimed, faster, stronger, better, more hands off and less thinking required just because there are people who don’t know any better. Are we all dead inside, or embracing that inner death one barely acknowledged and half-heartedly attended conversation at a time?
I take another sip of my coffee. It’s pretty good but I might add more sugar.
Coffee: 4/5 stars
Chocolate Chip Muffin: 5/5 stars
Experience: 2/5 stars