Remember that contest I entered? Well I didn’t win. Not even an honourable mention. But I’m ok with that. Mostly because now I can post it here.
An Open Letter to an Old Friend
Dear Mr. Starbucks,
I’m not one to complain. It’s just my nature to let things slide, forgive and forget, look the other way. When, of course, there is another way to look. Truth is, I’m an easy-going kind of gal who just needs a grande, nonfat, no foam, extra hot, one shot (perhaps with a pump of vanilla) latte each day right around 2:00 pm to stay that way. I don’t even grimace when waiting in line to plunk down the 4 bucks and change for my afternoon indulgence. And all I have ever asked in return from you is a comfy chair on which I can rest my larger than I ever remember, middle-aged, or so, behind. Which brings me to the reason for this letter. Mr. Starbucks, what exactly were you thinking?
Don’t get me wrong. I was excited to learn that you were embarking on a revamp of my neighborhood haunt. It was going to take a month. So what? Who’s Mother hasn’t told them good things come to those who wait? Besides, that month gave me more time to dream. Soon enough I’ll be nestled in a brand new overstuffed, cocoon-like, leather chair, adjacent to a cozy, glowing fireplace, whiling away the afternoon sipping on that perfectly made latte, reading the latest offering of my favourite author, sharing philosophical banter with one of my many Starbucks’ friends. Perhaps a short snooze if the time is right.
It’s hard for me to explain the feeling of anticipation as I watched the brown paper that had covered the windows for what seemed like an eternity (you really should revisit your definition of “coming soon”) slowly peeled off to reveal the fruits of your labourers. Stepping over the threshold, my eyes quickly traveled from one corner of the room to another, and then yet another. Wait. There’s no fireplace. No comfy chairs. Hardly any chairs at all. As you can imagine, I was overcome with dismay. This renovation is for someone else. Someone, I suspect, with a much tighter behind than mine; one that has no trouble settling into the miniature wooden structure I’m supposed to believe is a bar stool. Someone whose body is still supple enough to duck under the long, sterile looking table to plug in an electronic device that becomes her conversational partner for the remainder of the afternoon. Someone who is definitely not me.
I get it Mr. S. Time does not stand still. There’s a younger generation primed and ready to fill my chair. But just for the meantime, while I’m still around, would it kill you to make that chair just a little more comfy?
Ah yes, I feel your pain and disappointment. I have fond memories of the really old days of coffee houses, before wi-fi, or laptops or cellphones or students studying. Sitting on comfy armchairs, or old sofas one step away from Goodwill (or the sidewalk) Drinks and conversation were pleasant, regardless of political views etc. I remember sinking into an old sofa in a place on Sunset Blvd drinking lots of coffee and discussing the creation of a new religion (ala L. Ron Hubbard, without the weirdness). One of the pieces of furniture was a large wooden chest with many small drawers which had held the book cards in an old library. The place is gone of course. Replaced at first by a Starbucks with sofas, upholstered chairs as you described, and actual carpet on the floor. First the carpet and sofas went, then the chairs (although there is a SBux in Laguna Hills with upholstered chairs). Tables got smaller, chairs became more uncomfortable.
You are correct-time does not stand still. And the new generation is primed to fill our chairs, but I think Mr. S is at fault for not allowing the new folks a choice. They miss pleasure of sitting in soft chairs because Mr. S is calling the shots, not the customers.
While we’re at it, how ’bout turning down that music just a tad and maybe putting some little pads on the feet of the hard, wooden chairs so they don’t deafen us as they scrape along the floor each and every time someone moves. Hmmm… So why is it we still go there?
[…] Mr. Starbucks. Remember me? I’m the one who wrote you a while back about the not so great renovation you did at our local cafe. That’s right. The one […]