Who Are These People In Starbucks?

Why didn’t y’all tell me about all the douchebags in Starbucks? It’s been about 8 weeks since I became a Starbucks regular (because I am an official WRITER), but every time, I ask myself why I ended up at the table next to the most distracting and mal-adjusted people in Chicago.

Seriously, every single time.

Here’s a brief recap of some of my favorite Starbucks characters from this week alone:

  1. Job interviews:  My favorite was when I sat next to a young woman trying to get a job as a pharmaceutical rep.  Don’t these fancy, BIG PHARM companies have offices? Why are they ruining my latte with their screening interviews?  The best part of the interview was when the interviewers (the blondest females I have ever seen, and I’m from Texas!!!) were wrapping up the meeting.  The older blonde with the fancy laminated badge asked, “Do you have any other questions for us?”  The young lady in her freshly pressed Ann Taylor suit did indeed have a question: “Where is a good place for waxing around here? She was totally serious, and I bet you good money she’s totally still unemployed.
  2. Homeless guy with raggedy yoga mat and movie recommendations: In another place and another time, it would be utterly flattering that a man calling himself “Mr. Eric Johnson” seems to be in love with me.  But, as a married woman, I am less enamored with the prospect of a residentially-challenged  man “coming on to me” while I am trying to grade student papers.  The old yoga mat is a nice touch, and every week he gives me move recommendations, all of which are “very fascist,” he tells me.  It’s the best when he sticks his hand out for me to shake it, and of course I do, but then I spend the next thirty minutes wondering when I can pull out hand sanitizer without looking like a total asshole.
  3. Plaintiff’s lawyer interviewing potential witness: It sure was fun to sit next to a plaintiff’s lawyer interviewing witnesses to see if any of them (like the plaintiff who is awaiting more surgery) had ever been burned by the office coffee machine.  I heard “third degree burns” and “skin graft” enough times to know that if I ever work in an office again, I am never going to offer to get coffee for anyone. Also, shouldn’t lawyers be in a private setting when interviewing witnesses?  Is confidentiality no longer a thing?
  4. Nanny interview: There’s lot of conversations I like overhearing, but a nanny interview is not on my top 100 list.  Especially not an interview where the mom spends more than half the interview trying to prove what a genius her 10-month-old daughter is. I always take Angel to the zoo in the UppaBaby stroller.  She loves the flamingos, but not because they are pink– because she is a genius.  The highlight of eavesdropping on this interview was when the nannidate* (I totally just made that word up and it’s fucking brilliant) asked, “Why did your other nanny leave?”  The mom mumbled something about the former nanny not being up to the challenge of caring for a future Mensa member and changed the subject quickly.  I bet you a Starbuck’s seasonal drink that the previous nanny gave that mom the finger and got a better job.
  5. Canoodlers: Students bring a lot of energy and vitality to our public spaces, and I am supportive of their contributions.  And, at first it was fun to watch co-eds French kiss before 9 AM, but it gets old, because if you recall, French kissing can be noisy.  Smack, Slurp, Suck.  (Plus, I am afraid that Mr. Eric Johnson will get ideas about what he could be doing with me in those booths by the windows.)
  6. Bitter job seeker reading Monster.com: I feel for the unemployed, I really do. It sucks to be stressed and desperate. But, slamming down your laptop and sighing as you read your email is a buzz kill for the rest of us.  I am sorry you are very important and it’s not going well, your little one-man show is distracting and bringing the collective vibe down.  Way down.
  7. Socialite with Louis Vuitton purse talking on bedazzled cell phone about upcoming trip to Italy to shop: God, I wish I was kidding.  Yes, I noticed her giant purse when she bonked me in the head as she shimmied over to a corner table.  Of course, I noticed her bejeweled iPhone case as she whipped it out of her skinny jeans and called her personal assistant.  It sounds outrageous, but I swear she was bossing someone around about “upgrading her flight to Milan.”  Maybe she was a rogue Kardashian, but she didn’t have those over-sized chocolate-colored eyes so probably not. I actually wanted to introduce her to the self-important guy who wears his blue tooth and acts like Starbucks is his personal board room as he paces around taking calls from underlings who do important things like “shipping crates” and “transferring stocks”.  Um, tone it down there, Mr. Christian Grey, let me introduce you to Chicago’s homegrown Kardashian.  Now both of you STFU.

Oh, one more! How about the misanthropic mommy blogger/writer who wears jeans from Costco and thinks it’s socially acceptable to camp out at Starbucks for hours judging people and writing blog posts about them?  She’s my favorite!

* Nannidate: TM/Copyright or whatever I should have on here to protect my rights to this word. I made it up; it’s brilliant; and now, I will call the Trademark Office and make it all official. Til then, get your own damn word.

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44 thoughts on “Who Are These People In Starbucks?

  1. Hysterical. I generally have similar experiences in Starbucks but you really hit the jackpot. Good luck on the trademark/copyright/whatever IP process you need to protect that awesome term — but be aware that Bey and Jay-Z just lost their battle to own the name Blue Ivy. Turns out any idiot can name their less than perfect child/business/seahorse the same thing, even though the two of them totally made it up. It’s a rough world out there. Do you know where I can get a good wax now?

    • Apparently, Starbucks are required to set up shop within .5 miles of a waxing establishment. So that will be easy. Ask your local barista.

      I love your grasp of popular culture.

  2. Lucky for you…you missed my moms running posse…we are loud and smelly and certain we own the place. We judge those trying to accomplish real tasks while we sip ventis and revel in our child-free time.

  3. Hilarious! I would trip Mr. Christian Grey as he walked by my table. I can’t stand those types. And, I’ll admit it. I had to look up “misanthropic”. No shame. I love learning new words, so thanks!!!

  4. Girl, even being shat on isn’t reason enough for you to lose your funny. Clearly. Way to bring it – again! Another classic SBX cast o’ characters is the bickering couple. Oh, how that is awkward. Not awkward enough to look away, though.

  5. This seriously brought tears of laughter to my eyes. I don’t even know where to start – this is the funniest post I’ve read in a long time. Although you lost me briefly when you mentioned Christian Grey and I immediately went off on a very nice mental tangent. Funny and sexy…that’s pulling out the big guns!

    I had no idea Starbucks was such a comedy club, although I’m not sure the coffee shops in my suburban city would be as interesting. I’m tempted to go find out, but with a psychotic 2 year old and a 9 week old, I’m afraid we might become the entertainment.

    And the infant has just blasted his pants with such force that the whole couch shook. This is why I can’t go out in public. Boo.

  6. I boycott my suburban Starbucks. Too many Louis’. But I felt I was there with you. I’m sure the interviewee was talking Brazillian and “nannigate” is an awesome word whose rights should belong to you. Even though I don’t frequent mine, I hope you continue going to yours so we can get hilarious updates!

    • For the record, I would go somewhere cooler, but the local place doesn’t have tables that would allow me to stand up. I can’t sit down and write b/c of my back so I am stuck at the Bucks. Good job on the boycott!!

  7. One time when I was in line at Starbucks and the person two ahead of me ordered some outrageous drink with a dozen descriptors, the guy between that customer and me turned to me (a total stranger) and said, “You must have a pickle up your ass to order a drink like that!”

    I am addicted to Starbucks hot chocolate, and you have captured the place (any Starbucks, as I have frequented many of them!) so perfectly that I wonder why I don’t see you when I go in there!

  8. Oh, I can’t stop laughing!! Starbucks is my favorite place on earth. I could sit there for hours watching and listening. I just love it. I think your people are more fun, though. While we do get job interviews, I NEVER get to hear about trips to Italy. Bummer.
    I sat in one Starbucks for an hour yesterday and we were overrun with tutors and tutees (is that a word?) doing math. THREE TABLES. Boring.

  9. I have a trade proposal for you. I am working on a presentation about “Mom Marketing” and I’ve coined the phrase Mombassadors. I’ll totally let you have limited use license on it if I can borrow nannidate.

    Hysterical post.

    And aren’t you working on a book? You got characters all over the place! Most writers have to make that shit up in their head!

      • I’ve seen Wings of Desire but don’t remember much about it. It was a long time ago. And actually, even longer ago than that, in college I went to see it in a theater, as a part of a film series we had there. The beginning freaked me out so much — one of the characters is an angel, and he can hear everyone’s thoughts — that I insisted on leaving. But not because it was fascist.

  10. I’m suddenly less sad that my town doesn’t have its own Starbucks!

    I wonder if the mom interviewing the nannidate (genius, I tell you) might consider hiring Mr. Eric Johnson. He seems to have plenty of time and is up to date on cultural studies. (Then again, I have a pet peeve about people who overuse the word “fascist.” I’m not so sure I would hire him.)

  11. So funny and absolutely brilliant! I didn’t know what I was missing camping out at home instead of Starbucks. This is the perfect pitch letter should Starbucks ever want to film a reality show on site! Mr. Johnson and his johnson kind of scare me.

  12. You are not alone in this. My word Sbux brings out the crazy.

    8. Annoying 40somethings trying to win an intellectual pissing contest in a cafe by comparing their favorite erudite films and books, Loudly. Then blurting out lines from their own resumes as part of a fabricated story to sound smart. Problem? Mediocre books and films from ten years ago.

    9. Horrid parents who let their kids run through the store (not just during ordering, for who amongst us hasn’t braved that minute of terror just to get the effing coffee RIGHT NOW) and then seem flabbergasted that the small creatures don’t want to sit quietly for half an hour in a freaking cafe.

    10. Annoying boor who offers unsolicited advice to everyone who walks in. Thanks, but I don’t need you to tell me that I need another computer and a better beverage, nor do I want to hear how you think that guy reads the wrong paper and that lady wears too much makeup. Go. Home. To. Your. Elderly. Mom. and leave me alone.

    (Upside? Hilarious characters for a novel. Not that I’m in Sbux stealing weirdos for my book or anything…)

      • Here’s my top 5 picks–

        11. Hairdressin’ Hassler: A woman who owns a salon connected to our store phones during the peak of our afternoon rush. We’re only staffed three employees, and one of them is effectively rendered useless for the duration of the call. She pre-orders her drink. She is the only bloody person I have ever known to do this. I wasn’t even aware we took orders over the phone. Her complex custom orders are placed on the bar and once finished, neatly sealed with a lid and spill-stopper for her to pick up and go about her busy day at the salon like she hadn’t just interrupted our busy day at the store. She usually hassles one of our girls about their hair too, just because she has those few minutes to spare where she otherwise would have been waiting in line.

        12. …”and a raisin bran muffin heated up.”: This woman chooses to throw us off focus during our morning rush. She comes in for her coffee, and then with a line out the door behind her, insists on having a raisin bran muffin heated up for her. Can’t you just nuke it at the office, lady? By they time I get back to the till after putting it in the oven, the next customer barely opens their mouth to start their order before the oven beckons my return. 3 minutes of running back and forth for 17 seconds in the oven.

        13. Serious about dieting: Every so often we get a customer who sacrafices so much of their drink for the sake of dieting, and then blows it all by adding something else. Main culprit? 1/2 sweet, non-fat, grande pumpkin spice latte in a venti cup, filed to the brim with whipped cream. Enough said.

        14. Homeless: Every so often we have a group of homeless people coordinate a takeover of our handicap bathroom. They huddle by the window and one-by-one come in to bathe in our toilet, harass customers for money, and possibly steal our tip jar. You’d think they’d at least ask for a job since they’re all cleaned up, right? Ew.

        15. Schizophrenic daycare lady: This lady comes in and asks for her grande soy latte with two honey put in first. But we have to put the honey in ourselves because she always gets too sticky. Then when she gets her drink, she asks “This is a grande?” “And there’s two honey in here?” “And it’s made with soy?” Here at Starbucks, we like to take your order, make your order, and take your order again. She usually follows these questions with stories about marijuana, the children she works with at a daycare she runs, or how bad her diarrhea gets if she doesn’t have soy. And then just to add insult to injury, she comes back half an hour later for her passion tea. With two honey.

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