I met a friend for a late coffee and an early dinner today.
Our plans were slightly derailed by an unexpected thunderstorm that broke over our part of Florida. We've had nothing but pure, beautiful tropical sunshine since before Christmas, so to wake up to 60 degrees and cold, grey rain on Valentine's Day was a bummer.
Mother Nature wanted to remind those of us in Florida not to make (too much) fun of those Yankees shoveling snow…
Anyway. We were supposed to meet at the Starbucks at a local shopping mall. An outdoor mall.
When the second round of rains came at 3 pm, every other shopper and all the tourists decided that Starbucks was the place to be.
The closest I can describe it would be Black Friday in miniature. The line didn't just double back, it tripled back, then snaked along the wall near the high top bar and stools.
Barely space to move. At first, I wedged into line, resigned to just get a hot drink and find some sort of seat somewhere.
Then I saw a woman slowly packing up her purse.
On the off chance she was leaving, I got out of line and stood by the chair. When she left I sat right down.
At this point, right after I sat down, I heard a barista apologize. Apparently, the store only had one espresso machine working. The other one was broken. And a store FULL of customers.
The coffee line got longer and snaked out the door. People looked inside and left. People looked in the glass, pointed and left.
Next to me, an Italian couple searched on vain for a second empty chair. Finally, the husband sat down and the wife sat on his knees. This didn't last long because his knees were bony.
Two hours we were there. No chair was ever empty for more time than it took for someone to lay eyes on it and put a rear in the seat.
You know what shocked me though? Just how filthy the place was. I mean, how disgustingly dirty THE CUSTOMERS were.
Customers would just leave their old cups and plates on tables or the high bar. The next customers would push them over, then leave theirs.
Nobody threw anything away. Baristas came out three times to change the trash bags because it was overflowing, but made no effort to at least get the visible detritus in the room.
I guess I can't blame the baristas. They were overwhelmed by people waiting 10-15 minutes for drinks.
But the lazy slob customers who can't throw away an empty paper cup? Ought to have your Starbucks card revoked. Drink that Folgers stuff that comes out of a coffee maker. See how you like it.