Sunday, October 21, 2018

Creepy magnet

I'm not sure if it this particular Starbucks that is a magnet for the creepy, or if this is a symptom of the state of my city.

Back in the spring sometime, I was sitting a Starbucks, reading, when I happened to look up. My seat was at a table that gave me a view down the entire length of the barista workspace. Directly in front of me was a counter with a couple of higher stools pulled up to it.

Seated on one of the stools was an older Asian man. I thought he was just holding his phone up at eye level to be able to see it...but I happened to catch a glimpse of the screen, and he was filming the baristas, four of five of whom were younger females.

Oh, hellz no. I went to the ladies' room, then on my way back flagged one of the crew down at the other end of the workspace to clue them in. My other choice would have been to call the police - frankly, this kind of behavior strikes me as never innocent and always creepy.

It was one of the women who approached the guy to tell him to knock it off, not the one male behind the counter, which I thought was interesting. She was polite but told him to stop filming. Five minutes later, they sold him another coffee - ?!

Me, I would have forced him to erase the video, then tossed him out on his ear with dire warnings not to come back.

Fast forward to late summer, same shop.

I am a creature of habit and spend part of Sunday in this same Starbucks, generally reading. I'd noticed that an apparently homeless man - tall, long hair, unshaven - was there about the same time as I was, always in the same corner, with a cup of coffee untouched in front of him, sometimes fast asleep. While it wasn't exactly the ideal situation, he didn't seem to be harming anyone. Every so often (when he was awake), he'd go outside for a smoke.

About a month ago, I pulled up for my usual reading session and found the doors locked, with a sign indicating that due to "an incident" the cafe portion of the shop would be closed indefinitely, though the drive-through was open.

Curious.

The next time I was there, homeless guy...wasn't.

Today, however, he arrived about ten minutes after me. There were only two clerks on at the time, with a lot of traffic through the drive-through.

Another manager came on, though, and soon she (again, there was a guy working as well) was telling the homeless guy that he could finish the coffee he had, but that he could not be in the cafe and would have to leave.

Curious and curiouser, and an exercise perhaps in connecting the dots.

Think I'll have my coffee and do my reading at home next week.

2 comments:

melissa said...

Starbucks has sort of painted themselves in a corner with how they've handled "customers." Personally, I would hate to have to run a store with a constant flow of guests. Like the public library...one library, I heard, refused to put in comfy chairs to discourage napping, but we're all supposed to be endlessly accommodating.

Last winter, the main library branch remained open odd hours overnight so the homeless could come in, but seems I remember they had to leave before regular business hours.

But to this day my girls will refuse certain places to visit because of creepy guys who can't keep their eyes to themselves.

If I feel safe, I'm good. Critically important to me.

melissa said...

Starbucks has sort of painted themselves in a corner with how they've handled "customers." Personally, I would hate to have to run a store with a constant flow of guests. Like the public library...one library, I heard, refused to put in comfy chairs to discourage napping, but we're all supposed to be endlessly accommodating.

Last winter, the main library branch remained open odd hours overnight so the homeless could come in, but seems I remember they had to leave before regular business hours.

But to this day my girls will refuse certain places to visit because of creepy guys who can't keep their eyes to themselves.

If I feel safe, I'm good. Critically important to me.