Get Adobe Flash player

Starbucks Floorplan Not Enough For This Footprint

July 2nd, 2019 · Tags:Coffee Shops · Satire · Wi-Fi



I’ve told the story many times about the day that I took the driving portion of the test for my Texas Driver’s License.  My parallel parking abilities back then were pretty good at 16, but not used very often in Vega, Texas.  So if there was an area of concern for the driving test, it was parallel parking.  I practiced a little, but for good measure, I also went to the courthouse the night before and spread the rusty, iron “pylons” a few feet wider.

I was reminded of spreading the obstacles, just now … in Starbucks … as I hopped up from my seat in the coffee shop and moved the two tables directly in front of my usual seat, further away from my seat … creating a bigger passage way for customers.  Was I about to test some tricky maneuver? Or just needed a bigger walkway for me?  Well … not exactly …

I was just getting “the obstacle course” ready for those who are “pedestrian impaired” when they smell caffeine.

Why would I do that?

Well I thought you’d never aks.

You see … apparently there is a unique subset of Starbucks patrons, who, as they make a beeline for a cup of hot, black, roasted-bean goodness, cannot be bothered to avoid other customers in their way, in the cafe.  (That is one of Ping’s Laws, by the way … “IF you are in public, it is a safe bet that there are other humans using the planet too.  Detect them, and try to avoid crashing in to them.”

Here’s the deal …

Love it or hate it, Starbucks is fairly easy to figure out.  The sign is green.  The line always starts at the pastry counter. The coffee is stronger, and people will pay a higher  price for it because the corporate giant figured out how to create, duplicate and mass produce atmosphere in its estimated 30,000 cafes worldwide.

And with atmosphere comes harmony … in a perfect Starbucks world, that is.

About that atmosphere … beyond Starbucks’ strong coffee game, the Seattle chain was in the hunt pretty early with Wi-Fi — the invisible umbilical cord — that vital link in the communication chain that we have all pretty much come to expect, everywhere … And with Wi-Fi came “the office away from the office” phenom.  And with “the away office” came Wi-Fi “squatters” like me, who order a beverage or two … maybe some food … and work there most of the day, every day. “The regulars.”  And, these “regulars” have what they think of as “their” chairs.  I have “my chair.”  (A previous Starbucks/staff a few years ago also referred to it as “Ping’s Chair” in their cafe …) I digress …

So .. in addition to “my chair,” I also have my legs … which are quite long, for the record.  When I sit working quietly, or whip the computer’s arse in backgammon, oftentimes my feet and my legs are on the floor immediately in front of me.  Sounds pretty normal, right?

You’d think! But there are people who walk through the cafe floorplan, who refuse to walk in the center of the provided space, and even more interesting — rather than “impose” on an empty chair on the opposite side — they will actually walk over people like me.

Therein lies the problem!

Remember the immortal words of ex-Texas Ranger Woodrow McCall in “Lonesome Dove?”  He pulverized some poor soul with a branding iron, then calmly stated “I hate rude behavior in a man.  I won’t tolerate it.” … Words to live by.  Do unto others and all that … #commoncourtesy.

So … I tend to get miffed (a little) when people choose to just walk over my legs at Starbucks —  if they weren’t lazy or stupid or unaware there are other people using their planet — they would simply take a half step to the side with no problem.  (BTW, I keep an eye out for and make total exceptions for double-wide baby strollers and the like … always moving my feet when I see them coming.) But for others, I usually don’t pay them any mind … And furthermore, I can’t move my feet every time someone comes through the door and decides that it is too much trouble to take a step to the side:) Can you imagine how muscular and chiseled my thighs and calves would become?:)  Nor do I always see them coming, if I am texting or blogging or rolling acey-deucey on the electronic dice.

So, recently, some dude entered Starbucks, and approached my chair, with his girlfriend, and rather than showing some courtesy and letting her her walk in front of him through the ample space, in front of my feet … he walked through at the same time as her, side-by-side through the bottle neck, and walked over my ankles (although every other human has figured out the bottleneck that day).  By the way, some guy seated beside me had crutches and a leg brace, and was sticking out further into the aisle than me.  Sorry dude. I couldn’t help myself.  I don’t like that … he easily could have been a little more respectful.  Is a little courtesy so much to ask?

Ha … I cleared my throat real loud to see if he would turn around, but he ignored me and kept on going, but he knew.  When he got to the line — over by the pastry cabinet (as pointed out above, for the newbies) —  he could tell I was staring him down, and at first he kind of looked away, thinking I would quit since he busted me looking.  Ha … I was relentless … and I was a little offended, so I kept staring and then he had a stare down with me.  And he said, “What?,” or something nonchalant like that.  And from across the cafe, I mouthed that I didn’t like that he just walked over me. 

So next,  he left the line and came back over and said something, that I didn’t hear … So I pulled off my headphones.  I said, “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you.“ He replied, “Did you say something to me?” … Man, our communications skills!:) … I digress …

I said, “Yes, I said something about you just walking over me.”  He said, “Well your legs were kind of out in the way.”  I apologized to him for my having legs, and I told him that others tend to simply step around.  So he said, “Well, I didn’t mean any disrespect.”  And of course I just had to counter with, “Well … I took it as such.”

About that point, I read “T-C-U” printed all over his t-shirt, and that’s when I first noticed that he was HUGE … solid muscle, about 6-2 and over 250 pounds.  (Good lord … this guy is a TCU football player … and probably a bad-ass linebacker, according to my instantaneous scouting report and eyeball depth chart!)  “Rut row!”  Darn it Ping … you and that mouth!

But, did I mention that I was pissed? … Like a fool, I just continued to look him in the eye … he finally smiled and said … “Well, let’s just leave it at that …” — which translated to … “Even though I could put one hand around your skinny little chemotherapy neck and pick you up from ‘your chair’ and hold you up in my air space and let those legs — that usually are placed in front of you — dangle  a few inches above the floor … I really don’t want to make a scene and jeopardize a rewarding football career.” … Nor did he want to let his beverage grow old … so he and his friend walked out.

That’s when I realized the jeopardy I was in … legs, feet and all … as I assessed this close call with takin’ a beatin’.  Ha … after the queasy realization that I had a near-death experience … my smart ass came back into play and I started “just kickin” myself that I hadn’t come up with any better comebacks, like:

“Well Frog, when you kick my 60-year-old ass, don’t get chemotherapy all over your hands.” Ha, ha, yah … that would have shown him what’s what!:)

OR… I should have said sarcastically, “You know.  When ‘I designed this Starbucks,’ I should have realized that some people don’t have the agility to take a half step to the side to avoid walking on other humans.  (Lack of agility … that would have ruffled his football-drill sensibilities …)

After he left, I went through the Frogs football roster on the TCU Athletics site and of course tried to figure out who the guy is … he looks a lot like a guy who did play linebacker and who was drafted by an NFL team, but I can’t be sure.  There are a couple of other maybes on the team, still wearing the purple.  But who knows.

THEN … I saw my buddy Phillip — another Starbucks regular — sitting in “his barstool,” with a big smile on his face.  I navigated through any and all obstacles and walked over, and said, “So, did you see me just about get my ass whupped?”  He laughed and smiled ear-to-ear, “I did.”  We laughed.

Glad I could entertain the regulars … wait … you know, come to think of it, Phillip and I first became friends after arguing over a chair at another Starbucks, a few years back.  As memory serves, we both later felt badly and both apologized.  And we have been coffee shop friends ever since.

And people tell me I don’t make friends easily!  See how easy it is to make friends at the coffee shop?  This time next year, I may have a buddy playing in the NFL:)

Know what I sayin?