Riot at Starbucks

Yesterday, I had an hour and a half to put to good use. There was too much noise at my house so I packed up my things and went to Starbucks. I had homework to do and I knew that I could crush it in an hour.

The stars aligned and I snagged a parking spot smack dab in front of the Starbucks’ doors. Sweet! I walked in and ordered my $4 Venti Latte. I took a cursory look at the tables. They were all taken, taken by people w/ computers in various stages of writing, web surfing, ignoring life, and wheeling and dealing. Crap. But my wonderful luck kept manifesting, someone got up from the one communal table and started packing up his computer. (The communal table is the one table in Starbucks where folks won’t have a stroke or think you are infringing on their personal space when you ask, “Can I sit here?”) I grabbed my latte, took his spot. It was even by an electrical outlet! Score!!!

I set up shop on the communal table. Computer plugged in – check. Latte on hand – check. iPhone out on the table top (you know, in case the president calls) – check. Not making eye contact with other people so they won’t see that I’m a fraud – check! I happily settled myself into the role of the Starbucks’ writer.

I started my work with a writer’s most important task……..checking your email. Who knows what important inbox messages await me such as “Gap 3 Day Sale!” But, the only message I received was “Cannot connect to the internet.” Easy fix, I am a professional for God’s sake. I knew I just had to go to that WiFi thingie icon at the top right of my computer screen and click ATT. But before I even get a chance to find the ATT network, I hear murmurs across the store, “Did your WiFi just go out?” “I can’t get online!” “Awwww nah, this is not happening!”

Two guys in scrubs sat across from me. They were working on some medical project and the one is blue scrubs is not happy and well, just starts saying stupid shit. I don’t even know how to explain what he said. Finally he curses by saying “God Bless America!” I had been listening to these 2 guys since I sat down. The guy in the blue scrubs had dominance issues and humor issues. By humor issues, I mean he kept making jokes that were not funny.

They were doing a mathematical formula and the blue scrubs guy said,  “I’m like Howard Stern. I have to count on all my fingers.” Then the pink scrubs guys said, “it’s 37.” The blue scrubs guy didn’t listen to him and is literally counting on his fingers and then he said, “it’s 37.” Douchebag much?

Back to the WiFi apocalypse. People stared at each other helplessly as if someone was going to take care of the situation. (which I realized at this point is the same looks these people would give if the end of the world was nigh—the look of expecting someone else is to take care of it). The expressions on their faces were also a cross between fear and the look this guy got in college when my husband stepped on his ceramic dinosaur bong, shattering the tail and releasing all the bong water onto the carpet (through the tail). These people felt violated by Starbucks.

I had a decision to make: join them in their bubbling uncertainty and anger or blog about them. I chose the latter. Obviously.

So, blue scrubs guy went up and asked the employees. They said they have nothing to do with the WiFi, it’s all ATT so they can’t do anything. Now picture this, there were multiple people walking around the store with their laptops in their hands. They aimlessly wandered from table to table, asking if anyone else was having a problem, pathetically hoping that someone will actually say “no.” It was as if an ant or a worker bee lost its queen.

Pink scrubs guy leaned over to me and said, “I hope they fix it because there’s about to be a bunch of overly caffeinated people starting a riot.” I decided I liked pink scrubs guy more than blue scrubs guy. Blue scrubs guy came back to the table and under his breath said, “Someone get a straw for that tall drink of water,” about a woman at the coffee bar. Nice. Smooth. Sexist much? (She wasn’t even tall!)

Slowly people started leaving. Then new people came in, sat down, took out their laptops and the whole process of panic started over again. The horrible thing is that the people who had stayed at Starbucks didn’t even have the decency to lean over to their new neighbors and say, “The WiFi is out.” They just let the new people get all panicked and go through the same “what the hell is happening” process. I did tell the girl who sat next to me that the WiFi was out. Poor thing, she looked like she was about the cry. So she still got upset but she didn’t waste 5 minutes trying to figure out the ATT WiFi.

I stayed a little longer and watched this cycle of people leaving and coming for a while. Then I felt sick to my stomach that we could be so upset about something we get for free. Perfect First World Problem. I left feeling shame towards everyone at Starbucks.

That shame lasted less than 24 hours because now I’m back at Starbucks Ground Zero, at the same communal table, using their free WiFi to post this blog. Hypocrite much?




  • Debra says:

    If I lived near you I would swear that I knew “blue scrubs guy”. Its kinda sad that there are THAT many blue scrub guy douche’s in this world!

    p.s. Free Wifi is the ONLY reason I go to Starbucks. haha…
    okay AND their Bacon Gouda breakfast sandwich.

  • K. P. Hart says:

    Lovely. To avoid stress like this I bring paper and pencil to the hallowed halls of coffeedom.

  • Todders says:

    How many brilliant screenplays went unwritten because of the failure of AT&T? When will the madness end??

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