Sunday, July 19, 2009

Incident at Starbucks

216_The Rock Professor_frontImage by cassettes via Flickr

I ordered my mocha extra minty, no marshmallows. It came with a straw, which I thought was weird, since it was so hot. I took a sip. "Holy shit!" I screamed. The barista in front of me put her finger on my straw. "That's enough for you," she said, and pointed at the door.

"I can't tip you if you make me leave," I responded.

"You haven't tipped me in ages," she said. "Plus, it's not required here."

"Please let me finish this," I pleaded, pointing at my cup. "My caffeine meter is still low."

"Get out now or I'll notify headquarters!"

"Notify them," I urged. I wasn't too scared.

"Starbucks Headquarters, Assistant-to-the-Assistant to the Director of Customers Who Won't Leave, Sara Roth speaking." (I heard this over the speakerphone.) "How may I double assist you?"

"This is store 12394. We have a customer who won't leave."

"Stand by for the Geek Squad."

"This is the Geek Squad speaking," came another voice on the line.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing! The Geek Squad double-dutied as Starbucks security!

"Geek Squad, please go to the store on Columbus and Vine."

"On our way."

"On their way, store 12394."

I looked at the door expecting to see black ties, white shirts and bad trousers walk in and that's exactly what I saw (about 50 minutes later). Two guys wearing glasses and "Geek Squad" pins on their ties showed up. In another setting they would be easily confused with Mormons.

Instead of guns, they had cameras by their sides. I knew if things got rough, they wouldn't hesitate using them.

"Boys, we ain't got no trouble here," I reassured them. "Just a misunderstanding between good folks having to do with my desire for caffeine."

These cops weren't the kind that didn't like to listen, though; they were natural listeners. "Please tell us what happened, sir," they said politely as they pulled up chairs. They were rapt as I described my slurp and yell. I described my "yell" as being a "passive yell," a Starbucks yell, somewhere between a Joni Mitchell and a Bob Dylan yell, not quite an Elvis Costello yell.

"Sorry," they said after I was done, "but we were told we must escort you out anyway. You must have been too loud."

I knew I had no choice. If I resisted, my picture would be on the web as a "Starbucks troublemaker" for the next six months. Even though Starbucks removed the picture eventually, we all know punishment lasts forever on the Net; it was bound to resurface.

"All right, I'm gone" I said, but I took one last quick slurp.

I heard a digital shutter go off.
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