12/15/07

Homeless in Seattle.

For lack of something better to do while waiting in line at Starbucks, I started looking around at the crowd. (It was either that or really think about the ridiculous amount of money I was about to fork up for a small cup of bean juice and milk worth about 25 cents.)

This particular Starbucks is in a college town, and I was amazed by the sheer quantity of grungy, unshowered guys and girls who had laptop computers open and stacks of papers spread out on the tables next to them. One guy was sleeping. Another chick was camped out on the couch by the fireplace and I swear to god she had slippers and a blanket. I am not kidding. I couldn't help but wonder whose job it was to tuck her in at night.

It seems the unwritten Starbucks rule is that as long as you have a Starbucks cup somewhere in your general vicinity you are free to take up couch and table space and use their electrical power as long as you'd like to -- an offer which many people obviously take them up on.

It was at that point I realized something: The only difference between being homeless and not being homeless is a laptop and a paper cup.

Here's an example: Say you're a drummer who just broke up with your girlfriend. If that's not the definition of homeless I don't know what is. The first thing you should do is buy a laptop like this one. Then hit the garbage can outside your local Starbucks and grab an empty cup. After that, you're on easy street. Walk in, sit down, open the laptop, put your feet up and bask in the coffee-scented goodness that is your new living room.

Seriously, could this scheme be more perfect?

You're a musician, so obviously you work nights. Normally you're leaving for the club around nine or ten at night and coming home around six in the morning, so you leave before they close, and you're back when they open.

Truth be told, you don't shower all that much anymore since you discovered AXE, the bathrooms at 'Bucks are way cleaner than what you're used to, and you're there early so you always get the comfy couch. And if you're really lucky, maybe even the blanket.

Added bonus -- If the laptop actually works, you can start a blog to tell all your fans what a raging bitch your ex-girlfriend is, and how she doesn't understand what rock and roll is all about and that you didn't know she was even coming to the show and you were only autographing that chick's tits because you're a consummate professional and seriously, the reason your pants were down is simply because it was really hot in the dressing room and after a great show like that you always like to give it a little air, so kicking you out of the trailer was totally uncalled for and if you think about it, she should actually be apologizing to you, and also Neil Peart is the best fucking drummer ever.

43 comments:

  1. All those people with laptops using Starbucks electrical power is probably the reason for the high price of their coffee. They need the extra profit to cover the power bills...........

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  2. How I love this post. Just want to let you know it may be used as a complement to a text I teach to French English classes about Starbucks as a corporate concept. You really bring out the social context side of it...from a former Olympian...

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  3. Sheer genius, this idea.

    I'm sure Starbucks corporate will be putting your commendation in the mail any moment now!

    And a couple of my friends are drummers ... I'll pass this along to them, just in case they ever need to avail themselves of your masterful plan.

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  4. Seriously so true. Except when I was in college, there were no laptops. Wow, I think I just dated myself...

    Anyway, your idea is sound. Deliciously evil as well :)

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  5. What is it with people going out in their pajamas anyway? My son took the S.A.T. a couple of weeks ago and there was a high school girl in the middle of this big crowd in plaid p.j. pants and slippers. For God's Sake, have some pride, people!

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  6. My son plays drums, and could easily adopt this lifestyle. I don't think it is coincidence.

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  7. Don't forget diseases. There are less diseases strewn about a couch that's had thousands of ass sat upon it than any college dorm room that's coated knee-deep in what could only be described as gelatinizing matter.

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  8. As a college student, I must divulge that there is also a handy trick that involves making big eyes/smiling sweetly at the staff, which after a few repeat visits may result in regular free coffee, shared cigarette breaks (and eventually friendship, though the last part could possibly be optional).

    Worked for me!

    (As a sidenote, I would just like to establish that I never leave my room in slippers and PJs. Blanket would be nice, though).

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  9. And here I am always worrying about trying to figure out what the conversion factor is between the size of the drink and how many minutes you're allowed to stay...

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  10. Awesome, just awesome! This is so true, it's scary. I think they should make people pay rent after being in there for more than an hour. It's only fair. And if they do do that, I want a part of the profits, because it was my idea after all.

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  11. There's another blogger who actually established his office (i.e. squatted) in a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in L.A. He brags about it. The staff doesn't seem to have a problem... but dude pulls in 45 grand a DAY in ad revenue and yet mooches space off someone else. I think he's mastered the plan.

    Poke fun at Starbucks here: http://shirt.woot.com/friends.aspx?k=4284

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  12. To heck with the writers strikes--I think you could jump right in and take over for them. What a gift you have! Thanks for letting us read the episodes of your life.
    Christy

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  13. Wow, I had a computer like that not too long ago. I'm embarrased realizing how close I was to being homeless.

    Honestly, I won't go near Starbucks...and we have three in our town-two of them with drive-thru's. I just don't even understand the language involved. I know I'll make a mistake and be laughed at by people who weren't born when I graduated high school.

    Yeah, not happening. I'll just keep making it in my kitchen.

    (Love the blog BTW).

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  14. yourbrother.blogsome.com10:53 PM

    A ditto on Neil Peart.

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  15. Hey, I live in Seattle, and I resemble your remarks!! Except, I don't own a laptop, and don't sit in Starbucks all day. It is one of my favorite places, though, because they are nice to me, bringing me my drink at my table because I'm in a wheelchair. I have even seen them talking sign language to Deaf customers.

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  16. Being from New England, I would prefer Dunkin Donuts coffee to Starbucks any day. But I have been there and witnessed this phenomenon. It's ingenius!

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  17. I could be lying here but didn't JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame used to bunk down in a local cafe to write before she became a gazillionaire because she couldn't afford to heat her flat in the winter. And just look at her now!!! There could be something in that for all of us :)

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  18. Ha...I love it. It's so true! I was at our local S-bucks a few weeks ago and this girl was curled up on the couch with a blanket and her shoes were off. One of my biggest pet peeves about going to places like that (B&N included) is when people act like they are at home. It's not home! Put the shoes on and spare the rest of us!

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  19. Yet ANOTHER reason to get my coffee from McDonald's (Ronald or no Ronald).

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  20. Johnny, you sound like you speak from experience...or a land somewhere not far from experience - i.e. your imagination. Well thought out. Favorite word "bean juice." (Makes me want to run out and grab a cup'o'joe at my local "Consumer Whore." I can't take credit - it's on a T-Shirt replacing the Starbuck's script on their logo). Speaking of, the French call weak/crap coffee "sock juice" or "jus de chaussette." Equally tempting my tastebuds.

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  21. Those things are vintage, now? Oh my god I'm getting old.

    And Neil Peart *is* the greatest drummer ever.

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  22. This is the first time I've read your blog (got the link from So the Thing is...Blog). I must say, you are hilarious. Thinking about reading through your archives is like an early Christmas present!

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  23. Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary,
    Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary,
    Danny Cary, Danny Cary, Danny Cary,

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  24. The little added 'dig' towards the AXE deodorant was hilarious....

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  25. Wow- what a fine piece of vintage memorabilia. Thanks for the laugh. :)

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  27. that is EXACTLY why i only date bass players.


    well, that and i like their straight but agile fingers.

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  28. And it's not just the young, grungy crowd. I always wonder about these people that seem to live/work out of their local Starbucks. Don't you people have homes?!

    Judge Smails

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  29. Ahh, the beauty of Starbitches....

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  30. Ehhh, drummers. Bet they have sticks in their septic tanks.



    J/K, JV. I kid because I love.

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  31. I get Starbucks when I go to Saratoga, but actually our Mickey D's has Paul Newmans Green Mountain coffee and it is great. But now you have me thinking about al those people I see in Barnes and Noble with their laptops and cups.

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  32. scoop, next time you're in town, go across the street to Uncommon Grounds. You'll like it.

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  33. nashgirl10011:48 AM

    I travel internationally for work sometimes, and I must say, it is comforting when you are alone in a strange city (as fun as that can also be), to be able to wander into a Starbucks and feel a little like you are home. There are even grungy shoeless blanket people in London Starbucks!

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  34. kristina4:24 PM

    Never seen the "homeless look" in any Starbucks around here, but maybe we're too small-town (actually, I think the city has a bylaw against it, since there's one for just about everything else...).

    I was in Vancouver over the weekend (Bon Jovi concert - who the hell is the drummer anyway?), and did notice several people at the combo Bucks/Chapters store with the PJ-type outfit early Sunday morning however...

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  35. Funny...I essentially blogged the same idea just over a week ago. Fortunately I patented the idea and so you'll be hearing from my lawyers ;)

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  36. this rings really true for my hometown too, although instead of starbucks it is a locally owned and run cafe. most of the students fiercely hate "corporate coffee" but i think starbucks gets less business cuz the cafe is closer to campus...

    and for the record, bassists are more likely to use this than drummers. we (drummers)are more likelyto have a day job so we can have a place to store our kits.

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  37. I always stored mine at the singer's mother's house next to the PA.

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  38. JV, I have never been in a Starbucks in my life. We just got one about a year ago and I still have not ventured in. Around here, we have these super sized convenience stores that employ "real baristas" (according to their TV and radio ads), so we just go there. Plus they sell Krispy Kremes, Starbucks does not. And they sell gas, Starbucks does not. And they sell these kick ass made to order subs, Starbucks does not. They also do not have couches inside their stores. So now you have given me another reason to never become a Starbucks customer.

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  39. Wow, I should change my blog to English! you have so many readers! haha but that wouldn't be the point, I am probably not as good as you as a writter and my posts are more directed to people to understand my point of view of an Ecuadorian leaving in your country.
    Love to read your stories though...! very interesting what you brought from your trip to very expensive Starbucks.....

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  40. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Now I know why all the Starbucks I have been to recently do not have free wi-fi. At first, I thought that was dumb, because I certainly choose the free wi-fi places over the not. Then I realized they 1) either want to speed up the turnover in the restaurants, or 2) if you're going to sit there and suck their electricity, you're going to pay for internet.
    Evil Genius.

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  41. I swear I'm done with musicians. I swear.

    Also, that was awfully detailed. Have you been that drummer? Or that ex-girlfriend?

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  42. I still play drums. But luckily my dad told me it would be a good idea to have something to fall back on, so I have a house now.

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  43. Oh man! There is an episode of Stella on this EXACT subject. You must watch immediately... Episode "Coffee Shop"

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