my local starbucks cracks down

I love coffee… I thought that when Tom mocked the local scene for its obsession with Starbucks and Caribou, he was dead on. I used to work at Misha’s – four years to help pay my way through college. Murky is my haven when I’m working from home on a big deliverable and need to get a change of scenery. I love that both are succeeding in town that favors chain restaurants over independent successes. In fact, both Misha’s and Murky have grown into their current state from humbler origins – small walk-up coffee house a fraction of their current sizes. But what makes both great places – besides the excellent coffee – is the people.

Misha is a genius and his sense of poetry is evident when you read his descriptions of the Caravan and Route 66 blends. When the "new" owners of Bittersweet thought they could edge Misha out of the morning coffee rush, he took them on in a lemonade war that rocked the local soccer mom scene. We stopped carrying the Fresh Samantha’s line of products after the company reneged on a promise to keep Misha’s as the sole purveyor in a few mile radius. Misha’s brother is the owner of Funk & Junk, where I’ve never had trouble finding a cool gift for a friend (or more often myself). The customers treated all of us who worked their like friends – and we watched them interact with each other like some huge extended family To this day, when I walk down the streets of Old Town, I’m still recognized and greeted by the regulars – even though I haven’t worked there or been a regular customer in the past five years! And while I’m not as familiar with everyone at Murky, I still get the same sense of community when I sit down at a table to craft a new deliverable for work, or enjoy the Sunday Post.

However, despite my love and affection for both places, going to Starbucks is not beneath me… Particularly when I’m tired and need something quick before heading into work, or tackling the weekend chores, and don’t have time for the long drive/walk to get to either. In fact, I actually used to enjoy going to the Starbucks at the corner of Virginia Square because there were some interesting people who worked there. Granted, if I ordered anything more than regular drip, I had about a 1 in 10 shot of getting what I really wanted. But it was great trying to figure out whether the person taking my order was either hungover, stoned, or otherwise "off" and seemingly confused about why they were there, and what they were supposed to do.

I guess word got around to the corporate managers about the situation. I bet the person who ratted them out was the guy on his bluetooth headset, who did a crappy job parking his Mercedes in the Zipcar parkingspot, and didn’t have the capability to stop talking into space about the chick he was going to "bang" from the bar last night – at least not long enough to actually order his venti latte and lowfat muffin, pay with his Starbucks Duetto Card, and leave.

You know him, don’t you?! It used to be that the old staff would roll their eyes and give him shit for being so lame. In fact, since he somehow always seemed to be in the store when I went, I used to bond with the staff over what it was like having to wait on people like that.

Now, I’m greeted by happy people who seem to have stepped right out of a corporate training video. Yes, they are all really nice, and clean, and do a really great job…but I miss my old staff. They may have been on mind altering substances, but at least they had a degree of personality that wasn’t manufactured to serve people like the aforementioned asshole.

They were renegades! Fighting the power from the inside out!

Or at least now I like to believe they were…

2 Comments so far

  1. rob (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    they’re all now working at misha’s or murky ; )

  2. Smouie Kablooie (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

    Well whereever they are I hope they are keeping it real…

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