I get why people hate Starbucks. It’s a purveyor of overpriced coffee and evidence of rampant capitalism. It’s a faux upscale establishment that doesn’t offer much more to its customers than the average Dunkin Donuts. And I don’t care.
I love that there’s one within a two block walk virtually anywhere in Manhattan. And now that I’m freelancing, I can use Starbucks as an office.
But, apparently, Starbucks wants me, and everyone else, to stop.
In a brilliant move, Starbucks started offering free WiFi in all of their locations but took out all of the outlets to plug in your laptop. It limits the amount of time you can spend there. Well played, Starbucks.
They also have a small rotation of playlists that seem to be consistent in each location. This may sound paranoid but I think that they play the same terrible reggae in every Starbucks to make you want to leave. I can’t stand it. I get visions of that dude in college who was way too into Bob Marley and those tacky Visit Jamaica! ads that were on television when I was a kid.
And anyone can go into a Starbucks. Anyone. So, crazy dreadlock lady in my neighborhood goes there, as do a couple of junkies who nod out while charging their phones (this, incidentally, is an amazingly modern problem: junkies who can afford a data plan).
These problems are in addition to the bathroom problem. You have to drink coffee to justify being there. You also have your laptop and all of your work with you. So, you either have to a) ask a complete stranger to “watch your stuff” (i.e. make sure no one steals your laptop) or b) pack up everything, go to the bathroom, come back and set up again or c) hold it. Then, once I’m in the bathroom, my OCD mind starts wondering who has been in there and how often they clean it, so, I end up washing my hands eight times, grabbing toilet paper to touch the doorknob, then washing my hands again after wondering how clean that toilet paper was.
Starbucks and this weird coffee shop WiFi culture is here to stay and I’m actually totally cool with that.