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Me, Starbucks and Me and Starbucks

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It’s Friday night, I have no plans and there is nothing – not a thing - on TV. I could study for my economics class, I suppose, but somehow I’m just not feeling it. I do have an article due and so maybe I’ll take this opportunity to obsess about my relationships. Recently my love/hate relationship with Starbucks has reared its ugly head again.

See it all started in San Francisco – I don’t mean Starbucks, I mean my conflicted feelings with Starbucks started in San Francisco. I was looking for a hero as I was want to do during my 24 year stay in San Francisco when I came across Howard Schlutz’s autobiography. Loved his story and by extension, his love child Starbucks. Starbucks was never my favorite coffee, a company called Pasqua, now defunct, was my favorite coffee. But I did like Mr. Schlutz and well that’s the way I roll.

But since then, there have been, well, incidents that have shaken my resolve to love Starbucks. Like how sometimes you get a good cup and sometimes you don’t, for example. See, in my opinion, there is no excuse for a mediocre cup of coffee that when all you do is coffee. (The unpredictableness of a good cup of coffee is especially pronounced here in Birmingham. I have no idea why.) But then everyone is always nice to me in Starbucks – well most of time. Nice enough to me enough times that my general and lingering impression is that everyone is always nice to me in Starbucks. So I note but forgive the occasional bitter cup. Then I get a free birthday cup of coffee from Starbucks. And that happens every year. Anything I want. I spend less on coffee at Starbucks than I do on gas or rent or gym dues, but I never get free gas from Chevron, or the landlord or the gym. But Starbucks is the one that remembers me on my birthday. “Hi Octavia!” the email always begins. “Want to say hello on your special day”. I have friends that don’t do that much. And every year I go and get the most expensive cup of caffeine the house offers. I sit in the Starbucks and I sip and spend a moment with Mr. Schultz.

Recently, I went into a particular Starbucks and there was no half-and-half. No half-and half at Starbucks. The barista said that a recent storm was the cause. The store had not gotten a delivery on anything since the storm she said. I can’t drink coffee – even a good cup of Starbucks – without half and half. How could Starbucks let this happen? There happens to be a Walmart right across the street from this particular Starbucks. Couldn’t someone have picked up a quart? I took this personally. It was not my birthday and it’s true they were not expecting me but I have expectations of Starbucks. I mean we go way back. Yeah, sometimes they let me down. But now I think of it, I guess all relationships are like that.

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