Thursday, June 16, 2011

Starbucks and the Great Furniture Fiasco

A few weeks ago, my favorite Starbucks - the one where I write - "upgraded" its decor, replacing the already-small, round tables with even smaller ones. The new tables certainly inspire intimacy; two people sitting across from each other would have to have their knees touching in order to pull up to the table. A patron with a laptop would be hard-pressed to fit the laptop, a drink and a snack all on the table at the same time.

I looked around, wondering where I would write. There was one rectangular table, well-suited to my purposes, but a discreet plaque on the table requested that I reserve this table for Starbucks'
wheelchair-bound patrons. I knew that other people routinely ignored this sign, but that wasn't an action I was willing to take.

Mercifully, the back-of-store seating area had remained unchanged. The padded sofa, the awesome orange high-backed chair...I would just have to hope they were available when I came in. I often took that orange chair anyway. I could make this work.

Still, I did what any loyal, disgruntled customer would do: I complained. Well, first I asked the barristas (who know my order by heart) about it. The told me the changes had come from a higher authority.

So, I fired up my computer and politely told the powers-that-be at what a mistake they had made. To their credit, they sent me a prompt, polite, reasonably personalized reply. I also heard from the staff at both my favorite Starbucks and my other favorite Starbucks (my M-F Starbucks) that they'd received a number of complaints and were planning to rectify the situation with new(er) furniture.

Crisis averted - or about to be. Still, I moved my next writing session to my other favorite Starbucks (my M-F Starbucks), where I pulled a cushy green chair up to a round table three or four times the size of the new-and-improved tables at the other store and wrote for several hours.

Yesterday, I went to my favorite Starbucks to write for the first time since The Great Furniture Fiasco. There were people sitting in the new chairs that had replaced the padded sofa at the back of the store, so I sat at the counter, not wishing to invade their privacy or personal space. When they left, however, I relocated to the awesome orange chair, leaned back and enjoyed the rest of my writing session.

This morning, I went into my favorite Starbucks and placed my order. I walked to the back of the store to retrieve it, but something was wrong. There was too much space.

The awesome orange chair was gone. Seems it didn't fit with the corporate furniture restructuring plan.

Do I send another email? Suck it up and say "Life is full of changes, deal with it?" Ask my doctor for a prescription to help me deal with the anxiety caused by the removal of furniture to which seems to have become an integral part of my writing life?

I suspect I know the answer (and it's not #3).

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

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