Setting up shop at the Starbucks


Well, the other day I had an incredibly productive writing session. I wrote three blog posts, posted one and began notes on a fourth (this one.)

I was at Starbucks, in a comfy, brown, leather chair, with my chai tea latte. I was there a little over two hours. My doctor didn’t want me drinking coffee and I haven’t had a Starbucks line item in the budget for a couple years. However, I have come to the realization that I, like so many other Americans, can not function efficiently without the extra help caffeine offers.

When I was working in finance, every now and then I’d hit the drive-thru for my chai.  So when it comes to sipping inside a Starbucks, I’m a novice. I always get the same thing, but since I was in no hurry, I decided to stand and study the menu. I moved up and ordered my usual – tall, chai tea latte with two extra pumps. Since I was the only order at the moment, he didn’t need to ask my name.

While machines whirled, I started to survey the scene for the best seat. There was a two seat table in the corner, but there was a guy with his laptop at the counter. I felt like I’d be too close to him and perhaps able to see his screen. Just then two ladies left an area with four leather chairs and two low tables. I slid into the farthest chair, facing the door. Soon I had my beverage and was clicking away on my iPad. 3 coffee cups

I noticed some of the people around me. There was a multi-level marketing guy talking with a new recruit. She seemed very sold on the health products for her personal consumption.  I noticed though, every time he asked about talking with other people,  she had reasons why that person wasn’t a good candidate for the supplies. He seemed patient, knowledgeable and committed.

Closer to five o’clock things picked up. A large gentleman came in and saw a buddy in line. He began to excitedly tell the smaller man how he had sold a car, his fourth. I wasn’t sure if he worked at a dealership or was some sort of a collector.

A woman walking up to order was called out to by a leather clad man seated near me. She turned, hearing her name and greeted him. He asked her professional help on a land deal he was in the middle of.

Then two adult females and two bouncy children came and sat in my other three chairs. They carried on their mundane conversation about children’s sports schedules and keeping up. Sprinkled in was admonishment to the little boy not to push the table into my shin or knock my cup over. Eventually they shuffled off to Karate class, leaving half a table of crumbs.

I learned that the local Starbucks is something like a very comfortable, small office building. Drinking coffee was secondary for just about everyone there. Business was being conducted between friends. Networking was being done between  acquaintances.  Like the receptionist in the office lobby, the baristas welcomed the workers in and sent them on their way with a smile.

I’m thinking about leasing some office space.

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