I learned the news just this morning. My favorite barista let me know. She, of course, is worried about her job. I, of course, am worried about her job. But I'm even more worried about my java.
Nearly every morning for the past several years, I have walked weary-eyed to this store on 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill in Seattle, plunked down whatever the asking price was, and returned home with a grande to help face my day. It was habitual. It was ritual. It was even — family? OK, maybe that's a stretch. But there are undeniable bonds that do result from daily drop-ins. (Barista: "How was your trip?" Me: "Great. Wonderful time. Can't wait to go back. Only, the coffee was lousy.")
Mine is one of 19 outlets in Washington that the company now says it can live without. The official phrase is "under-performing."
What is closed-store customer to do? I suppose I could trek the extra few blocks to the next-closest Starbucks. I'm lucky there is another not too far away. Or am I unlikely to do that? Maybe that's why mine is under-performing. How come that one doesn't get closed instead? The problem is that I've already tried that store, and I don't like that store. I like my store.
I guess there is another option. I could get off my coffee high horse; I could stop nit-picking the quality of the beans and the way they are roasted; I could quit obsessing about how capitalism often squeezes the good guys; I could finally break down and take my business to — an independent coffee house. There's one just down the street. Unlike my Starbucks store, it's doing just fine.