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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I’ve spent the last 3 days sitting in a Starbucks for 4-8 hours at a time. As a result, I’ve observed a lot of interesting behavior and people (most of whom were uninteresting themselves.)

One of the things I’ve noticed is that most people don’t sit down. They come in, get their drink and go. The ones that do sit down, stay much longer than it takes to consume their drink. The drink is just an incidental purchase. Certainly not the reason they are here.

Most of the people who sit also have laptops. Probably around 75%.

Only a few have kids (with them) but the ones that do, have very small kids. Toddlers or younger.

Of all the “campers” only a small percentage are wearing headphone, presumably because A) external noise doesn’t bother them or B) they aren’t working on anything important.

My buddy George falls into category A, but he grew up in a house full of people. Silence freaks him out far more than noise.

My brother and I, on the other hand, were both only children and don’t handle noisy distractions well.

He needs it quiet (like a tomb) and I need music. Go figure… I can listen to Britney Spears mixed with Apoptygma Berzerk and Anthrax and crank out 30 pages, but if your toddler is banging his spoon on the table, you’re getting a dirty look… unless I have music, then all is right with the world.

Anyway, enough about me.

Most of the people who come in as a group are smiling when they enter. Half as many are smiling when they leave. People who come in alone typically aren’t smiling at all.

The average age, over the last three days seems to be early 30s… with a couple of senior citizens and teenagers at either end of the curve. The teenagers almost never stay. They have better stuff to do on a nice day. The senior citizens are split nearly evenly between campers and in&outs.

Most of the non-solo campers have 1 person with a laptop, while the other reads the paper or a book. Some campers bring multiple laptops… but only really look at one of them.

This Starbucks has a drive through. The line is almost never more than 2-3 cars long but apparently a lot of the in&out people would rather come in and stand in line behind (up to) 5 people.

The music in here sucks. My musical tastes can best be described as eclectic to bad, but I can still get work done (see above.) I find the music in this particular Starbucks to be discordant and jarring.

At this Starbucks, the coffee lingo is apparently something that is meant to occur between employees only. The nice lady at the counter can handle orders in plain English and translate them to Baristaspeak (Baristese?) quite efficiently. If you order in Baristaspeak however, she will look confused and repeat your order back to you in plain English to confirm you actually meant what you said. Then she will say it in Baristaspeak to the lady making your drink.

Nobody in this Starbucks (other than the Baristas) makes eye-contact… at least not with me. Of course that may be indicative of a separate issue. ;)

Posted on Monday, May 31, 2010 11:10 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks

# re: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks
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and what exactly does this have to do with anything computer related.
Left by jason ory on May 31, 2010 12:51 PM

# re: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks
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"My brother and I, on the other hand, were both only children"

Ummm, yeah. :)
Left by Jim Perry on May 31, 2010 1:10 PM

# re: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks
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Jason: when did I ever say this was a purely technical blog?

Jim: Yup, true story. We're far enough apart in age that neither of us were children at the same time.
Left by Chris G. Williams on May 31, 2010 8:32 PM

# re: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks
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People don't make eye contact with you (and I have this on the authority of an official NYC cabbie) because you are going to hell.
Left by Steve Evans on Jun 01, 2010 2:26 AM

# re: Observations From The Corner of a Starbucks
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Interesting observations, I find myself looking for flocking behaviors when in large groups. Started being more interested when I got involved with a user group.
Left by Jay Smith on Jun 03, 2010 7:23 PM

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