“The culture of the coffee-stop empire.”
This is just an observatory piece of being at a Starbucks on a Friday night in the T Dot. My unorthodox biz partners & I, decked in modern hip-hop attire; hoodies, loose fitting jeans, and portable mp3 players walk into a Starbucks in one of the moderate-to-affluent parts of our city (* Note, I don’t know about your city, but there are no Starbucks in our hoods). Naturally, when 3 big black guys walk into such an establishment, there are the usual quick glances away from us, and awkward pauses in their conversations with each other. Which I understand, sadly, because you know, we are out of our element – however I’m not writing about that … been there, done that, ya dig?
So after getting hot beverages that were obtained/stolen/exploited from Africa (topic for another day), we sat down & got to business. After getting work done & cracking jokes, it hit me that this Starbucks was jumping: big line-ups & the cash register, friends coming in rocking the Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and American Eagle, and dudes rocking the California Beach Boy look that Starbucks is into a bit more than selling coffee. Some patrons were studying amidst elevator & jazz rhythmics, while other patrons were discussing the previous week’s events with their friends. What was interesting, besides the fact that they were predominantly white, is that they dressed similar, represented the “Millennial” generation – cohort 1 & 2, and all embraced & understood (consciously or not) the point of this piece. Starbucks is not about selling coffee, Starbucks sells social experiences. People literally were dressing up, pulling up in upscale vehicles, and not just to order marked-up coffee, but to meet friends, gossip, engage each other, pretty much to ‘connect’.
This is just my logic of the $7.8 billion dollar a year coffee shop, and why they nicely decorate their interior with earth tone colors, play non-popular music, and use distinct language (grandé, tall).
So now I guess I know why they looked @ us the way they did; its not the usual racial prejudice mixed with a dash of stereotyping.
We did not fit in with their social experience & the cultural norms that come with it.
But F*** ‘em anyway, I’m about re-defining the box, not assimilating to it, bitches!