For tea tomorrow, a road acquaintance friend (RAF) will join me at Starbucks to use his gift card. The closest Starbucks location is inside a Safeway store. And that is the conundrum. My RAF may be allowed to help decide between the Safeway store and the standalone store which is another four miles. However, since I am driving, we will end up at the standalone Starbucks.
There are Starbucks in grocery stores and other retail outlets. When there is nothing else available, I do go to one of those locations to have my tea and use the (kinda free) Wi-Fi. The problem in grocery stores is watching the buggies loaded with items that really aren't groceries -- like three twelve packs of sodas. And nothing else. (Okay Lloyd. Stop there before going off on a rant tangent.)
With choices, my destination is a stand alone Starbucks. Sitting inside without grocery buggies passing by is a positive. An additional positive with the standalone Starbucks is the outdoor seating. Not great seating overlooking a river or something like this sunset desert scene.
The Starbucks seating is in front of the store with the cars parked less than 20 feet from the table. Not what I would consider a "quiet retreat". That location also tops the outdoor seating at the grocery store where that seating area is usually occupied by the grocery clerks on their smoke break.
There may have been others, but I recall only one Starbucks location where the outdoor seating wasn't on the sidewalk between the store and the parking lot or street. That one is the REI store in Denver where the outdoor seating overlooks Confluence Park on the Platte River. Away from the parking lot, their outdoor seating is a great place for watching people recreating on the water and bike trails or just relaxing on a sunny day.
People watching is also an indoor activity. Doesn't get much better than inside a Starbucks. Eaves dropping on conversations is entertainment and gives me a chance to make up stories. Certainly not scientific, but it would be easy to draw conclusions regarding the local demographics from watching the store's clientele: their age(s), their attire, their laptop, etc.
Whenever at a Starbucks, the baristas are fascinating as they make "the drink your way". Variations seem to be endless. Doesn't take much to spend $20. A mother or father arrives with two children. A fancy drink and a doughnut for each, the total will be close to $20 before the tip. And there was no table service. Perhaps Starbucks stock might be a prudent investment.
Not a big spender at Starbucks, my brewed mid sized tea is priced at about $2.20 -- depending on local sales tax. With that, I have justified my usage of their Wi-Fi.
Conundrum resolved. I'm driving. Tomorrow, RAF and I will have tea and coffee at the stand alone Starbucks.