December 11, 2008

"Sleeping at Starbucks. That takes some will power, huh?"

Says Crackskull Bob, thinking about all that caffeine, drawing furiously.

In fact, every time I go to Starbucks -- almost never in Madison, but frequently in less well café'd cities -- there's a guy sleeping in one of the chairs. I've seen men sleeping in those upholstered chairs for hours -- undisturbed. Seriously, it's as if that Starbucks logo is a hobo symbol for "nice place to sleep."



Original George said...

Starbucks stock is down 53 percent this year. And down 76% since 2006.

Who's got the money to buy the equivalent of an ice cream cone every day--at Starbucks or any other coffee shop? The place is a candy store for adults.

Same with Whole Foods. Give me cheap vegetables coated with bug spray. Screw organics.

Ron said...

"As a cafe, you're a great place to take a snooze", is not a concept that great ad copy is built upon!

MadisonMan said...

I do not buy vegetables at Whole Paycheck. My vegetables come directly from a farm via a CSA. If anyone can do this, they should. Our last delivery is next weekend. Then it's back to frozen corn and frozen beans and canned tomatoes 'til Spring and new Spinach.

My daughter loves Starbucks, but I prefer Barriques or Indie, or Michelangelo's if I'm on State Street shopping for Christmas presents.

joemillerjd said...

Borders and Barnes and Noble had the same problem. A lot of them have removed their chairs. In D.C., the Borders on 14th St. NW requires customers who want to use the bathroom to go get a token from the cashier in the cafe. You insert the token into a slot and the door opens. I guess some of the places have also become a nice place to sleep ... and bathe.

ricpic said...

Before the mania for busyness took over America there were several peaceful places, in New York at least, where an out of work drifter could take a comfortable mid-day snooze: Horn & Hardart (the automat); Bickford's; for respectable little old blue haired ladies there was Schrafft's, and Childe's. No more tolerance for peaceful failure anymore. What a nightmare withitness has made of the country.

knox said...

You never see women sleeping in public like that. Get a room, guys!

knox said...

and wipe off that drool

Tibore said...

"Seriously, it's as if that Starbucks logo is a hobo symbol for "nice place to sleep.""

Well, that would be Starbucks' own fault then for imaging (yes, "imaging", not "imagining") their stores not as restaurants or "service" locations, but rather as places where people can relax and take a break.

But such behavior doesn't bother me personally. As long as a Starbucks doesn't become some places where real hobos decide to snooze (like my city's public library), I'm perfectly fine with the occasional customer taking a nap. At least Starbucks is way more comfy than, say, a McDonalds or something.

MadisonMan said...

I always look askance at those upholstered chairs and couches at Coffee places. Who actually sits in them? How often are they cleaned? They seem like lice magnets to me.

Nothing like a hard wood chair to prevent the tell-tale itch.

MadisonMan said...

..and not one minute after posting that, I scratched my head. Admit it -- you just scratched your head too.

rhhardin said...

You have to drink a lot of decaf to stay awake.

1jpb said...

I know someone who told me that Starbucks has a policy of giving ice water in a plastic cup with a straw to anyone who asks for it. She thought that this give-away was inspiring folks to be homeless because they could get free water.

Of course I ridiculed her ridiculousness.

I'm sure this sleeping stuff would get her going again.

But, being able to sleep at a Starbucks is not a likely motivation for homelessness. And, I've personally witnessed a homeless person (the only recognizably homeless person I've ever seen at a Starbucks) being kicked out of a Starbucks, so there must be some limitations.

bearbee said...

I've never been to a Starbucks.

**WHAT! You've never been...**

You heard me. When I want coffee I take 5 secs, grind my own beans and brew.

With rising unemployment Starbucks might start to review whatever its policy or lack is regarding sacking out.

**Brother can you spare 3 bucks for an expresso?**

re: hobo symbols, interesting. The book with intro by R. Buckminster Fuller has 2 "You can sleep in the hayloft" symbols. The 2 kind lady symbols could have been merged into one - cat plus sympathy symbol.
Henry Dreyfuss was an industrial designer of some of American iconic products of the 30's, 40's & 50's. Died in 1972 in joint suicide.

Contents probably need updating for technologies since the 1970's - computers, Internet, space travel, genetic coding.

swag said...

Great post.

It's Starbucks -- can you say naptime?!

Bissage said...

In these trying economic times, recent studies have shown that Starbucks customers least likely to hit the tip jar are the very same ones most likely to fall asleep and spill their loose change into one of those upholstered chairs.

PJ said...

Just like on Highway 5, the Burger King sign equals "restroom".

former law student said...

As Tibore points out, the puclic library has been the hobo club for decades. In my hometown, the room in which they would congregate to play cards or board games (available from the Circ desk) was unfortunately across from the Children's collection. At closing time, a tall, muscular, security guard would sweep the patrons from the library to prevent overnighters.

The NYT (was it linked here?) had an article a couple of weeks ago about how the Nyack Starbucks turned the chair of regular patron Fleming Taylor into a memorial. FT was not a vagrant, but a valued member of the community. He held court there all day.