Though the vast majority of the snow is gone, there are still big ugly piles of it in empty lots. Arlene and I are really getting antsy for vacation. The last time we had any time off was last September. I'm sure all the snow in February exacerbated these feelings. Now it's true we have both been semi-retired for just about a year, there still is a period of lifestyle adjustment, at least for me. Now let me just say I know I'm just whining. I don't have any major beefs. Things could be much worse for me. Still I now work three days a week. That's four days off. There are days when I'm not really thrilled that I have to work the next day and then there are days when I don't mind. What the heck? I'm out at 2 p.m. Still 9' of snow in about five weeks had made things rough.
Every once in a while at work, the word gets around that the president is coming, no, not of the U.S. It is quite amusing to watch all the managers run around. All in a mild state of panic. "Dust this! Fill that shelf! Get rid of that! Samples! Samples!"
And it has been scientifically proven, by my reckoning, that in 82% of the time, they never show. The managers spend payroll that they've saved. The more they save the bigger the bonus check. I told my boss that I refused to get into tizzy. I've seen this routine many times over the years. I'll do whatever they want me to do I'm just not going to get frantic. It's almost like Paul Revere. The store manager (Now called a store director. Well pardon me while I play the grand piano.) should go about the store on a power jack shouting, "To brooms! To mops! The President is coming! The President is coming!"
As I was sitting home letting my car warm up before work, because we've still had below 30 degree mornings, my cell phone (a cheap one) in my pocket was apparently making a call. "What the #&%%**!!!"
I quickly shut it off. It appeared that my name tag was inserted between the flip phone. Somehow, just by my movement in the chair, the name tag pressed 3 buttons in perfect order. From picking the phone book, then picking a number and then dialing it.
I put the phone back in my pocket. A minute later my house phone rings. It's my youngest sister wanting to know if I just had called her. She was in the shower. She first called my other sister to see if she called. They then assumed I called and maybe "ass dialed". A term that I had never heard but understood what it meant. I however did not have the phone in my back pocket, I had it in a front pocket so I guess I thigh dialed. It is an exciting life.
I have never been to Starbucks and I never go to Dunkin' Donuts, well only if I have to. I guess I'm pretty old fashioned. I prefer a small mom and pop kind of place. The coffee is at least just as good and the donuts are always better instead of just being sort of doughnutty. The Dunkin's are everywhere around here. It's like a rash. Then we Have Starbucks. They've been around here for a while now. There's one in my store of employment. It always struck me as a bit pretentious. The "coffee Shoppe" for the hip people. Cambridge is the perfect city for Starbucks. Now I'm not saying all 100,000 people are pretentious, pompous twits, but there is a large group of them. Cambridge has its regular people neighborhoods but the influence of Harvard and M.I.T. is evident where I work. So we have a Starbucks in our store.
It's the hip place were you can buy a Venti (a large for us regular folks) latte for more than a gallon of gas at $4.60 something. The coffee sizes are listed as small, is a tall, medium is a grande' and large is Venti. I'll bet some people buy a grande' just because they like to hear themselves say, " I'll have a "Grahhnde'! ".
So Starbucks wants to introduce a dialog on race to it's customers as they buy their coffee and their little foo chi chi sweet. At least Dunkin Donuts still serves donuts, well they're donut like. So while a person is trying to buy their coffee the clerk, wait, I'm sorry, the "barista" is supposed to write something positive about race on the cup or engage you in a conversation.
Black people in particular weren't overjoyed with this effort. One woman said, and I'm paraphrasing here. "I don't have time to explain 400 years of history. Just give me the damn coffee." Well said.
Maybe this campaign was started with the best of intentions but if it was, it was shortsighted and naïve. Or maybe it was a deliberate business move and they misjudged their clientele. Maybe, or the company was more full of itself than they thought their customers were.
Here locally after the just mentioned episode comes the story, at least here, that Starbucks has been "redlining" certain areas of Boston. That is sectioning off areas where they won't build, or charge more. Banks are usually accused of this, concerning loans. Now nothing has been proven and little has been said of it since though it came to light within the last week. To be fair it is still just an accusation, but it has got people talking. At this point Starbucks doesn't need any more bad publicity. I personally don't care if a Starbucks opens up in my local square but it will be surely outnumbered by several Dunkin' Donuts, a breakfast place, an Italian pastry shop, a real donut shop and an ice cream place that serves breakfast. Then there are the restaurants, a roast beef place, a sub shop, Chinese and Indian restaurants and so on. It's pretty cramped there. So good luck to 'em.
To end on a more pleasant note here are two shots from Cape Cod.
I'm outta here.