Tuesday, August 09, 2005

That Person at Starbucks

The best advertising happens naturally.

I walked past a Starbucks last Friday. It was the usual city street Starbucks--three or four tables outside a store front. Two or three people were sitting at two of the tables. A young woman, sitting alone, was reading a newspaper. She was at the end table. On her table was an empty cup, the plastic lid stuffed inside. The young woman looked like she belonged there, reading her paper in the afternoon sun, perfectly lighted facing west. Sleek black pony tail, silky-smooth skin, twenty-something with just the right sunglasses, she was a photograph waiting to happen. Heck, she was everything a young single in the city wanted to be.

I had fleeting thoughts about her as we walked by. I wondered whether she lived in the neighborhood. Did she come every day to have coffee and read the paper? Was she waiting for someone? If I lived closer, I reckoned that I'd probably end up writing a story about her.

That was Friday. This morning, I thought about her again. I thought about her, the guy outside the Starbucks in Pasadena, the person in San Antonio, and several others outside several other Starbucks stores. It seems that every time I pass Starbucks, someone is sitting outside reading a newspaper--most often at the table at the end. This person is usually finished with his or her coffee. Always the person is a perfect representation of the demographics of the neighborhood.

This person always catches my attention because I'm going somewhere, and he or she is reading the newspaper. I have to admit, this person also catches my attention because I wonder whether I would be able to stay to read a newspaper after I'd finished my coffee.

Unconsciously I've been aware of this pattern for some time. Is this some kind of Starbucks thing? Are they hiring people to make the place look relaxing? The light goes on. This person works for Starbucks. HA--this must be where the Starbucks folks take their breaks.

The person with the newspaper could be strategic--maybe the staff is asked to break there to make the store look inviting--or a happy accident. Either way, it's brilliant subliminal advertising. I had constructed an entire back story about that girl with the newspaper. I had feelings about her. She had become a person to me.

I said she was she was a photograph waiting to happen--everything a young single in the city wanted to be.

I wonder if she knows how much coffee she sells by reading that newspaper.
—me strauss Letting me be


Anonymous said...

And you said you walk faster than me?
Brilliant observation.
Visit my blog and type "Viga" in the search box. It's a little ditty about a lunchtime thingy that happened to me. Similar, in a different sort of way.
Very cool, Liz.


"ME" Liz Strauss said...

Hi Michael,
Happy weekend.
I'm not sure I walk faster than you. I'm not sure I walk fast at all. I'll be over to check that out.