Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Coffee Shop Chronicles No. 25

I was hoping for a day of clear roads and no precipitation in the air so I could make a trip into the city. So far December is being much kinder than November was in the weather category, so I was able to make the trip. My destination was the big shopping mall that has a Starbucks located in the very center of the mall. It has good viewing vistas in every direction making it perfect for writing and people watching.

On my way into the mall I ran into a friend of mine from book club who had just finished her morning walk around the inside perimeter of the mall. It was lovely to see her and chat for a few moments. Although if she knew that I was going to write about the people at the mall she would probably be very happy that she was finished with her morning walk.

I was torn when I first came into the mall between going straight to the Starbucks to get a table before the opening of the store grids and gates at ten to see if there was a mad rush of people to get that shopping done early and quickly. Or stopping first at the Apple store before that got so crazy busy that you can barely squeeze in the door. I needed to pick up car chargers for Mallory and my new iPhones. The new phones hold charge better than our old 4s' but it is always good to have a car charger, especially with Mallory traveling across the cellular black hole of the Upper Peninsula. In the end I chose Starbucks and the opening of the gates over the Apple Store. I would risk my life and sanity a little later in the morning for the car chargers.

Although it must have been a little slow at the Apple store, since Apple employees in singles and pairs kept wandering into Starbucks to purchase their morning dose of high octane caffeine.

Lots of older people at the mall in the earlier hours of the day. All of them mall walkers. One particular gentleman caught my eye. He and his gentleman friend sat at the table right in front of me. I am quite certain my gentleman of interest has Parkinson's disease, I recognized the arm and hand tremors. His friend took care of getting his cream and sugar for his coffee so he didn't have to worry about carrying the cup. They sat and chatted for a while. When they were done the gentleman's friend was going to set off for home while my guy was going to do a couple more laps around the mall. Inspiring.

I had a couple of destinations in addition to the Apple store but they were for everyday necessities like mascara, books/magazines, and a quick stop in Victoria's Secret. I have most of my Christmas shopping done already thanks to the power of the internet. Having worked retail for a number of years I try to avoid the busy stores during the holidays as much as possible. One quick trip through Pottery Barn was also on the agenda. I love browsing through that store. Lots of lovely decorating ideas and I saw a cute little mercury silver egg cup when we were at the mall a couple of weeks ago that may be calling my name.

If you have read a few of these Coffee Shop Chronicles you will know my love/hate relationship with technology and the cell phone in particular. This edition has a classic example. The lady in line in front of me at Starbucks decided to call someone on her cell phone shortly before it was her turn to order. She was already laden down with three large shopping bags. She must have hit the stores that opened early before stopping for her morning hit of caffeine and then continuing on to the rest of the stores once they were open. She stayed on her phone while she ordered, briefly pulling the phone away to speak her order to the gal behind the register.  As soon as she ordered she was back on it, handing over her credit card as payment so she wouldn't need to speak to the order taker again. Her drink came up the same time as mine did at the pick up window. She stood blocking the whole pick up area, still on her phone while trying to put a sleeve on her to-go cup with one hand. I may have slightly bumped into her while trying to retrieve my Chai Latte. Oops. When I use to work behind the retail counter and people came up to check out while on their phones, I chose not to greet them because I knew they weren't listening anyway. When it came time to tell them their total, I would say it very loudly. I gave a sarcastic edged thank you as they left the store, still on their phone. I know I was rude but they were being just as rude. Kindness is returned with kindness and rudeness is returned with rudeness. As you can guess I don't miss working in retail, especially at the holidays.

I was super unimpressed with Starbucks' presentation of my warmed Michigan Cherry Oat Bar. It was warmed just fine, but then plunked into this brown paper bag and tossed/handed to me over the counter. Then I had to dig the warm gooey mess out of the bag, use the bag as my plate, and use my fingers to break it up to eat it. Failing grade on presentation!

By eleven o'clock the mall was starting to get busier. Moms with little ones held by the hand and pushing strollers were gravitating to the children's play area which was right next to the Starbucks. I was never one to let Mallory play at those things. Too many germs all over the place from the drool and snot of other playmates.

A group of older ladies sat down right behind me. I wanted so bad to turn around so I could see them but I had to be content with just listening. The most adventurous one of the group was saying how she forgets that she is old and shouldn't be doing things like downhill skiing, jumping out of planes or joining the grandkids on the bouncy slide, but then her body jarringly reminds her that she isn't young anymore. She still walks and bikes all the time, and yes even joins the grandkids on the bouncy slide despite occasional body protests. I want to be like that when I am in my 70's. Hopefully with the time I put in at the gym, plus walking and hiking I stand a pretty good chance at joining the grandkids on the bouncy slide.

In case I don't make it back before Christmas, I wish all of you the happiest of holidays and a very Merry Christmas.


  1. Good morning, Sarah,,,,,,, well that was quite the adventure! I am not a shopper but my curiosity peaked when I read Pottery Barn! I have not been to one of these stores for years. When our son lived in Iowa, there was one in some small town and I always enjoyed a walk through seeing all the unique things they offered. Love your rudeness when it comes to people on the phone LOL.....
    Thanks for sharing and your pics are great!!

  2. What a great morning you had. Your observations about people on the phone are right on. I used to be one of those people always on the phone and checking emails, but so happy I am no longer there. A coffee and people watching is now just fine with me.

  3. I know how you feel about avoiding those mall crowds. I am a big internet shopper also. Wishing you have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. I'm glad the weather cooperated and you got your day in town. The mall is a great place to people watch for sure. I, too, am annoyed at people who stay on their phones while talking with waitstaff or anyone else, really, when their focus should be on whoever is helping them. It is very rude. Merry Christmas! I hope you and your family have great Holidays!

  5. Can't remember the last time I went to the mall. Perhaps my daughter and I will go sometime during the season. We don't go to shop, just to people watch. Most people seem to be in a festive, happy mood despite long lines and rude people talking loudly on cell phones.Great post! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. I can see you at the counter Sarah, I too can't abide the phone mentality, it appears to me so rude. I don't regret not working in retail either but I so loved borrowing books from the shop so I recommend titles it was a dream job.
    We don't mall shop as such my town has nearly everything we need. Although Bath now has an Antro so a trip maybe in the new year.

  7. Just thinking of Christmas and the mall makes me panic! I think cell phones rank right up at #1 for being the rudest thing every invented! It's almost like people panic if their phone isn't up to their ear! Annoying for sure! Love you chronicles today. I hope you will be back before Christmas, but if not...have a happy one!

  8. It really makes me annoyed when I see something doing that with a mobile phone. Usually I will make eye contact with the server and then we have our own private joke about the person who is being incredibly rude. People like that are so full of their own self importance. Ok, rant over :-) The Mall looked so inviting... maybe because it was empty, but I can't wait for them to be like that again instead of having to sharpen my elbows to protect my personal space. I do hope the Apple Store was kind to you and you enjoy playing with your new toys (and the charger)! Have a wonderful Christmas to you and yours xx

  9. I try to avoid malls whenever possible - they motivate me to not procrastinate...thus allowing for me to order on-line and have the time to await the delivery. Another great read. Merry Christmas to you and your family too.

  10. I tried christmas shopping last week and just got totally overwhelmed the minute I stepped into the shopping centre! hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to more wonderful photographs from you in the new year

  11. Starbucks has 'consistency' as its main objective anymore - plates are a thing of the past. I used to walk the inner parameters of the mall every so many mornings with a friend. She bailed out on me, I joined the gym and haven't looked back - but I do miss seeing the array of people coming into the mall that early and love the elderly putting forth the effort to get/stay in shape. A body in motion ....
    Agree about the cell phone usage and lack of courtesy - I like that the local post office has a sign that states if you are a cell phone they will proceed to the customer behind you.

    Hopefully will hear from you before Christmas - but in case; Merry Christmas and Happy New Years.

  12. I want to rent a bouncy slide for my 70th birthday party! I just hope I will be able to join in the fun as the grandma in your story does. :) I am going to skip the jumping out of the plane though, I have never been one for falling long distances. I never let Megan play in those mall playgrounds because of the germs either, I am glad I'm not the only one. Now I have passed that on to my daughter, she carries hand sanitizer in her purse at 13. The phone thing bothers me for a whole host of reasons...
    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

  13. Love the Coffee Chronicles . . .
    I will not be joining the "baby great grand" on the slide . . . still active and able but not doing that. Skiing . . . maybe!
    I am so disgusted with cell phone, texting, social media junk right now that I am ready to give it all up.
    How rude and arrogant . . . talking on the cell phone, in Starbucks, place full of customers!
    I talk about "giving it up" but everything seems to be connected by phone these days. I think I must be having an "old person" bah humbug, something or other MOMENT,
    Merry Christmas Sarah . . ,

  14. Merry Christmas Sarah. I've missed reading the chronicles.


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)