Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Why I Hate Starbucks This Week

I sort of hate Starbucks this week.

Some weeks I hate Starbucks because of the amount of times I find myself drawn to their caffeine like a drug addict looking for a fix.

Some weeks I hate Starbucks because the allure of a girly frap calls to me like a bug zapper to a mosquito.

Some weeks I hate Starbucks because I looked at my American Express card and found I'd spent more money on coffee than I had on my wedding.

But this week I hate Starbucks because they bridged a gap between strangers.

Huh?  Allow me to explain.

Perhaps you've noticed that many Starbucks locations have started shifting over from a whole bunch of small tables to a big conference style table and a few smaller tables.

My first reaction - this isn't a freaking board meeting at The Silent Partner Marketing.  It's not a high school study session (ok, it's not SUPPOSED to be).  It's a place where I can come have a cup of coffee in private.

Or meet with my attorney.

Or my financial advisor.

Or my new employee.

Come to think of it, I guess Starbucks IS sort of a board meeting.  And the realization hit me this week that perhaps Starbucks is more forward-thinking than some of us are.

I didn't feel like driving all over the state the other day, so I asked several clients to meet me at Starbucks for back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings.

I was more wired than the George Washington Bridge by the end of the day.  But that's not my point.

My first meeting was with my life insurance guy.  He sat down at the table with me (there were only two other small standalone tables - neither were available).  We immediately looked at the people sitting on either side of us and started laughing.

"Well, this sure will make talking about your death a little awkward," he commented.

I stopped laughing.  I didn't realize we were talking about my death.  The conversation turned slightly awkward.  I realized he was perhaps correct.  

So then, of course, I was mad.  How about a little privacy, you brewers of liquid heaven?  I started wondering if perhaps they were all employed by the NSA.

Pause.  Let's flash to a scene from the show Blue Man Group.  It takes place in a coffee shop...and there you see countless people - surrounded by people - but all living in their own bubbles, talking on their phones...typing on their computers.  People...surrounded by people...but not talking to any of the real people.

I'm thinking Starbucks executives went to see Blue Man Group and were sort of freaked out.

Ok, back to my meetings at Starbucks.

By the second meeting, we started joking with the people next to us about how awkward it was to be sitting so close.

By the third meeting, we were sharing pastries.  BY CHOICE.  .... I know, right?

By my fourth meeting that afternoon, I was exchanging cards with a teacher, a social worker, and a web developer - all of whom were planning on attending a networking group that several of my clients and I are all part of.

When my meetings wrapped up for the afternoon, it hit me.  Perhaps Starbucks had found a way to bring humans back together again.

What about you and your business?  Are you forward thinking?  Are you willing to risk ticking people off....if ultimately it will bring your customers to a better place?

Contact The Silent Partner Marketing today.  Find out about the crazy risks WE'VE taken to help our clients grow.  Sometimes it's the most outrageous marketing that works.

On February 18th, The Silent Partner Marketing will be hosting a FREE seminar at The Manchester Chamber of Commerce in Manchester, CT from 8:30-9:30am.  It's called "The Duck Dynasty Dilemma".  We'll explore what to do in the event of a "public relations outbreak"...and look at some outrageous marketing that's worked.

With that being said....thanks, Starbucks.  I hate you this week.