Decaf Day Care
“St. Arbucks is like a box of Forrest Gumps.”
One day it’s filled with tourists just passing through. The next it is an invasion of college athletes in town for a game. Then yet another day and the place is converted into a Daycare Center for stir-crazy, caffeine deficient Mommies and their little children of Beelzebub.
Yesterday morning I arrived a bit early for services and sat there sipping and chatting with The Usual Suspects. Commuters on their way to work and the proto-human who runs the fast-food spaghetti hovel across the street came through. We also saw a few teens drop by to get their morning sugar fix, priming themselves for an assault on Daddy’s Visa card at the mall.
At about 9:30 AM everything changed – the rush was over and things were quieting down – a more comfortable environment for us geezers and neo-codgers seated in the corner. Then it happened.
They came in through separate doors within a minute of each other: two late-20ish women, each with kids. Little kids – just beyond toddlerhood.
They sat at opposite ends of the store. We were trapped.
One Mommy had a boy who looked uncannily like a young Opie Taylor. We were all informed that it was Opie’s third birthday as he made the rounds, going up to everyone. He was intent on licking his cake-pop. He was unclear on the concept and would eventually be surprised when the soggy thing would plop to the floor.
His problem – not mine. Sometimes you need to learn the hard way.
With him was a tiny girl whom I assume was his baby sister. She didn’t look that much younger than him. It must have been one heck of a delivery to pull that off. The little girl seemed happy to just stumble around discovering that the chair backs were right at forehead level.
The other Mommy, seated near the front door, had only one and a half kids with her – a red-headed girl who also looked to be about three years old and one kid still in the oven. Make that one and thirteen-sixteenths kids. Mommy looked like she was about to give birth to a Ford Crown Vic.
While the Birthday Boy was just wandering around the store fishing for birthday wishes, the redhead was intent on showing off her newest skill.
While her Mommy was busy timing her contractions the little Ginger was busy locking all the doors. We were all trapped like rats on an overpriced beverage cart.
I had plans for the day. I didn’t want to spend it all digging an escape tunnel.
The kid’s locking trick was discovered when a potential customer tried to come inside. This was not part of the Starbucks business plan, I’m sure: “Lock customers out of the store in the rain while a three year old takes hostages.”
The Mommy got up, with difficulty, and unlocked the door. After the customer came in the little brat quickly locked us in again.
Seeing this go down, one of The Suspects checked and found the other door also locked and flipped the latch.
This game went on for about five minutes with the kid relocking and our Suspect unlocking. Finally Great-Grandpa Suspect had taxed his Pacemaker to the max and, as the evil demon spawn child headed for the door again, he looked her in the eye and said, “That’s enough. Go sit down.” A retired Marine knows how to give orders.
If I had been standing when he said that I would have grabbed the nearest chair. The short Satan Incarnate reversed course and went and sat near her Mommy. Mommy looked a bit surprised, not displeased, but like, “Why didn’t I think of doing that?” showing on her face.
I’m wondering if that whole thing was some sort of Customer Service Tolerance Test. How much would the customer swallow before a SWAT Team was needed? Within two minutes after The Order was given and ALL the kids took their seats the Mommies gathered up their broods and broods to be and hit the road.
The next time some of the Corporate Suits are in the store I’m going to ask them about this.