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Monday, December 03, 2007

Starbucks - thanks, now get out

The Washington Post had an article about Starbucks booting some homeless people who liked to buy coffee and hang out. What's interesting is the changes they've made in the newly remodeled Starbucks near my house, clearly intended from an ergonomic standpoint to look great to people who just get their coffee and walk out, but to discourage anyone from lingering. In the picture to the left is what used to be a seating space with 4 or 5 standalone tables. Now, there's a section of high backed chairs with tabletops anchored in front. It looks nice, but it puts you at an uncomfortable angle leaning back - an awful angle, if you were going to type on a laptop. The other chairs are very uncomfortable after a few minutes... In the back, where there were originally comfy couches, they have a similar approach, with chairs that are now standalone, and lean back. I wonder if there's been a corporate directive of some sort, since the store was new enough that it didn't really need to be remodeled, to try and change the brand experience as people come through.



Blogger arsarca said...

hi there (came across your blog by accident)
i noticed a similar thing when chapters (i'm in canada) started its infiltration across the country. they'd install these comfy couches and armchairs, a gas fireplace with a big round table and chairs and a "please study here" sign (seriously) on the tabletop. a few times i actually sat down to read some books for free & realised that all the comfy chairs were immediately beneath speakers droning shitty music and sales announcements. then they took the chairs and the tables and the inviting signs out altogether-- i guess some earplugged students could still endure.
anyway, it's neat to see someone else noticing the contradiction between "public space" (not that any of these spaces are remotely public, they're just meant to *look* that way to paying customers) and the public.

4:00 PM  

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