It may not be true of all Starbucks, but the one I often frequent—the Eagle Rock Starbucks—has the most interesting, and often bizarre, stream of people. It’s a symptom of the world around this Starbucks—semi-suburban but mostly urban. So the people streaming in and out of this Starbucks are a broad cross section of humanity.
- Doctors, nurses, and interns on their way to or from their shifts at the nearby hospitals and clinics…
- Homeless citizens, seeking a few moments’ reprieve from the elements… or a nap.
- Fellow work-at-home types, such as myself, who don’t know better than to work at home and vie for their favorite seats…
- College students, virtually counterbalanced by their stacks of text books, also vying for their favorite seats…
- The retirees and gainfully unemployed who gather daily to chat or read or stare into space.
- The rushers—those who screech into the lot, sigh exasperatedly when there’s a line at the register, order their regular, and dash back out to the commute…
- The networkers—real estate agents, wannabe actors, insurance salesmen, and multilevel marketing folks—identifiable by their unnaturally friendly demeanor
The ethnical, socio-economic, and religious diversity is something to see, especially if you’re a Midwesterner. Again, definitely a big city thing.
- Spend an hour sitting and listening, you will likely hear conversations in up to seven or eight languages. Among the regulars are Hispanics, Armenians, Japanese, Koreans, Persians, and an Italian or two. Pretty much like the neighborhood.
- And in that same hour, you see many people praying and having Bible studies (there’s a lot of big churches nearby, including Christian Assembly), men wearing the Jewish yarmulke, Jehovah’s Witnessers in their suits and short hairstyles, coming in for a caffeine pick-me-up before they hit the streets again,, Muslims reading or discussing the Koran, fortune tellers, and professing atheists.
- The normal crowd during any hour reflects a diverse range of rich and poor, including a few homeless folks—those who work to “blend in” to the clientele and those that are not at all capable of blending in because they are truly off their rocker—a lot of businessmen/women types, and some folks who appear to be extraordinarily wealthy, judging by their jewelry.
Mind you, this is not just about the Starbucks in Eagle Rock—almost any Los Angeles Starbucks store is like this, to my experience, until you get further out into the ‘burbs.
So any hour I’m here and need an entertaining break for work, all I have to do is pull my focus away from my laptop PC and look around.