Starbucks Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Starbucks: call it the boon of late 20th century start-ups, call it the giant boot stomping upon the insectoid "Mom-and-Pop" shops of lore, just don't call your stockbroker. A scant few years ago, those white concrete bunkers etched with the telltale green mermaid logo were being erected faster than pixelized graphics in a game of Sim City. Now, the 'Bucks can barely keep the stores they already own opened. At least they can count on a growing need for dirt cheap housing in the next few years.

In my haste to wrap up the overly long entry a few weeks ago about the "5 types" of coffee shop customers that can be found scavenging the barren landscapes of superfluous American luxury (in search of uppers, no doubt) I left out the fifth and arguably most deadly offender:

The Venus Flytrap

Even the most seasoned service industry employee can be duped by this imposter, who, as the name suggests, seems as harmless and wholesome as a blade of grass until SNAP, you're struggling to break free as he suffocates you with insufferable time suckage. Male, 38-60, typically a family man traveling with Mrs. and the baby Flytraps. He seems downright salt-of-the-earth, nice, even patient.....but a little confused, innocent, perhaps. Tendency to posture with mouth agape, usually staring at a menu board with prices higher than he would prefer, a "please wait to be seated" sign, or any other inconvenient truth that happens to confront him while trying to avoid conflict with his tempermental flock of Traps.

Many a grown man has been reduced to this monstrous state, drowning every poor waitress and bag checker in an acid bath of whining and pleading that an exception to the company rules be made in sympathy of his plight. If this were a man begging for a crumb of bread to feed his starving family, this could be seen as an act of humble selflessness, a noble deed fit for a Dickens novel. Unfortunately, the Venus Flytrap has laid in wait only to open his jaws and beg for free ice cream for the brat that just smeared his scoop on the bathroom mirror, or to haggle down the price of a $2.99 smoothie because his wife won't finish the whole 16 oz. This guy's "bad hand" in life is that he got stuck with the kids on a Saturday afternoon, and was ready to hogtie them both and stash the bodies in a grain silo ten minutes after Mrs. Flytrap slammed on the gas and hauled ass out of the driveway.

Bummer, dude. No, you and your 10 relatives may not get into the sold out movie for free if you "sit on the floor" (yes, I did work at a movie theatre and yes, I did have to have this excruciating conversation). For the love of god, have some dignity man! Oh how life hath worn you down. If you had only stayed single, you could be cohorts with Renaissance Man as we speak, plotting out the next cultural revolution.

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