Last week I alluded to an incident at a local Starbucks but didn’t have the time to write it all down on Facebook. So, I’ve decided that whenever something like this happens, I’ll just add it to a new section: “Tales from the Bux”.
It was a normal day. I dropped the kids off at school and headed to Starbucks for a couple of hours of writing time. I sat there with my headphones on drowning out the horribly slow jazz remake of a popular 80’s song. (Seriously guys, it was so horrible, my mind has completely wiped out what song it was.) I was working in Photohop on some images for the TradeWinds resort post.
I’m in the middle of editing shots of my kids playing on the beach and listening to some good music when I was pulled from my revelry by some loud talking coming from somewhere behind me. I slowly turned to see an older man leaning over a table and saying something. I was annoyed at the interruption, but since I am a writer…and I’m nosy, I took my headphones off to hear what was being said.
“No. All we want is our table!”
Well, that was far more interesting than anything I had going on at the time, so I turned to watch the drama unfold.
Here is an over simplified map of the layout:
So, the four tables in the “Danger Zone” have all been pushed together to form one large table. Sitting at that table were two ladies and three kids. They had papers strewn over a couple of the tables, but there didn’t appear to be any reason for them to take up THAT many tables. I was feeling bad for the two guys standing there all table-less.
Man 1 – “You did it again! You always do this! You come in here and take up all the tables!”
Lady sitting at the head of Danger Zone Table – “What do you want from me?”
Man 2 – He leans in all dramatic. “We want our damn table!”
I had a coupon for a free drink sitting in my bag, so I was going to go over and give the coupon to one of the men, to let them know that I thought the excessive use of tables was a bit excessive…and to see if I could defuse the situation. I got up to get a refill and walked over to the Barista Zone. Then, the poor lady making the coffee had to inform Man 1 that they were out of whatever he was ordering for the day. I watched his reaction to that, and decided to keep my free coffee coupon in my pocket. I quietly ordered my refill (which, then, allowed me to stand a little closer to the Danger Zone while I waited for my drink.
Basically, Man 1 was livid. Man 2, while angry, was just trying to keep Man 1 from chewing on the wooden counter top. The ladies at the ‘mega table’ in the Danger Zone continued on with their morning like nothing happened. It looked like it was all just going to fizzle out and everything was going to go back to normal. I grabbed my coffee and went back to my seat.
Then, Man 1, deciding he hadn’t had his pound of flesh yet, walked over to the ‘mega table’ and started wagging his finger at the ladies. “You know, you do this every damn, day. You take every table in here. I’m sick of it! I’m calling the manager.”
The women (and kids too!) managed to completely ignore this man’s existence. His rant was about as a effective as a mosquito fart in a hurricane of indifference.
He grabbed the phone and presumably called the manager. Then, one of the baristas walked into the back of the store and brought out an official complaint document for him to fill out. “Yeah, that’s right. I’m filing a complaint against you. You can’t do this to me any more!”
Man 2 just stood at the counter, silent and horrified.
After Man 1 finished his complaint form, he walked over to the ‘mega table’ again.
Now, it must be noted that by this time, three other ladies and their kids had come in and sat at the table. So, we’re at like 5 ladies and 6 or 7 kids. (All of which were amazingly quiet.) The ‘mega table’ looked cramped now. Lesson plans were scattered across every surface, as the ladies planned and scheduled stuff.
So, Man 1 has his phone in his hand and is waving it in the air. “Just so you know, I just called the cops.”
Finally, the lady sitting at the head of the ‘mega table’ looked up. “Good. Thank you. I’m glad you did that, so I wouldn’t have to.” Then, like a battle-hardened general, who through years of warfare has developed the ability to ignore the zing of bullets as they pass overhead, she looked back at the group and carried on like the man never happened. It truly was inspiring to watch.
Now, because the object of his ire won’t pay attention to him, he finds a place to sit in the ‘chair section’ and he begins to talk copious amounts of smack about the ‘mega table’ and every woman sitting at it. Then, he starts going off on the Starbucks and its staff.
By this time, I’m talking with the lady sitting next to me. She’s a barista, but it’s her day off and she’s up helping someone with some homework. So, you know, she knows these dudes. She rolled her eyes. “They expect us to reserve a table for them. I keep telling them that we can’t do that. They get angry because they are regulars, but I tell them that everyone who comes here deserves the same treatment and so we can’t reserve tables.”
I heard a few “Back where I’m from..” and “When I was a kid…” and “You just don’t do that…” sort of remarks. The lady he was ranting to seemed to be uncomfortable with the whole thing. I mean, can you blame her??
Turns out, he wasn’t making an idle threat. The dude actually had called the cops. And apparently made a big enough of a stink over the phone that they sent THREE CARS to investigate. One officer, I’ll call him Officer Lucky, sat outside and talked to the baristas. One officer, I’ll call him Officer Really Dodged a Pile of Poo, got to drive away as the other two officers had it under control. Then, the third officer, I’ll call Officer Hero, came in to interview the ‘suspects’.
Officer Hero walked up to the ‘mega table’ and began talking to the lady at the head. Man 1, got up and walked over with a shit-eating grin on his face and put his hand out and began to introduce himself. Officer Hero, without even looking at Man 1, pointed back to the chair Man 1 had just vacated and said, “You, sit down. I’ll talk to you in a minute.”
Man 1 stood there for a solid 5 seconds with his hand still hanging in the air, waiting for a warm handshake that was never going to happen, as he processed what he had just heard. Finally, disbelief washed over his face as he lowered his hand and walked back over to the chair he had been sitting in.
After he finished talking to the lady, which took all of two minutes, Officer Hero turned to Man 1, who had now regrouped with Man 2. It was a total defensive move. Man 1 was miffed at being rebuked earlier and needed his teammate to bolster his courage. The only problem was, Man 2 looked like he just wanted to crawl under the bar and disappear.
The officer went over and asked a question. He got an answer. Then, as Man 1 tried to elaborate and tell his tale, Officer Hero shut him down. While I don’t know what was actually said, I do know that Man 1’s body language was not happy about it. He kept pointing at the ‘mega table’ and waving his hands around, only to have Officer Hero look at him, causing his gesticulations to halt.
Man 1’s shoulders slumped. Man 2 stood there impassively sipping his coffee. Then, Officer Hero turned and walked out.
Man 1 called out behind him, “Well, I’m sorry to have wasted your time, then!”
Then, Man 1 and Man 2 stormed out. Man 1 giving a dismissive wave of the hand and a few last unkind words to the baristas and the ladies at the ‘mega table’ as he stomped off into the day beyond. As they disappeared into the parking lot, he was still waving his hands around and talking up a storm. Man 2 walked beside him with his now-cold coffee in one hand and an unread newspaper tucked under his other arm. I felt bad for Man 2. His home life must be a day-to-day struggle to mend the crazy Man 1 spreads.
The women at the table, finished their lesson plans, completely unfazed by the whole ordeal. LIKE A TABLE OF BOSSES.
Turns out, the man had called the store manager, the district manager, and the regional manager. The barista was worried she’d get in trouble. I told her that if her manager had any questions, to come to me. I’d go to bat for her. It wasn’t needed. She didn’t get in any trouble over it all.
And today, as I came in after dropping the boys off…there sat the same two men, happily at their table like NOTHING had ever happened.
I mean, seriously, you call the cops to a place of business, raise hell, torment the other customers…and then come right back like nothing happened? I wouldn’t be able to show my face after something like that. But then, I’m not batshit crazy, so there’s that.
And thus ends, another episode of “Tales from the Bux”!
Update: I just found out that the reason they sent three squad cars was because the lady called the cops first because she was tired of the guys harassing her while they were trying to work.
Also, if you have a ‘Tale from the Bux’ you’d like to share, shoot me an email at diaper(dot)daddies(at)gmail(dot)com!