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There's Always Something to Complain About

Saturday, 06:26 AM. Three minutes before opening time. The door is locked. So, noticing the pleasant contrast of the warm colors of the illuminated interior to the cool gray exterior I raise my Nikon, compose, focus, and press the shutter button.

 I’m about to reframe and shoot again, but I catch a movement in the corner of my eye. It’s a Starbucks clerk, waving her arms, talking. I go close to the door. She repeats something but through the thick glass I can’t make it out. I point to my ear, shake my head. 

She shouts: “You can’t take pictures of this store. It’s not allowed.” 
“Okay,” I say. “But I want to come in for coffee. It’s six thirty.” 
To emphasize, I tap my forefinger on my wristwatch. “It’s time.” 
“Give me a SECOND, okay?” she says, annoyed. 
“Fine.” 

I sat at a table, fired up my laptop. Sipped my coffee. That clerk who forbade me to take pictures then turned on the sound system. It played a lively, enthusiastic commercial for the Starbucks sound channel. Way too loud. And then she set to work slamming big plastic dishwasher racks onto a wheeled cart, one after another. 

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang, BANG. 

I flashed her a disapproving  glance. She saw my annoyance, and banged those racks even louder. 



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(Deleted comment)
No worries, I got the pic. Such as it is.

Sounds like America. And New York. Or Both. Or maybe neither.

And, "It's not allowed"? This little sequence never ends, does it? I can't speak for how things might be in Italy, but it's certainly the new mantra of America. Specifically, of Big MegaCorp America. (Actually, that's redundant.)

Always something to hide. Even if we don't have a clue what it might be, we have to hide it. Have to cover our ass, forbid everything just in case. No pictures, no samples, no movies, no recording. No record can be made that we ever even existed here, just in case ...

In case someone wants to sue us. Or try to prove that we wronged them, or maybe that we didn't live up to the promise our slick advertising made.

To which I gleefully give the finger and proclaim, "Too bad." You do exist, and the possibility of being recorded is the price you pay for it. It's the price we all pay.

You're exactly right, and I couldn't have said it better!

You can take pictures of a public building. How stoooopid!

Just goes to show you that Starbucks only hires the best and brightest, huh?

oh that's bs! you can take a picture of the store! crazy woman.

this had to be in my stupid land o' the free, no?
sounds too american, that girl, the loudness and the bang-bang-banging. oy.

What happened to Juan Valdez?

Which Starbucks is this? And why did she say you couldn't photograph it?

Somebody has a case of the Mondays!

This is the Starbucks on 57th Street, near Park. Juan Valdez at that hour had not opened yet! The difference between them is like night and day. And the coffee is a hell of a lot better at JV.

You wake up quite early, but there's no reason why they shouldn't be open at about 5:30 or 6 at the latest. People start showing up for work or at least getting out at that hour so I'm surprised that this was an issue.

If you're in midtown, you should be able to get pretty much anything you want, at any hour! Otherwise, what's NYC for?

Yeesh! What a way to ruin your early morning coffee time!

The rest of the day went OK. First chance I got I posted the pic & commentary. He who laughs last, laughs best.

i'm pretty sure she got it wrong; they can keep you from taking interior shots but not exterior.

i kind of miss grumpy new york service industry types. when somebody is making $7 an hour to handle cash at 6:30 in the morning i'm usually a little creeped out if they DON'T seem to resent it...

still, i suppose i generally kept my charming-face on when i was working such jobs.

It's a matter of character, after all.

Uhmmm, I think in Italy it doesn't work so. Or yes?

Maestro! In my six years in Italy I have NEVER, not once, experienced this kind of rudeness. On the contrary, no matter where I have gone in the country--from Pisa, Florence, Trieste, Venice, to Rome, to Naples, and then to Forio--I have always been treated like a welcomed guest. The warmth is both palpable and authentic. Even though it is perfectly plain to any Italian that I'm an American!

As I write it is 07:10 and I am online and my cell phone is on at my side, and I am WAITING for a little peep from that chick of mine. Have I ever mentioned that waiting drives me crazy?

Maybe she was unaware of the fact that Starbuck's has no soul to be stolen by the camera.


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