Greetings from the Bizarro World Starbucks.
I have an interview this morning in the West Shore area, so I'm writing this post from the Starbucks at the corner of West Shore and Kennedy boulevards, instead of my usual haunt on South Howard avenue in South Tampa.
What a difference a few miles makes!
At the South Tampa shop, tables are filled. People chat with friends, meet with business partners, sit alone and read the newspaper, or work on their notebook computers. It's a lively place. It hums.
Here, the line seems twice as long -- and the shop is nearly empty. People come in, place their order, linger for a minute or two while their drinks are made, and then bolt out the door. It's a busy but lifeless place.
What's even more bizarre is the number of children I've seen here. Not teenagers, but middle school kids. Their parents pull up in SUVs and wait outside as their children buy frappucinos and lattes. I've never seen anything like it. I didn't know the Hannah Montana crowd was also into caramel macchiatos. With their drinks in hand, these kids tumble back outside to be chauffeured to school by mom or dad.