Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Humor in the Stars, Buck

Seldom do I go shopping, but today I went to Eastview Mall in Victor, NY for something specific.  Victor, NY is saturated with upper middle class snots, and Eastview Mall is where the "upscale" stores are in the Rochester area.  Whatever. 

In the center of the mall is a Starbucks.  Ever since I didn't get hired by them, I've pretty much boycotted Starbucks.  That's not hard to do since their coffee tastes like burnt cardboard on a good day.  Just my opinion, but taste buds tell the story.  Do I sound bitter?  Almost as bitter as their coffee! 

Anyway, I was in the mood for one of those green icy thingys they make at Starbucks.  So I waited in line with the snots and their snotty offspring.  When my turn came to place my order I asked the "barista" if they still made those "green tea slappychinos".  Without breaking a hint of a smile, he said to me as if he thought he was being educational, "We make a green tea FRAPPAchino."   I said to him, "That was a joke....nevermind."  I asked for a large.  He rephrased that by asking me "You mean 'Grande'?"  If anyone needed to be bitchslapped it was this guy.  Let's call him "Buck".   

There were three of these "Starbuckians"  working today.  (YES, they're called that by corporate, but that's another essay!)  And NEVER once did I see them smile.  Not once!  Guess their sense of humor is in the stars. 

Two years ago I was in a local Starbucks.  The three following pieces were written with a sense of humor as I sat and observed the surroundings.  It was part of my research.  After all, I was to have several interviews with the company at that time.  Guess I wasn't "Starbuckian" enough. 


Rick Baker 
July 15, 2009
Rochester, NY 

Note:  All three selections from the chapbook "manic muse and other observations", 2007.


at the fancy coffee shop
a patron watches a barista 
whip up her beverage 
then asks if it has cream 

to which the barista says "yes" 
to which the patron says "oh" 
to which the barista asks 
"did you not want cream?" 
to which the patron replys
"I really wanted soy, but that's ok" 

at which point I considered 
the stupidity of the exchange 
since neither woman really knew 
what soy is and the damned drink 
was being poured into a 
freakin recycled paper 

and anyway, 
I prefer my coffee 
in fine bone china 
half and half 

Poem © 2007 by R. Burnett Baker 

100 teabags 

writing my name on a cup: 
a ploy giving appearances 
of exclusivity to my tea, 
costing more than 100 teabags 
at the grocery store. 

taking money at one end of the counter 
and handing over my drink at the other end: 
making simple process 
a ritual, an added value. 

I passed the grocery store 
to validate pomposity
simply because I'm 
too lazy to fill a cup 
myself and push the 
microwave button. 

all at the same 
end of the counter. 

Poem © 2007 by R. Burnett Baker 

talking business 

a man slurping latte 
engages a woman
at the table, latte too, 
both with pens, paper 
and notepads, talking 

she in stretch pants 
and rubber slippers. 

he, white shirt and tie, 
full and stuffed 
in his suit. 

she counting calories 
in a plastic dome-topped 

he, like June, 
bustin' out all over. 

Poem © 2007 by R. Burnett Baker 
All photographs © 2009 by R.Burnett Baker 

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