While I understand that Starbucks does some great things for its community (this was pointed out by a writer and mother when I once bitched [strong word] about the coffee on Facebook), as a coffee aficionado (or snob, however you’d like to put it), I’ll be the first to admit that, though I drink Starbucks coffee for convenience, it is overpriced for what it is. I am not a morning person, and don’t particularly like being yelled at by a bunch of green-aproned happy people that have had at least three too many shots of espresso before noon.
In comparison, I love the unique styling and architecture of independent coffee shops in Southern California. Sometimes they have live bands or poetry, and they always have art unique to the next. The coffee tastes even better than the scent filling the cracks of the wooden pallets for walls inside, and its usually priced around the same as your local Starbucks. The baristas are just as kind but genuine, which is what counts, and the coffee (not the frappa-whatever but actual real coffee) is consistently something to look forward to.
Unfortunately for me, I don’t shop at Urban Outfitters in an effort to clothe myself. My Nike-wearing (I know, I know), Honda Civic-driving, anti-cigarette-smoking (I vape) self does not fit in at such places. I would compare it to going to Rodeo Drive in your pajamas, but the truth is that people treated me better when I did that than when I walk into an independent coffee shop. People stare; they scoff at you if you are not dressed in something you made, something your grandmother made, or, something you bought at Urban Outfitters. I don’t know when societal standards became so dependent on what a person wears, but there it is. The only place I get treated worse is in Corporate America, and that says a lot from a millennial, whose demographic believes Corporate America is the worst fucking hell on earth.
After experiencing this stigma – I guess? – in about pretty much every coffee shop in Long Beach, Silver Lake, and everywhere really – except one coffee shop in particular in Fullerton (everyone at The Night Owl is welcoming, down to earth, and really fun to talk to) – I am actually afraid when I walk in the doors of any non-Starbucks in Southern California. Not afraid in the physical sense, but hesitant to go at all because I don’t want to deal with the bullshit of these hipsters – or whatever it is they are calling themselves these days – and why they think it is okay to treat people, only buying coffee, like shit. At this point, after going through the same experience hundreds of times with countless shops, I don’t necessarily know what to do about it other than to write to create awareness and hopefully get through to the offenders the fact that this is not okay, and it is fucking coffee. Who cares?
Your average-looking person likes good coffee too, you know. And we – people not only like me but my boyfriend who has spent his whole life here, grown up and spent money here contributing to local businesses and who is an alumni of the university here – don’t deserve to be ostracized from a society of which we are citizens. If you want to talk about feminism and civil rights and whatever else you talk about that lifts you to that pedestal you are sitting on, let’s first talk about how you treat people, and the reality that that fact alone is what reveals what kind of person you really are.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.