02 December 2008
Over the summer, I relocated to a farming community in southwest Virginia. Around the middle of August, the Starbucks that'd been under construction finally opened, to much rejoicing. I've spent many a dollar and hour in that store, enjoying a lovely beverage and the fast internet.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we drank up all the ground coffee at the house. Heading into town to get more on Saturday night, we managed to show up 15 minutes after the store closed, just as the workers were about to leave. We'd assumed they were open until 11pm, not 10pm, on a Saturday. We were wrong.
Nonetheless, a worker named Thomas sent his coworkers on home, dragged me into the store, and insisted on grinding the 2 pounds of coffee I was in need of.
He gave them to me on an IOU, since the registers had been counted and closed. I returned the next morning to pay my coffee debt, after enjoying some of the fresh-ground joe.
Sure, it's sometimes fun to demonize the corporate coffee culture, but at least the Wytheville Starbucks feels like a local coffeeshop, populated with our neighbors on both sides of the counter.
I'd wanted to praise Thomas to the store manager, but I've missed him every time I've been in since Saturday. So I figure a blog would suffice, too.
Of course, this happened after we'd spent the holidays driving down to Georgia and back, stopping not once, but twice at Starbucks that had been shuttered. Billboards along the highway still proclaimed "Exit here, turn left!" But it turns out they were billboards of disappointment, as those stores had been downsized in September.
I was glad to return to my hometown, neighborhood Starbucks.