I have written extensively about Starbucks; their missteps and their triumphs. When I recently wrote about Starbucks on Burbank Blvd in Sherman Oaks putting up “No Smoking” warnings on their outdoor porch seating area, I even heard back from corporate. Gwen J. from Starbucks customer service wrote me a note thanking me for my observations.
Where is the same treatment in Old Town Pasadena?
This Starbucks on Colorado Blvd in Old Town Pasadena is in a busy area with plenty of foot traffic. Just today, on a beautiful November day in Southern California, I happened into this Starbucks to get some work done. I walked right past the Old Town Pasadena Starbucks “NO Smoking” sign and I noticed an elderly man with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. This man was probably in his 70’s and as soon as I saw that he had in fact lit this cigarette, I alerted the baristas on shift.
I’d have to call their reaction annoyed at kindest. I alerted them, “That man sitting outside has a lit cigarette.” They gave me such push back! It was 2:45 or so on a Thursday afternoon; there were three baristas working (that I could see) and maybe 10 – 12 customers in the store. Sitting. No one to wait on, no drinks to make, the counters were basically clean but the two girls in the front were aimlessly wiping down the counter. I’m not going to say that there were no customers at all and nothing to do because I’ve worked in a Starbucks before so I know the drill; but it was not so busy that someone couldn’t have taken the 20 seconds and shot out the door to ask the man to respect their sign!
“Oh, it’s just an old man!” one barista said to me. as though because this old man made it so many years as a smoker that he should be allowed to cut my, and everyone else’s life a little shorter by spewing his smoke and ash into the air. When I emphasized the point the boy behind the bar approached the counter and said with finality, “Well, that sign is just a suggestion. We can’t control what people do.” Just a suggestion?!? So why in the hell would you even put it up?!
The old man sat out there and smoked his cigarette slowly. I didn’t want to get him riled up when I tried to snap a photograph but I was able to get this attached shot in covert. He was in the seat just next to the door of Colorado Blvd Starbucks in Old Town Pasadena and as I’m writing this he’s lighting up another cigarette. And the baristas aren’t doing anything about it. After 25 minutes of smoking two long filtered cigarettes (while I was there; he may have smoked more before) he got his cup, got his cane, and hobbled off. 25 minutes of customers going in and out.
Where is Jennifer Vanderpool, district manager of Starbucks Coffee shop in Old Town Pasadena? Where is the management or working staff at Starbucks Coffee when a customer says something about something going on that shouldn’t? Where are the rest of Starbucks customers up in arms about this? Why can’t people do what they say they are going to do; if you are going to put up a sign that says, “No smoking within 20 feet of entrances, exits, and oberable windows,” by golly, enforce it!