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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Down and Out in Starbucks

There is a nation of men and women who live in Starbucks now. They sit in the corners and read or don't read or they face the window with some monster red drink in front of them like a chalice or they talk on the phone or they sip and sip and sip. And then they get up and walk around or go outside for a smoke but they always return to the same chair in the same corner or on the same couch and they are always always always there. And they do not deviate. They are down and out in Starbucks.

You may think they have somewhere better to go but they do not. American society is strangely intolerant of people who have nothing to do. Or are unemployed. We are Puritans and we believe work is next to God and if you work and are successful then so much the better. But if you don't work then you have a basic problem. Where to go for eight hours while the rest of the world works. This is no small problem, because if you are at home then you feel your failure mightily. So you go to the only office that will still have you, Starbucks.

And some would say oh well they cannot be doing too badly to go to a Starbucks. So they have a few bucks for a cup of coffee. So what. Some of them just sit and don't order anything. The point is there are not just a few of these people there are thousands and thousands. And they are not just the unemployed. They are the quasi employed, the partially employed the under employed, the 1099 employed, the part time employed.  They are the redundant males and the females who stepped out when they had children and could never get back in. Or they are people who have been marginalized by a 1099 society and no office is offered and work is sporadic and health care non existent. They do not commute. They have no where to go but a coffee house.

America has no patience for those who cannot make their way. Look at our current climate. If you don't think Social Darwinism is not making a comeback with Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney then guess again. It is survival of the fittest and there are few places to hide for those shamed into the marginal twilight zone that now exists in our Eat What You Kill new economy. So if you cant find a table or a chair, rest easy. At least you have somehwere to go.

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Books by William Hazelgrove