Infamous words when planning many first-time meetings.
Why do we do it? Why Starbucks?
Here are a few explanations/arguments (and rebuttals) that come to mind:
1) We’re all
2) It’s a WiFi Hotspot?
Very nice feature, but even McDonald’s even has WiFi now.
3) It’s chic?
It used to be, but now it’s more of a cliché.
4) There is one around every corner?
Very true, but please refer to Point No. 2 (and make sure you pay attention to my argument below)
Please….all you have to do is log-on to Pandora and type in Duffy Rockferry and you’ll be good to go.
By no means am I passing judgment. I’m the first guy to throw out those 4 ½ words: “Let’s meet at Starbucks.”
I’m just looking for a little clarity with a couple rhetorical questions.
Ummmmm…..negative, good buddy!
To a certain degree, I can buy No. 1 through No. 5, but “easy” is the last adjective I would use to describe the Starbucks’ meeting experience.
NOTE: I’m not talking about meeting your college roommate or sister, I’m talking about first-time encounters – whether it’s business related or someone you met on plentyoffish.com.
That’s an easy fix, though – just pick an obscure landmark near your desired location. (FYI: The more obscure the better.)
Figuring out who you’re supposed to be meeting can be the convenience killer. (Not to mention a potential powder keg of embarrassment.)
• “…I’ll have the 80-pound Weinheimer with a yellow cardigan on.”
• “…I’ll be wearing my butt-less chaps and a rhinestone tiara.”
I arrived a little early and did the “Starbucks Scan,” looking for anyone who might fit the profile of a BBBS interviewee. (Whatever that looks like.) During this scan, you also look for anyone not hiding behind their laptop, random eye-contact, and/or the slightly opened mouth that MIGHT actually utter your name.
Anyway, after I concluded that my appointment had not arrived, I posted up near the front door. (This is where you have “personal scans” with every single person that walks through the door. Talk about awkward – just a lot of random eye gestures and slight movements of the mouth to perfect strangers.)
This went on for 20 minutes – our scheduled meeting time had come and gone. (“Am I at the right Starbucks?”)
Finally, a young lady walked in – started a “Starbucks Scan” of her own – and I went for it:
ME: “Are you Stephaine?”
LADY (slightly relieved): “Yes.”
small talk, small talk, small talk
LADY (after placing her order): “My mom is probably going to show up soon.”
ME (a little confused): “OK…umm….I’d love to meet her.”
LADY: “Oh, she’s interested in insurance, too.”
ME (uncomfortably giggling and flashing a confused smirk): “What are you talking about? Insurance?”
LADY (laughing): “Stop it! Everybody in Texas is such a kidder. I think it’s….”
LADY (reaching for her coffee and still laughing): “Such kidders…”
ME: “Are you with Big Brothers Big Sisters?”
After several seconds of awkward fumbling – obviously replaying the last three minutes in our heads – we laughed about it.
Then, a gentleman with raised eyebrows and a slightly opened mouth approached.
“Stephaine?” he asked. “I’m Johnny Soandso from Soandso Insurance.”
The relief in that lady’s eyes was priceless – mainly because she got a one-way ticket out of Awkwardville.
Before they walked away, though, I told Johnny Soandso that he owed me for her coffee. Since he didn’t know – and/or care – about the uncomfortable situation we just lived through, he shrugged it off and scurried off to sell some insurance.
Then, my phone rang.
ME: “This is Drew.”
CALLER: “Drew, this is Stephanie with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I’m at Starbucks…”
ME (interrupting): “OK…which one?”
She was there when I performed my initial “scan” AND countless number of “personal scans.”
ME (gritting my teeth): “Really?….I’m here too.”
Something HAS to be done so
Let’s set some rules and guidelines.
Let’s implement a check-in system at the front counter.
How about a kiosk to make crude signs, like we’re waiting on a flight that just landed at DFW Airport?
You know what…I think we should get together and talk about it….let’s meet at…I don’t know…what about McDonald’s?