They’re remodeling a Starbucks near our house. There’s a dumpster out front filled with a bunch of debris that’s been removed from the store, and a trailer that apparently houses tools and remodeling accoutrements, and the baristas and loyal Starbucks patrons are jockeying for position amidst the ongoing work and materials — because coffee consumption obviously can’t be sidetracked by mere remodeling efforts.
I mean, really remodel. Because every Starbucks I’ve ever been in — and for that matter, every coffee house I’ve ever been in — has pretty much the same kind of decor. The layout might differ, but in terms of look and feel they’re incredibly generic, no matter whether you’re in New York City or Podunk Gap. Along with the odor and sound of ground coffee, you can expect to find basic lighting, some overstuffed armchairs occupied by people checking their smartphones as they sip their cold brews, a few table and chair sets where somebody is tapping on a laptop while listening to music, and utterly forgettable wall art that typically consists of large black-and-white photographs of coffee beans or coffee bean bags or growing coffee plants or coffee warehouses. Starbucks and coffee houses aren’t exactly triumphs of bold interior decorating.
So what are they going to do in this “remodeling”? Move the comfortable chairs to different positions or change their colors? Reconfigure the tables? Replace the old bland coffee-themed art with new bland coffee-themed art? I’m not sure that Starbucks patrons would welcome bright colors or radical furnishings or “accent pieces” that they might stumble into during that early morning, bleary-eyed run for the first cup of Joe. But then again, they might not even notice the changes, because coffee house customers tend to be pretty self-absorbed when they’re retrieving their lattes.