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Maybe I am just bitter because I can barely make rent working for independent mom-and-pop organizations, but I think the folks responding to “Camp Starbucks” (The Mail, 4/11) missed the point. In desperation for a paying wage, Amanda Ripley fell into the corporate sea that many in my generation are trying to avoid. It is not that we are slackers, looking for an easy buck; it is just that we do not want to wear a suit and look and think like everyone else around us. The paying wage seduced Ripley and others into doing just that, looking and thinking like every other worker at an upscale corporate food establishment (hence her amusing reference to her friend at California Pizza Kitchen). Quite possibly what she and I are none too pleased about is that one has to look and think like a corporation to get paid a living wage. While working for independent establishments (with the benefit of knowing one’s employer), one lives paycheck to paycheck, hoping against hope that no unexpected cost will pop up.
I work for an independent bookstore in Dupont Circle and a small dog-walking company in Adams Morgan, trying to support a writing habit. Now that a community institution in Adams Morgan will soon be replaced by a Starbucks, I worry about my counterparts who slop joe for independent coffee joints. A mom-and-pop pharmacy that had been on Columbia Road for 35 years has closed so the owners of the building could make room for a Starbucks. Adams Morgan, one of the places I value most in this city because of the varying languages, clothing, economics, and thinking all in one spot, will soon have one more corporate flag. This new Starbucks (in walking distance of the three Starbuckses in Dupont Circle) will join CVS, Boston Market, and McDonald’s in making Adams Morgan look like everywhere else on the planet.
The “Employment Opportunities Inquire Within” sign outside Starbucks has tempted me many a time, but thanks to Ripley I will stay away and keep my sanity.
via the Internet