Updated December 14, 2008.

December 14, 2008

AARRGHH!!! I KNEW IT!!! I knew it. Ever since the announcements of the U.S. and Australian implosions, I was sure that Britain, with over 600 scores, would be facing an implosion too. I just hoped that it wouldn't happen 'til later in 2009, but my hopes were in vain.

Starbucks to close outlets as UK loses its taste for premium coffee

Now I'm really between a rock and a hard place, because I already had hopes of finishing up outstanding stores in the U.S. west during Christmas while also trying to play in a big 6-day Scrabble tournament. Would I have to abandon those plans to travel to the UK instead???

November 28, 2008

For only the second time since 1999, I did not take a Thanksgiving road trip to visit Starbucks. Instead, I just headed down to Chicago to kill time while waiting for my weekend tournament in Elmhurst. One upside of Starbucks' lower U.S. growth rate is that I can now do what I've been hoping for years, spend more time getting better photographs of old stores.

November 22, 2008

At Rebecca's request decided to try a local coffee shop, Atomix at Damen & Chicago. Not nearly as good as Starbucks.

November 14, 2008

Had my most hectic Starbucking day since my summer tour. Left work on Thursday afternoon for Mississauga, Ontario, but I detoured 80 miles to Fort Wayne and then detoured again to Rochester, NY. I was fortunate to not be detained at the border because I barely made it to the eight Starbucks I had planned from Hamilton out to Whitby. Those eight, plus two more I'd visit over the weekend, plus one downtown only open weekdays--that was eleven stores that had opened in just three months. No matter what was happening down in the U.S., Canada is booming. This worries me, because I've got a mess of stores I've not visited in BC and Alberta, and I fear a Canadian implosion.

November 9, 2008

OH... MY... GOD!!! OH... MY... GOD!!! OH... MY... GOD!!! After a cloudy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, the sun finally came out just as I was leaving Minneapolis. Had it remained cloudy, or been raining or snowing, I would not have detoured to Woodbury to rephotograph several stores, and I would not have thus discovered that I had never visited the Lifestyle Center store!!! I had visited Tamarack Village twice by mistake!!! Furthermore Lifestyle Center was going to close. Talk about a freaky break. Had it not been for the sun, I would have missed that store, because in three years nobody had ever alerted me to my error!!!

November 7, 2008

Finally decided to make the 120-mile (from Minneapolis) drive up to Baxter. I would have preferred to wait until my route took me west from Mpls, but I was too worried that the Baxter store would be put on a closure list at some point in the future. Burning a tank of gas now would be much cheaper than having to fly into Minneapolis in the future.

It was just my luck that the weather turned cold and snow and rain started coming down that weekend. This slowed me down considerably, and by the time I reached Baxter all the extra time I had hoped for had evaporated, and I was going to have to rush to make it to my tournament in time. I was thus already a little disappointed and not in a mood to be hassled, when I was approached out in the parking lot by a barista who wasn't even on shift.

Sweet lord, where do they find these people? The somewhat condescending barista annoyed the heck out of me as I was shivering in the cold, waiting for a couple of cars to clear the drive-thru window. She asked question after question, questions which I just wasn't in the mood to answer, and either she was oblivious to my disinterest, or she didn't care that I just wanted to be left alone. Ugh, but her whole tone was so condescending, even her initial queries of "are you okay? Can I call somebody??" Jeez Louise, I was just sitting on the curb. Didn't she know that you just don't hassle a black man for sitting on a curb--that's too evocative of the whole history of black men being harrassed, abused, beaten, and jailed for doing nothing more than sitting on a curb. Barack Obama might have been elected ust dayhs earlier, and Minnesota might have gone for Obama, that doesn't mean a black man can just sit his ass down in whitey-white Baxter, Minnesota, without risk of being harassed.

November 4, 2008

Dang, no shirt again.

October 28, 2008

No shirt.

October 4, 2008

Stopped at the Empire State Building store for coffee and had a moment of recognition by a partner who had seen my movie--it had been a while.

September 27, 2008

AARRGHH!!! I went back to Gull & Sprinkle for a non-snow photo and found a sign on the door saying it had closed! I asked at the Panera and was told it had closed the 26th, just a day before. Depending on what time, I could have been the last customer. The Ludington store closing had been reported in the paper, but it was too far away and closed too early in the day. Unfortunately, I saw nothing about Kalamazoo. It was still interesting to arrive at a store just after it closed--unlike the others I'd seen, this one was not covered it up with brown paper, and the Starbucks sign was still there. Fixtures could be seen thru the window, and the wi-fi still worked.

September 11, 2008

Suffered from strong allergies as I reshoot some stores, and I realized that I might have left my box of Puffs back in Houston. Aarrghh.

Wow, good thing I pulled up all my Tulsa photos to see if I needed any day photos. Turns out I needed 111th & Memorial, but I had not put it in my database. On the way I stopped at Subway to look for Urban Tulsa Weekly, and I decided to give Ron's Burgers and Chili a try. Not a bad burger, but heavy heavy heavy. I couldn't even finish half my fries or chili before feeling really bloated.

September 10, 2008

Cat and mouse games in Dallas as I finally got around to some long-needed reshoots of the stores in the downtown tunnels which are replete with black-clad security guards.

After meeting Howard for lunch, I debated whether I could reach Tulsa in time for a stop a China Moon, or whether I'd be better off just getting a massage in D/FW and reshooting a couple of stores. When I neared Plano and saw traffic slowing down just as the rain began, I decided I didn't want to risk speeding along US-75, much of which would be slow, to Tulsa. I didn't want to backtrack much, so I stopped at a Starbucks to see what I could find nearby, and I ended up stumbling across a very nice therapist nearby, and for a better price than I would have paid in Tulsa.

Since I wasn't going to make Tulsa, that left time for an obligatory stop at Casa Vieja, one of my favorite Colombian restaurants in the country. By the time I finished I determined that if I slept 9-10 hours, it was going to be light anyway, so I might as well stick around to reshoot some stores.

It wasn't that warm in Dallas, especially after the rain, yet I woke up around 12:30 with "the mighty thirst that water cannot quench." I ran up to the Tom Thumb and was surprised to find that it is not open 24 hours, but just until 1:00. Made it just in time to try something new, that Minute Maid pomegranate lemonade. A big bottlle of that stuff was a dollar cheaper than an Odwalla bottle half the size.

Scary dream, of smoke billowing from the hood of my car. A very bad thing when on the way to start a new job.

September 7, 2008

Had quite a scare today. I decided to purge my list of licensed stores (nearly 1000 were no longer listed), and while looking thru the resulting list I noticed Beaverton Mall. I was very surprised and immediately called the store to see if it was really licensed. No! It is company-owned! How did I miss it, I wondered, and would it be closing? The barista assured me the store would remain open, and I felt better when I heard that, but I still wondered how I could have missed it. Turned out the listing was just old. Beaverton Mall had closed and been replaced by a new location, and the listing had never been removed from the web site by the person who does these things. Grrr...

September 6, 2008

Another closed location, Shepherd & Farnham.

September 5, 2008

Despite having grown weary of driving around the country and feeling relieved, upon reaching Houston, about ending my trip and also having a job offer, Friday morning I woke up feeling a little bluesy. After four months of always going, going, going, waking up in a bed with no immediate destination left me feeling a bit aimless.

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