May 16, 2013
Dirty Diapers In Denver
After a five-year tenure with the Starbucks Coffee Company, I can confidently say I’ve seen my fair share of odd human behavior. I’ve even leveraged this experience to write long, bitter tomes about coffee shop etiquette (what to do and not to do) when visiting your local caffeine haven.
I’ve seen customers set up gigantic, 27-inch iMac computers and hole up for hours. I’ve had to confront a gentleman and ask him to kindly refrain from viewing pornographic websites while within eyeshot of other patrons. I’ve even seen more in-the-wild nudity while wearing my green apron than I ever thought possible.
That’s why the latest scandal du jour to burn through the Internet does not surprise me in the least.
Last Friday a mom had a little problem on her hands; namely, her son’s stinky diaper. Without a changing table in the bathroom, the mother decided to change her son’s diaper in the cafe. In an interview with the Denver CNN affiliate, the mother claimed she performed the task as quickly and discreetly as she could, essentially saying that a mother’s got to do what a mother’s got to do.
As you might imagine, an open diaper did not go unnoticed by the Baristas behind the counter and, according to the boy’s father, an employee cruelly tossed a rag at the family and told them to clean up their mess when they were done.
That’s when the father thought it best to escalate the decision by throwing a tantrum (one I’m sure his diaper-wearing son would be proud of) and knocked his Venti coffee with extra sugar on the floor.
“And I said make sure you clean that up,” said the sophomoric father.
From there, some words were exchanged, some birds were flipped, and the police were called.
Nothing happened, of course. No arrests were made and everyone went about their day. CNN interviewed the family and they, as you might expect, are quite upset. So is Starbucks HQ, who (and I know this for a fact) never enjoy having to clean up the mess made by hourly retail employees.
Those are the facts as stated by the CNN story floating around the web.
But this is a blog, and therefore I’m free to speculate wildly based on little more than my own anecdotal experience, so let’s dive in, if you’ll pardon the pun.
CNN didn’t locate what might be the most important piece to this puzzle; did the family drive or walk to Starbucks?
Had the family driven, then changing their son on the cafe table where people eat, drink and often sleep, only becomes a fraction of a percent less deplorable than it is. Had they driven, this family had absolutely no excuse to remove their son from the car only to take him into a food service establishment and release his fecal bacteria into the air. There’s a reason bathrooms (at least, the only bathrooms I frequent) have doors. Human waste is a burden we all must bare, but we must bare it in secret. A mother’s instinct will kick in and make them do some odd things, for sure…but I can think of several other alternatives this mother could have chosen before unwrapping her sons diaper amongst the caffeinated masses.
And what of the father?
Call me old fashioned, but if I knew my wife needed to change my (imaginary) son’s diaper I wouldn’t have first bought a coffee and then proceeded to leave her to fend for herself.
Assuming every other alternative had been dismissed and the table was her very last resort, the father could have at least provided some cover.
Unfortunately, the father did probably the worst thing in this situation; he overreacted when his family was caught doing something they clearly felt guilty for.
I once had a father come through the drive thru window and spin me this glorious yarn about how my store had previously screwed up his order of six (count ‘em, six) Venti Strawberry and Cream Frappuccinos and wanted them replaced. According to his story, we had given him all hot drinks and he simply didn’t notice till later. As he’s telling me this obvious lie (it’s the oldest trick in the Starbucks book), his young son climbs to the front of the pickup behind his father, looks me in the eye and starts shaking his head and mouthing the words “Daddy’s lying.”
When I refused to give him some $35 worth of free beverages, he began to cuss at me, suggesting I “buy a razor and cut that red *expletive*” off my face. He meant my beard, something I am quite proud of.
Which is all a lengthy way of saying:
Look, when you know you’re in the wrong, just humble yourself and admit it. According to the angry parents, the employees in this situation were not very friendly, which is unfortunate.
But had the family picked another location, preferably one that didn’t serve food to change their kid’s dirty diaper, none of this would have happened.
And guess what? Dumping your Venti coffee on the floor and demanding an hourly paid employee to clean it up is exponentially more demeaning than asking you to clean up after your hasty diaper change. Being handed a towel and asked to clean up after yourself can be misconstrued in a number of ways, and following this incident, it makes sense that this family felt as if they had been treated poorly.
Dumping a 20 ounce coffee with extra sugar (it’s ALWAYS extra sugar) on the floor and demanding to have it cleaned up will never be misconstrued as anything other than a big “F You.”
I hate that this happened to you, Denver Family, but if it weren’t for the father’s infantile explosion, we wouldn’t be talking about this today.
I think now might be a good time to revisit my earlier “King of the Coffee Shop” article to include a clause about excrement and urine in the cafe. Sadly, I have experienced both elements in my cafe, though they were left by an adult human who, how should I say…Cut and Run shortly after. It was, perhaps, one of the worst nights of my life.
Image Credit: Photos.com