While waiting in line at the Midtown Starbucks on 45th and 5th Avenue, I couldn’t help recalling a conversion I had just had with a classmate this morning.
We were discussing the noticeable increase in Starbucks lines and speculating what’s causing it. She suggested that the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) is to blame — the increased demand for espresso based drinks has caused people to wait longer in lines. I suggested my weird and elaborate theory of the coffee shop migration patterns of New Yorkers — clearly, still working out the details. Clearly the PSL theory is more plausible.
But standing in the stagnant line a new theory came to me: The Tourist Effect. Simply put, tourists take longer to order; therefore, neighborhoods with more NYC landmarks (Midtown, SoHo, FiDi) are apt to have longer and slower moving lines. I mean no prejudice or xenophobia, but generally tourists are less familiar with the Starbucks menu and more likely to run into a language barrier with their barista. The result: confused baristas, longer lines and frustrated New Yorkers.
The Tourist Effect was in full swing today at this Starbucks. I helplessly watched as the young woman in front of me struggled to place her order and the barista put his best ear forward. You want an iced tea with mocha sauce? That was his best guess and all I needed to know that I’d be here a while longer. But, alas, after a few more trails and errors she was able to order her drink and me mine.
Now I sit here and overhear similar situations play out every 5-10 minutes. And the line just keeps on coming. Luckily, half those who enter are deterred once they realize this Starbucks has no bathroom. And probably this fact alone protects the long teal sofa and high chairs from being overrun with squatters.
Fortunately, this Starbucks has plenty of shopping right outside its doors. You know, just in case you need some retail therapy to help you cope from the stressors of long coffee lines.
The Location… Just north of Bryant Park in a retail filled area of Fifth Avenue.
The Seating… Two sets of high bar seating and one long teal sofa.
The Line… Long and slow moving.
The Size… Just big enough to fit the tangled line.
The Restroom… None.
First they gave me a green tea with sweetener when I asked for unsweet, then they proceeded to make an order of five other drinks before I had to remind them I was still waiting.
Drink of Choice:
Grande Iced Green Tea.
Overall Starbucks Rating:
A Fifth Avenue Starbucks with quite the line.