Starbucks is Not Your Carry-Out Dining Room

Who doesn't love a picnic on a gorgeous summer day? Bonding with nature over a picnic lunch.

Or perhaps bonding with a chair on a Starbucks patio plunked in the middle of a parking lot.

From where Gut Check is sitting at this moment, drinking a Starbucks-purchased latte inside a Starbucks store, we see a disturbing sight: People at two tables on the business' strip mall patio are dining on food from neighboring restaurants. A family of four noshes a pizza and Crazy Bread from Little Caesars while four women polish off sandwiches and burgers from Culver's.

Starbucks -- or any other coffeehouse, for that matter -- is not a public picnic space. If you must eat outside, there's a city park less than three miles away. Even better, there are two beautiful state parks even closer. Wouldn't you rather enjoy your lunch among the chirp of birds instead of the cars in the drive-thru?

Starbucks can't do anything to run you off. An employee who wishes to remain anonymous tells Gut Check that it's company policy to look the other way when people bring in food from outside sources, even if that food finds its way from the patio to the interior. Last winter a Little Caesars patron sat in a leather Starbucks chair, placed his Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizza box on his chest and ate his smelly, cheap pepperoni within the walls of a business that isn't making pepperoni Frappucinos.

Distracting? Better believe it. It's also taking space from actual paying customers. (On the plus side, at least he wasn't hogging a table.)

Likewise, who's sick of seeing empty Starbucks cups littering businesses? It's not hard to find a trash can if you must haul a quart of rehydration with you everywhere you go.

All of this boils down to one problem: thoughtlessness. If you want to have a picnic, take a moment to consider an appropriate place that doesn't infringe on a business or its patrons. If you must take a beverage with you into a business, take a moment to properly dispose of your trash.

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