Sunday, May 2, 2010

Empty Hands

It's Sunday May 2 and some 20 towns in our area are under a "Boil Water" order because of a major water main break in Weston, Ma. This means the polluted water (they do keep working to correct this) from the Charles River is now mixing with clean water supply. It's a mere trifle in the world of woes around the planet, weather-related or caused by humans. But it is striking in some ways. To wit.

We open at 9 a.m. on Sundays. By noon our two trashcans at the front door are already overflowing with empty coffee cups of an amazing variety. Mind you,we have Starbucks on one side of us, Peet's on the other, Dunkin' half a block away, ditto Panera - just to name a few of the local "watering holes". Today, nary an item in our trash. None of the restaurants can make coffee because they cannot boil water in any quantity. We might have empty water bottles in the trash, as usual, but for the fact that the two CVS stores and Walgreen's and everywhere else are already empty-shelved on that score. I'm picturing fleets of Poland Springs trucks clogging the highways coming down from Maine.

I walked over to our bank to put the deposit bag in the overnight vault and was quite amazed by all the empty hands I saw. We have heavy pedestrain traffic in our area on any day. Today is sunny, 80 degrees and the weekend. Normally, one would see literally hundreds of folks strolling with their beverage of choice. It's quite amazing, this change. I think it must mean something major about our society. I saw one woman in Starbucks pretty much flipping out with the Barista. "If I don't care about taking the ecoli chance, why should you??", she protested with arms akimbo. There's now a sign on Starbucks' door saying they are closing at noon. Wise move.

So now I'm wondering about two things. What if all the money spent on all these bought coffee drinks went to good causes? Same thing with all the bottled water. Wow. And if most of the population drank a heck of alot less coffee all day long, would there be less road rage, rudeness, lack of consideration for others and lots more civilty, do unto others and kindness?

I like a cup of coffee as much as the next gal, but brewing at home or in the break room is a nice alternative to the buy it elsewhere habit. I guess I just hadn't totally grasped how big a piece of modern culture the specialized coffee thing has become. Reading about the successful purveyors of it is one thing. Seeing it completely missing like this is another. As I look out over the store, I realize that a huge percentage of our customers are always coffee or water in hand as they browse. Today, inside the store and out, everyone just looks really different.

This must be a "duh" moment for me, not exactly like an "aha" moment but similar.

p.s. We did fill our dog water bowl for out front from our water cooler and put a sign on it to say so. This is a big dog neighborhood, after all.


Marc said...

I think that's great - putting out a bowl of clean water for the pups. Even as a non-dog-owner, it really makes me feel good about my community when I see local businesses putting out bowls. And to do it during this crisis, that makes it that much nicer.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how some people are willing to give up their Starbucks to save money, and some people need to have it wrestled from their cold dead hands. It's times like these where my heart goes out to the baristas, who are undoubtedly just following management's insistence that no matter how adamant the customer is, you are not allowed to poison them. Even if they beg.