It was 1996 and Starbucks had been open 25 years with only 1,015 stores and they just started selling bottled Frappuccino® coffee. I was in kindergarten when my dad would pick me up after school and take me to Starbucks every day, yes, every day! I remember getting out of class, and getting asked, “what do you want” or better yet, “a donde quieres ir baby?” I would reply with joy, “Starbucks and hometown buffet” (don’t judge). So that was my life. Every day after school we’d go get a coffee for dad and a hot chocolate for me, it was awesome.
I remember people watching, how stress-free they looked and how desperate I was to be like them. I saw women sit so poised with one leg crossed over the other sipping their coffee, so I obviously did the same, my dad thought it was the cutest thing. He then would ask, “quieres sentarte y cruzar la patita ” that means, do you want to go cross your leg? Sounds better in Spanish, but you get it. This was our thing, he knew I loved the ambiance, the feelings it made me feel, it was heaven to me. I don’t smoke cigarettes but man I thought the look was so awesome, smoking a cigarette while reading the paper and drinking your coffee…too bad they kill you, so I stay away.
For the next few years of my life, I think I grew obsessed. Something attracted me to Starbucks like they had this magnet and if I was around one I’d naturally end up inside. I went every day in middle school, introduced my friends to it, I went every day in high school, it was a huge problem…to my parent’s wallet. My mom sat me down once and showed me I was spending $350-450 a month and told me if I stop going, she will give me the cash instead. I took her up on that bet and lasted about a day, yea I know, how sad. I just couldn’t stop going, I was hooked. Sometimes I didn’t want an actual drink, I just loved the feeling I got from going like I was getting my “fix”.
So let’s fast forward to me being a young adult, I’m 25 years old now and pay for everything myself so yea, I don’t go every day, I wish I could but I also racked up my credit cards when I was young and dumb (eye roll) I know better now. I do drink Starbucks coffee every day but it’s made at home or the office, cheaper that way…trust me! But I treat myself 2-3x a week sometimes less.
So what this trip meant to me was EVERYTHING! When I found out that Starbucks started in Seattle, I would tell myself I’d go one day. Finally, after a zillion years, I went. I was so overwhelmed with feelings I think I was numb. I thought about my dad, how he would have loved to be here with me. I hope to make the trip with him sometime, he’s on dialysis so it’s a little difficult but I know it can be done. I thought about that little girl with her dad so happy and carefree, enjoying more than just a drink. Enjoying what it meant, to bring people together in a place to sit, talk, laugh, share stories, and share moments that will last forever. To me, it’s not about the coffee, it’s about the memories of me and my dad.
So, when people ask why I love Starbucks so much, I just smile and say, “It’s my dad’s fault” and sometimes I wonder, if he never took me, what would my life be like?? would it have changed? Would I have been one of those Starbucks haters? ugh, I can’t even imagine.