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Starbucks; The Spirit Versus The Shirt.

"Feel free to s**t anywhere."
I'm talking to Elena; a hairdressing student and Part-Time barista at Starbucks. She is a petite Romanian, with a sharp dress style and laser beam eyes - which, if I couldn't sense the innocent kindness they hold, would probably scare me a little. Like all the staff who work here in this corporate coffee shop, they are professional and polite; even though the controlled frustration often manifests through momentary expressions, at dealing with a consistent barrage of bullshit, from people who have as much money, as they lack in dignity.

It is late afternoon on a Tuesday, the store is two-thirds full, and I am about to drain my lizard before I venture home; a by-product in the lifestyles of both fitness freaks, and alcoholics. Entering the commode, I glance south to see the clear white toilet lid covered all around the back and its basin, in one inch thick, dirty brown diarrhoea; this human waste has been sprayed all over, and it smells disgusting. The previous week - when someone had left half a turd on the toilet floor was bad enough, but this was a level even pub bogs in Hounslow would be shocked at.

My initial thought is the culprit is still in the store, and they know it. But it could be anyone; for I have learned perception is reality for the masses, but not independent minds. In a flash I consider the staff, and how one of them will be forced to clean this mess. I have spoken to all of them on separate occasions, and they are not just slaves for hire; they are spiritualists, aspiring journalists, DJ's, exercise junkies, ecologists, and all forms of ideals, which their uniform tries to shame them away from remembering, the moment they place it upon themselves. It is clear they are far better than the place they work in, and often, the people they serve too - who probably believe they attain more worth, becuase society has told them money carries greater value than a human soul; happily forgetting how God created the soul, whereas humans invented money.

I find Elena and let her know what happened - aware this billionaire company shorten staff hours to save money, and she is the only one free. She knows, but has not yet seen the damage. I explain to her how it is not so much a question of why someone did it, as to how they physically managed to in the first place? (Squatting on the seat, whilst trying to download I-tunes on an I-Phone, my only prognosis). I know she will have to clean it, and I feel a surge of sorrow for her - she wants to fashion hairstyles for a living, not wipe down shit of filthy animals, hiding behind the motionless expressions which people in shopping centres all seem to wear with ubiquitous fashion.

I leave the store, and the place never feels the same again. This was a month ago. I look back and wonder why this feeling lies within me. It then hits me... I am alone. I say please, thank you, ask how their days are going, and clean my own waste, not to curry favour - at least, I don't believe so, but because it is how I imagine my ideal world to be, and how I - if I was on their side, would like to be treated. Not as a product, a walking prop, or a fucking dogsbody to cater to everyone like some legal slave, but as a person. A person has feelings, emotions, and I am certain beyond a few fetish freaks out there, none of them relish the thought of cleaning up someone else's shit, literally.

So with a few exceptions; those I know, and the twenty percent or so, who have enough dignity to see the spirit as opposed to the shirt. I have a message to the customers who frequent Harrow Starbucks; go fuck yourselves. You can't fool me with your flash phones, expensive shoes, and empty bravado putting yourself over - an act of the insecure, low-intellectual. To me you are animals - dirty, low-rent, uneducated, slaves to the mercy of overdeveloped self-gratification and underdeveloped self-respect. I don't want you all to change and begin binning all those paper cups and empty sugar packets, but cleaning your own turds would be a perfect start.

Beyond all this, It leaves me needing a new place to write, as I just don't get that same feeling of magical, muse like inspiration, I had in Starbucks Edgware based cousin. The staff are a beacon of light, and I like them all; in an I don't really know them, but they seem cool kind of a way. I just wonder if that same person who shit everywhere would have been so careless, had another customer seen them entering, only a few minutes previous.

Elena cleans the toilet. One day she will move on, create a family, build her future, and - like the rest of them, Starbucks will be a distant memory. The customers will change too. Unfortunately, none of the acts inside, ever will...

Lee.

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