Oh, you meant THAT Starbucks?

AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, a city as high-energy and driven as Washington, DC is also highly caffeinated. There's a Starbucks on every corner here and there's never not a line. So on Tuesday, when I suggested to a colleague that we meet at a nearby Starbucks, I was careful to specify the one on 19th Street, just above M.

Starbucks Imagine my surprise when I crossed the street, only to find that particular Starbucks, plus the two restaurants on either side of it, were closed, gone, out of business. Completely. Nary a stir stick nor any other remnants of their ubiquitous green logo were to be found.

I called my colleague to admit that I had given him the address of a defunct coffee shop. "Oh, you meant that one?" he said. "I thought you meant the one on Connecticut."

Fortunately, he'd snagged a table at the wrong, but nearby Starbucks two blocks away, so I walked over and we commenced our meeting.

I haven't always been careful to confirm the address when arranging to meet someone. One time, I agreed to meet friends for lunch at what I thought was the only Chipotle in town. "Chipotle! Noon!" I waited and waited and waited some more, finally braving the snaking line for a takeout burrito. I found out later that they waited and waited, too – at the NEW Chipotle that had opened up closer to their office than mine.

Wawa Then there was the time we traveled to southern New Jersey for our dear friends' wedding. The bride had written driving directions from the church to the reception that included instructions such as, go over the hill, drive for about five more minutes, and the very helpful, "turn left at the Wawa." Of course, if you've ever been to south Jersey, you know that there's a Wawa at every single intersection. Kind of like how there's a Starbucks on every corner in DC! (Except, evidently, the corner of 19th and M.)

I'd always thought that Starbucks outlets multiply, like rabbits.  They're in every grocery store, every Target, every airport. What kind of business strategy is that, to close a store situated on a prime corner in the heart of DC's downtown business district? And would it have killed them to take it off their website? Because I did confirm the address on the website. It was listed right there.

But that was only my first surprise closed store of the day!

On the way home that afternoon, I calculated that if Metro was dependable and I was super-efficient, I had exactly enough time to hop off the train at Chevy Chase Pavilion and fly through Stein Mart for some quick additions to my altogether pathetic wardrobe. (Seriously. My wardrobe sucks. I hate everything in my closet.) I always have good luck at Stein Mart, even though when I got home with the items I'd purchased at my last shopping trip there, I felt as if perhaps I was morphing into a little old lady from Boca. (Which is more a reference to my fashion sense than my overall mentality.)

So, I rode up the escalator and patiently waited for the elevator. When I finally emerged on the top floor of the shopping center, I saw white glass where Stein Mart used to be. Turns out, it had closed only several weeks before my ill-fated discovery.

…only you didn't save me JACK on Tuesday, Stein Mart! Where'd you go?

What the heck, retail gods? Why are you conspiring against me? Have I not pumped enough money back into the retail economy recently, what with the insurance-funded purchases of a sofa, TV, new flooring and who knows what else? I am personally keeping Amazon.com afloat. All these things we need to replace and have repaired cost MONEY! What's next – my favorite Target? Are you going to pick up and leave under cover of the night, just like the Baltimore Colts did?

Maybe these sudden closings are a sign of the impending rapture.  I mean, if the rapture is really going to happen, I won't need caffeine and I'm guessing I can wear any old thing from my laundry basket closet, right?

Yes, that's it. I'm ready to go. Just be sure to send me the address first.

7 thoughts on “Oh, you meant THAT Starbucks?

  1. WHAT???? Stein Mart closed? I better get taken up in the rapture now. What’s left to live for?
    I once told my entire extended family to meet me at Le Pain Quotidien in midtown in NY. Not realizing it’s the French bistro equivalent of Starbucks.

  2. I used to work at 19th and M – at MCI, which is long gone. Then I worked at 18th and K – Price Waterhouse/now PWC. Loved that area, especially that stretch of M street with the Sign of the Whale, Mad Hatters, etc. Please tell me they’re still there…oh, the memories.
    I’m only today learning of/hearing about this Rapture stuff since I live under a rock and all (with nary a Starbucks in the county). Neat. Can’t wait to see what happens. Regardless, I *will* need coffee!

  3. Yep, mostly still there, and Rumors, too. And Luigi’s! And The Front Page is still up on the circle. It’s just that the whole area is dotted with Starbucks and Au Bon Pain and CVS. Mostly, CVS. It’s a fun part of town – I still like it, two decades since I first set foot there.

  4. Sue, I KNOW, RIGHT? Come to Leesburg with me. We’ll go across the Ferry. I’m told there’s a Super Target nearby, and you know they sell wine in those in Virginia…
    Le Pain Quotidien is a chain?? There’s one of those north of Dupont Circle!

  5. I went to a city once, pretty sure it was downtown Chicago, where there was a Walgreens on every other block. Couldn’t figure out how Chicagoans could possibly use that much shampoo.
    The nearest Starbucks to me is 40 miles away. Just sayin’. (They tried to open one in Midd but the hippies killed it.)

  6. Bets, you don’t need a ‘Bucks in your town – you have that altogether awesome independent coffee shop! I’d have protested it too…
    We have CVS on every other corner in DC too. Bor-ing!

  7. This is why living inside a city limits just doesn’t work for foolery. In my home town I would likely direct you to “turn left at the light,” not realizing that we have not one but FIVE STOPLIGHTS in town now! It’s mind-boggling.

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