Lake City Way & 120th
12001 Lake City Way NE
There are stores which do really well. There are stores which do really bad. And then there are stores which do kinda good during one of my visits but still have some really annoying things which make it difficult to wrap my arms around the experience and pronounce it "third place."
Such was the case with my visit this week to the Starbucks on Lake City Way, in Lake City which is a north eastern suburb of Seattle.
But, before we talk about that, a question was raised in the comment section to my last column about how I would handle empty spaces in the pastry case especially given the change of philosophy on markouts as in they are to be minimized. First of all, all non perishable cold items should be pulled forward in the case – gaps in the back don't look nearly as bad as gaps in the front. If sandwiches and other perishables are out of stock then those gaps should be filled with non perishable cold product even if it means doubling up. As for pastries, existing product should be spread out over the case on all shelves and, if necessary, those plates should be turned diagonally instead of being displayed vertically. Finally, if that doesn't cover the gaps then you plate the trinkets and trash items from around the cash registers even if it means displaying mints. What you don't do is leave huge gaping gaps in the pastry case that scream “we don't know what we're doing”.
Now, on to my experience at the Lake City Starbucks. I walked in and stood by myself at the register for a minute and half without being acknowledged while six, count em SIX, partners wandered around behind the counter. No hello, no nothing, not even a greeting from the bar partner. The register partner who apparently was solely responsible for greeting new customers was busy doing other things so I waited patiently. After all things do need to be done and I certainly wouldn't want to get in the way of that. Once we got underway, she was quite pleasant and friendly. I just couldn't believe I stood there and no one else within spitting distance could be bothered to look my way and even say hi.
Things did get better after that although no one suggested a pairing with my tall latte. I did hear a lot about the new Via and how it's a lot of things but most definitely is NOT an instant coffee. Sounds like one to me. But oh well. I got my free Via in the mail a while back and it tasted ok but nothing special. /CONTINUED IN THE FIRST COMMENT BELOW