Thursday, June 02, 2011

Vivienne Veto: Beverage bondage

Susan Jane Belton's paintings of take-out coffee cups


There are indeed at least 10 Starbucks in Paris now, according to Google Maps.  And I can bear witness that they are busy and popular.  One opened recent about a block from the hotel where Vivienne works, and it's raised a whole new series of grievances among the hotel staff.


(1)  For the first time that anybody can remember, beverages being spilled in the lobby of the hotel are a daily occurrence.  Spilling large cold beverages onto the check-in desk has turned out to be a particularly spectacular headache, damaging paperwork and imperiling computers and other electronics.  But don't discount the drama inherent in tossing most of a quart of coffee (skim, with hazelnut syrup, please) across a large expanse of marble floor during the busiest time of day.


(2)  Beverages being spilled in the hotel rooms, which used to consist of the occasional dribble of wine or a soft drink, is now happening on a regular basis.  Drinks with milk in them are of special concern, because if they're not cleaning quickly they can leave a very bad smell for days.  Most recent drama was when housekeeping found a spilled something IN THE BED hours after the guest had checked out.  Replacement mattress, anyone?


(3)  The truly thoughtless have begun to carry their take-out beverages INTO THE RESTAURANT of the hotel!  The wait staff is livid - they have to deal with the garbage, but don't have the pleasure of actually selling something from their own establishment.  Happily, as this is France, it doesn't diminish their compensation.  (if you do this in the US, you cut into the tip of your waiter when you don't actually purchase your drink from their establishment - not nice when you're talking about someone who earns a fraction of the minimum wage and relies on tips to survive).


Vivienne says it's gotten to the point where they have AT LEAST one person on staff during most of the day who deals with nothing but spilled beverages.  This is, obviously, raising their costs of providing service, and will eventually trickle through into a (very slightly) more expensive hotel experience.  She says that it's not just the fact that people walking around drinking (which used to NEVER happen) has become more common, but also that their drinks are so very large.  


Sit down.  Drink your coffee.  Enjoy life.  Then go on about your day.  

6 comments:

  1. Great post! I guess living here we didn't notice the gradual shift into big drinks carried around because they have been around for so long. It's interesting to hear Vivienne's side of this and the problems it has created.

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  2. Love this as the last time I was in Paris (OK, the only time)Starbucks was just starting to have a presence there--I think there were only 1 or 2 stores at that time. And now we see the trickle down effects of this venture. That's really too bad. I can only imagine seeing a tourist spilling her double shot venti caramel mocha latte in a knee jerk reaction to answer her loudly ringing cell phone while trying not to chip her heavily lacquered long nails and then answering the phone with a loud hello and feebly trying to say "sorry" for the spill with her eyes but not having the sense to hang up the phone to deal with her mess. And (heavy sigh), sadly I see her as an American tourist. xxBliss

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  3. Oh my goodness....do I have a story for you!
    I read your post to my husband this morning over, what else, coffee. He told me I must send you a link to a post I did about a particularly unfortunate Starbucks incident on my birthday last year in Paris. We really try not to be clumsy and ill-mannered American tourists, but sometimes we just are.

    http://therichlifeonabudget.blogspot.com/2010/11/coffee-la-hotel-caron-de-beaumarchais.html

    Adrienne

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  4. Chere Adrienne, I don't think you could be ill-mannered if you tried! But I loved the story - thanks so much.

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  5. This is just ridiculous behavior. I hope in France a hotelier will say, "Enough is enough. Take your Starbucks and stay in a hostel. We've had it with your ilk. And your milk."

    I assume the skinny hazelnut latte on the floor was spilled by none other than a RHOC maven wearing Juicy on her bottom?

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  6. I am in complete agreement. Have I been known to walk around with an iced coffee when my favorite neighborhood's stores are all having their sidewalk sales? Yes, in this heat it's kind of expected. However as a general rule I don't like to bring a drink into an establishment. And quite honestly, if I ask a person out for coffee and a chat, I want to sit, enjoy my coffee, enjoy the chat without distractions. Why is it so hard for us as Americans to simply sit and enjoy the moment?

    And that hotel should totally not allow outside beverages in. It's rude, and their staff is not there to pick up your extra unnecessary messes.

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