Most of us know well enough by now that Starbucks is the ultimate meeting place for people who possess a huge amount of fake-culture and misplaced self-esteem to congregate and pat each other on the backs. Ben Stiller’s character in the film Greenberg summed it up best: “Dear Starbucks, in your attempt to manufacture culture out of fast food coffee, you’ve been surprisingly successful for the most part. The part that isn’t covered by the most part sucks.” I’m here to tell you that scenes of painful stupidity can come from the yuppy elite of Starbucks, in spite of how the majority of the patrons gloat merrily of their education and their “global” attitude.
To set the scene: I’m sitting at the computer, holed up rather anti-socially in the back corner of the store, when a barista, for some reason, recites the movie line “We don’t need no stinking badges.” The customer, one of those gross older types who is always chatting up the 2o somethings behind the counter, asks her “What movie is that from?” To this, she says, “I don’t know, the Godfather?” The man takes a position popular amongst Starbucks customers: intellectual superiority. He says, “No, that’s not it.” She says, “Was it Scarface?” Again he says “No.” As you can imagine, I’m gritting my teeth through the whole exchange, knowing full well what movie the line was from. What caps off this outrageously stupid scene is that the man, after letting her fish for answers dazedly, tells her “It’s from Blazing Saddles.” Then goes on to say, “You’re probably too young to know of that movie.”
In case you haven’t already registered it, there are two things horribly wrong with his answer. 1) Blazing Saddles isn’t that old, and it’s incredibly asanine to assume everyone in their 20s doesn’t watch old films (I practically memorized Blazing Saddles at 13). And 2) “We don’t need no stinking badges” ISN’T FROM BLAZING SADDLES! The phrase is from the Humphrey Bogart classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (the phrase is actually misquoted from the film, similar to how James Cagney is known for shouting “I’m on top of the world, ma!” when his real line was “Made it, ma, top of the world!”). True, Blazing Saddles did incorporate the line “We don’t need no stinking badges,” but saying that’s where the line came from is like saying the serial killer in the droopy white mask with a knife originated in Scary Movie).
So, to reiterate, we have a tableau of what usually goes on at Starbucks. Men flirt and try to gloat about their vast cultural knowledge, baristas giggle for a paycheck, and from the outside, one only sees a very glossy form of dereliction.
I guess the moral is, fellas, if you’re going to try and use your storehouse of knowledge to wow a girl half your age and talk down to her at the same time, at least make sure your facts are correct.
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Also, make a point to read my novel A Rapturous Occasion, a comedy of errors about the end of the world.
Have you witnessed any similar scenes of snobbish stupidity at Starbucks?