Take your shoes off!
Why telecommuting is awesome

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.