I went to Starbucks today before grocery shopping- how convenient is it that they’re located in the same building. In the course of my forty-five minutes there, I saw two funny occurrences that I will now share with you. But first let me preface that this Starbucks is inside a shopping center, so the entrances to the store aren’t actually to the outside, but there are doorways that can be opened or closed depending on the season I think, and probably to prevent theft while the store is closed. Not that I really think anyone would steal in Japan, and if you were going to steal, I wouldn’t put all the trouble of getting into the shopping center just to steal from Starbucks, but that’s going in a completely different direction. So, back to the subject at hand.
First, a little girl, about two, wanders to the entrance of the store and stands in the doorway looking in. There is no mom in sight. From the opposite direction comes a mom walking with her son, who is about the same age. And much like an insistent dog, he starts dragging her into the entrance of Starbucks as they pass. And I don’t know what this mom is thinking, but she just kind of lets herself be dragged by this little boys whims. In the meantime, the little girl has moved out of the entrance way and is now outside the store looking in through the big floor-to-ceiling window. Finally, the mom lets go of the little boys hand and just stands outside the store, beckoning him with a come here hand signal. Obviously, this little guy is not buying in to her strategy and stubbornly stands about three feet inside the store looking at his mom. Not to be left out of all of this fun, the little girl sees the mom signaling, and starts motioning for the little boy to come out as well. Finally, the mom of the little girl makes an appearance, meandering in from the same direction as the little girl. She walks past her daughter and when she is about ten feet past her, she realizes that her daughter has not followed and proceeds to make the same gesture to come as the other mom, to which the little girl also ignores. Meanwhile, the mom of the boy has, at this point, realized that her signaling is not working and walks into Starbucks to take her sons hand. But instead of ushering him out, she instead lets herself be pulled to the counter with very nominal protests, asking her son, who is only two remember, why and we will come next time. Outside the store, the little girl has lost interest and runs to her mom, and they walk away. A minute later, the mom and son leave with the son happily holding a Starbucks sample-size paper cup in one hand, while holding onto his mom with the other. We can all see who is the leader in that relationship.
About fifteen minutes or so after that, two older ladies, probably about grandma-aged I would say, come to the same doorway, which is wide open. And actually at first they had just sat down outside the store at some of the outdoor seating, outdoor meaning tables in the lobby area of the shopping center until they were directed by the Starbucks staff that they could place their orders at the counter before sitting down. They stand at the doorway not moving for a few moments until one of the ladies pushes the button on the door that will allow the door to open. In Japan, the automatic doors don’t just open with motion sensors. Most of the doors actually have a large button on the door frame that you push to activate the automatic doors. Now, please remember that the door to Starbucks is already open all the way. So, obviously, when the door doesn’t open after she pushes it, instead of realizing that the door is, in fact, already open, the lady proceeds to push the button two more times. It is not until the same Starbucks staff comes out from behind the counter and tells them to please come in that the ladies realize that there was no button-pushing required. With a small laugh, they walk into the store and place their orders.
I can only wonder at what else would have happened had I stayed longer.