Coffee shop drive-thru is an American invention for the rest of the world, hard to swallow. The idea of coffee shops as the founder of Starbucks, Mr. Schultze invasions it while visiting Italy, is to create a third place to rest away from home and work.

It was reported that Caribou coffee shops having tough time to stay open; where the closing hours for many Twin Cities locations show sporadic times earlier than the times customers have been used to. This is not just a caribou issue, lots of other coffee shops too finding hard to stay open.  Americans drink about 146 billion cups of coffee per year. The average American drinks about 3.1 cups a day. In the last year or two, these numbers went up due to the pandemic and the lockdown where people drowned their depression in coffee and alcohol. Coffee is the most significant source of caffeine in America.   More than half of Americans would rather skip their morning showers than their morning coffee. Drive-thru morning coffee extended rush hour to two rush hours. People leave early to get their morning fix; Millions of cars would line up at coffee shops’ drive-thru windows to get a $5 cup of coffee is probably the same people who would drive miles to Costco to save 5 cents on gas; Americans are extremist consumers.  We drive fast on freeways to get home and sit on the couch to watch TV for hours.  Coffee shops drive-thru is an American invention that is very hard to swallow, the idea of coffee shops as the founder of Starbucks, Mr. Schultze invasions it, is to create a third place to rest away from home and work. During the pandemic, going to coffee shops’ drive-thru to get your coffee is one of few safe outdoor activities where people get a glimpse of social activities from the privacy of their cars. Coffee shops are empty inside; however, the drive-thru is always busy, where people wait for up to 10 to 15 minutes to fill up their coffee. Due to labor shortages, coffee shops now open shorter hours; some even closed. On a gloomy, cool early Saturday morning, driving through the Edina neighborhood, there was nothing to do or a place to go enjoying the irrelevance of the surroundings.    I stopped to get a cup of coffee at Caribou on the corner of 70th and Interlachen and Vernon. Edina. The parking lot was Empty; I got out of the car, walked to the Caribou, pulled the door,  it is locked, a sign on the door to inform you that “due to labor shortage we are closed, check our website or our apps for updates. “A few tables outside where they didn’t enforce the closing decree, tables were open! I sat at the table next to the closed doors, and I’m not a morning coffee person anyway. I already had my breakfast and drank my morning tea at home. I Sat down and watched things happen around the busy corner. The first car arrived, a middle-aged lady slowly stepped out of her car, she didn’t seem to be in a hurry, walked to the coffee shop door, tried to open, read the closing sign and giggled,
_ Ooh, close
She walked away,  disappointed.
A big SUV stormed the parking lot, a tall young man rushed out of his car, he was screaming to someone in the car “Stay in the car, Ill get it” like a hunter in the jungle,  he rushed to the coffee shop door, tried what it seemed like a break-in, tried a few times, looked inside,
_ Shit, looked toward my table, “Nobody wants to work anymore! Inaudible frustrating message targeting Nobody! He walked back to his car and sped away, and he didn’t even read the closing sign.
A lady walked across the parking lot toward the door, acknowledged my present;
_” good morning”, pulled the door genteelly, locked;
deliberately read the sign
-“Aha …  closed, “she quietly walked to a table across from mine and sat down staring, talking on her phone.
Three women came in two cars together, walked to an empty table didn’t even know the store was closed. Waited till another friend who came later; they all walked to the door,. Tried to open, tried again, one reads the sign, and all started giggling.  “let’s try the one by Lund’s & Barley and walked back to their cars as another young man was parking his convertor, walked to the coffee shop’s door read the sign before even trying to open the door, and walked away.
 Car after the car started pouring in, going through the same drill, different people with different reactions, no one struck a conversation, or wondered or shared their frustrations or rages, someone said, “Madness is no madness when it is shared”. Later, a Mini Van rolled in, a woman with her hijab open the door,  a few children screaming inside the car. She ignored the commotion and walked to the coffee shop door before she tried to open the door; she noticed my present, slowly came to my table
_” Salam Allikom…
_” Salam Alllikom..”
_” Don’t you know me;  
_” Well, should I”
–      …
I know you, you still doing your show, (these another way of saying I don’t watch your show)
_ Yes I do
_ “you haven’t changed, just more gray hair!!
 _ I’m sorry you guys wear this hijab thing, then all look the same; we both laughed; she walked back to the coffee shop door.
_ “it is closed today!'” I told her

Ahmed Tharwat

Host and Producer of Arab American TV show BelAhdan

Blogs at Notes From America

Follow him on twitter

Lives in Minnetonka, MN



Ahmed Tharwat …. in the middle AhMedia.... احا مديا A media critic, and a media consultant... A show with an accent for those without one! AhMedia احا مديا Ahmed Tharwat/ Host BelAhdan TV show Freelance Writer, Public Speaker, International Media Fixer


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