STARBUCKS & STROLLERS CONT'D.
Jeff Taylor, whom readers know as the writer of Reason Express and a contributor to Hit and Run, is a stay-at-home dad and keen observer of suburban life. On the continuing issue of whether Starbucks is a kid-free zone, he writes:
Time and place. Depending, either kid crawling or grim caffeine warriors. Quick and dirty guide: does the cold-case stock the Horizon flavored milk boxes, Chocolate, Vanilla, and the rare Strawberry? If so, then SOME time during the day features the brat pack attack. (These are know as "cow milks" to my 2-year-old, who will helpfully point out every "caw-pee place" you encounter, which can be quite a few.)
The wonder of Starbucks is that it can be so many things to so many people. Early AM, all tool-belts and Nextel, later blending into the gray and white-collars who have to hit the office by 9ish to check email. Later still students and cops. Banter between the skate punks and the young patrol officers is always good for a listen. Does it happen anywhere else? Mid-morning is prime toddler time, that's grocery-getting time. The older siblings are at school and a quick energy boost is in order to avoid the dreaded CHECKOUT MELTDOWN. Lunch is again the adult swim. But by soon after 2 the parade of tween and above girls looking for their various mocha fixes begins.
Correct for location--office buildings or strip center--and I'd bet the pattern is universal.