Starting Saturday, Starbucks has banned smoking within 25 feet of the entrances to all 7,000 of its United States and Canadian stores. No, really.
A so-called coffeehouse has gotten so far away from coffeehouse culture that it has banned smoking not just inside but outside too.
The first retail chain to ban smoking outside on its patios is a coffeehouse.
For some reason, I just can't get my head around the idea. I mean, I realize that Starbucks is kind of a fake coffeehouse and that they probably instituted the policy so that people would just take the d**n coffee and go away already instead of hanging around using the free WiFi all day.
Electronic cigarettes are also banned. Guess what, people. That snake oil salesman who told you that it wasn't smoke, it's vapor? Vapor is wet smoke. And we can still smell it.
So you're out too.
Since I don't smoke, it's easy for me to sit back and laugh, but let's get real. For some people, you just can't have café culture without a smoke. Asking people to go outside to the patio is one thing. But asking them to just give you money, take their coffee, and go the heck away from Starbucks? I'm not so sure about that.
I haven't heard many gripes yet, but here's one reason that some people aren't happy:
Starbucks: No to Smoking, Yes to #Guns bit.ly/16wKfXe #Antigunviolence crowd? They can afford to lose a "handful of customers."
— Newtown Action(@NewtownAction) June 1, 2013
Hey, it doesn't make much sense to me either. If you're going to go down in a hail of gunfire, lung cancer doesn't get a chance to sneak up on you, right?
And people do make use of their second amendment rights when they visit Starbucks. I recently reported on a story where a 51-year-old lady in Florida dropped a purse, which had a loaded gun in it, causing it to go boom and hit her friend in the leg.
But, seriously, the coffee house culture has gotten very, very far away from its roots.
Imagine it's 1962. What do you think Bob Dylan would say if you told him that he'd live long enough to see the day, in the United States of America, where he couldn't smoke anywhere near a coffeehouse?
The Starbucks smoking ban may be a good idea. So why does it seem so wrong?
[Starbucks coffee mug photo by Rudolf Schuba via Flickr and Fotopedia]