By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Chutzpah defined

Alison Lobron writes in today’s Boston Globe:

In Davis Square, Diesel Cafe charges for wireless — about $14 a month — but co-owner Jen Park said she also confronts customers who are not buying food. Perhaps the worst offenders are the people who buy coffee at the Starbucks across Elm Street, then head for the comfortable red booths at Diesel with their Starbucks cup in hand, she said.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


The forgotten readers


The 25 percent solution


  1. Rick in Duxbury

    The inevitable result of boomers promoting rights without responsibilities to their kids. I do it not because I should but because I can. Stay tuned, it’s going to get worse.

  2. tony schinella

    Exactly. Maybe Jen should consider a “two drink minimum” or something during times of the day like comedy clubs and rock clubs do sometimes to people who just sit there. I had to go to get a new stereo installed in my wife’s old car recently and wanted to do work on my laptop while I waited. I was shocked that I couldn’t get free wi-fi at Starbuck’s after paying almost $5 for a large caramel iced coffee thingie. It was OK; I did my work without checking email. But it would have been nice to have been able to check email while going through sales data.

  3. Eoin

    Rick, please calm down. Say what you will about the manners of Baby Boomers’ kids, they are far less likely to kill, rape, and mug. And that counts for something. If you are going to blame barbaric behavior on lousy parenting, you have to conclude that the Boomers have done a better job of raising their kids than their parents did. But what really struck me about this article was not the WiFi opportunists — every era has its freeloaders — but the way in which people see it as changing the coffeehouse atmosphere: “Their coffee shops,” Lobron writes, “are starting to look and sound less like social spots and more like offices.”I love being able to log on almost anywhere, but I wonder if I’ll soon find myself going out of my way to find places without wireless.

  4. Anonymous

    Dan’s gotten quiet about this, but in his last 6 starts Bronson Arroyo is 1-4 with a 4.91 ERA.Why can’t we get guys like this?

  5. Anonymous

    If you’re Starbucks why would you want people so comfortable that they hang around all day?

  6. Don

    When did this become an important issue? You mean she couldn’t have seen this coming?

  7. Rick in Duxbury

    Eoin,How can I not be calm in bucolic Duxbury? I just meant that the incivility we see is unquestionably getting worse. The people committing crimes in 1993 (trend peak)were probably also the children of boomers. So what? (Many of them are still incarcerated since mid-90’s. There’s the source of your crime drop.) Figures cited are national, ignoring regional and cultural differences, (e.g., more likely to get flipped off on I-93 than in Alabama.) Ask the study’s author, Jamie Fox, if he is comfortable going for a long evening stroll behind his Northeastern U. office. The original point was that shame is an outmoded concept. That the good old days were not always so good is obvious. It doesn’t follow however, that the values from those days need to be discarded.

  8. Aaron Read

    I recently heard an expert say that the reason Starbucks became such a powerhouse was that they didn’t sell coffee. They sold a place to sit and read the newspaper, and the price was in the form of a ridiculously overpriced cup of coffee.It’s a clever marketing system and it has worked well. The problem is that it’s not “portable” to other businesses because Starbucks has gone out of its way to put a zillion branches on every street corner. So if one Starbucks is full of loiterers, so what? Just go across the street, that one’s not full yet. Indie shops like Diesel Cafe can’t do that.Frankly I think Diesel pays the ubiquitus motorcycle riders to come and spend a solid five minutes to park their cycle, RIGHT outside the front door, with the engine roaring at full blast to encourage people to “move along”. DAMN that’s annoying!

  9. Eoin

    Rick, I think in one sense you’re absolutely right. I can’t leave my apartment these days and not be irked by other people’s thoughtless, selfish, shameless behavior. It’s mostly youngish people — but let’s not forget that the oldest of the Boomers’ kids are now crowding 40 — and they’re everywhere: yapping into cellphones, clipping their nails on the bus, talking during movies, wearing baseball caps indoors, eating during class, rotating the merchandise rack that I happpen to be looking at, riding bikes on the sidewalk, spitting, slouching, swearing. I can go on forever, and I’m sure you can, too. If you look all these behaviors together, you see a tremendous sense of entitlement, people going about their lives as if nobidy else existed. A society of solipsists.RIghts without responsibilities, you said. Sounds about right.But that’s not the only definition of “uncivilized.” I mentioned how violent crime among juviniles is way down. Today’s youth are also less suicidal. They smoke less, drink less, and use drugs less. Severe mental illness among youth is down. So is teen pregnancy. And young people are spreading AIDS at rates far less than adults.Oh, and kids today are more intelligent than their parents: the average IQ in the United States rises about three points each decade.So let’s keep things in perspective. Sure, people are behaving publicly in ways that we find apalling, and it this behavior appears to becoming worse and more widespread. But then again, what would the average upper-class Victorian have to say about average table manners circa 1960? Nothing positive, I’d imagine, but so what? People have been breaking out the “kids today” routine since the time of Socrates, and yet we never seem to arrive at the utter social breakdown that they predict.If our civilization does end up going to hell in a handbasket, it will be the grownups who take us there.

  10. whispers

    Oh, and while we’re whining about the kids of Boomers, how about the Boomers themselves! What a useless generation! All they do is get blow jobs at work and lie to the country to justify the invasion of foreign countries! Well, at least the two most powerful Boomers have done that…I do kinda like the argument that Boomers must have been good parents because their kids haven’t been as irresponsible as their parents were. Perhaps the kids simply figured out on their own to not be so continually irresponsible? Or maybe they learned their manners from their responsible grandparents while their parents were off “finding themselves”?(BTW, this is not a serious post. I honestly think the whole “generalize an entire generation’s behavior” idea is silly. But if we’re going to indulge such nonsense, let’s do it with style.)

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén