Ask Mrs Vera: Should Starbucks™ provide a place for customers to check their guns?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Do you think that Starbucks™ should provide a place for customers to check their guns?

Sincerely Yours,
Jerry Baldwin,
Seattle, Washington

Mrs. Vera at Starbucks™.

Mrs. Vera Newman,
San Francisco, California.
Photo: Ghislaine Alix Loree

Dear Venti Grandewin,

Thanks for writing!  Despite how much everybody hates your company, they all agree that however gross the food is, and however soul-destroying the general aesthetic of these stores is, when Starbucks™  is considered in terms of its manners, nobody is arguing that the basic approach to the customer experience isn’t polite, tidy and nicely thought out — not compared to most addict shacks, opium dens and needle-drug shooting galleries. So, congratulations to the company for hooking-up the nation so efficiently, all the while spreading across the face of the planet like some kind of caffeinated chicken pox in a box!

But Guns? Seriously? Where would you have the space to put them if you agreed to offer a gun-check service? There’s barely any space in the layout of your current stores to weep, let alone store guns or bleed out unnoticed by that bored barrista. Maybe there’s room for a tallish umbrella stand by the door, where people could park their smoking firearms on days when it’s heavily raining, bullets, but in my experience unless everyone has the same umbrella or semi-autimatic rifle, I’m always the one who gets home with one that is either broken or cheaper than the one I left my house with in the morning. And if I don’t pack one I always get drenched and murdered!  You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, my mother used to say, at least up to the time she got drenched and was murdered by a gun-check clerk obeying voices only he could hear.

Once every man, woman and child and fetus and embryo and sperm but not an egg – that would be reckless – can defend themselves from everyone they meet anywhere at all times, the local Starbucks™, if it has a gun -check service, is going to looky-likey some kind of weird florist shop for the colorblind with all those gun-filled buckets crowding the floor. Unless you paint your gun memorably or wrap it up with rainbow bungee cords or something, you’ll be stuck holding a scalding hot coffee for hours like you’re in the baggage claim at the airport, waiting interminably for your shooty-thingy to come into view.  How many of us really want to be the one with the fuschia rifle?  Sure, you get out of there quicker, but you’ll kind of be asking for it all day long carrying that ridiculous thing around to the gym, work, the carwash, prison, the funeral home…  Is it worth it just to save a couple minutes?

And if your deadly weapon came in basic black, you’ll have to rummage through all the similar ones, and you know how touchy some people can be if you handle their weapons, even accidentally, thinking it’s yours.  What do you think will happen when you tip over a gun bucket full of mixed Remingtons™ or get into a shoving match with some old lady over matching Winchesters™?  Because experts agree soon all the serial numbers will be legally required to be filed off, and statistically at least one of you is mistaken during the heated tugs-of-war inevitable when both parties think the gun is theirs. Now, imagine all that occurring before they’ve had their morning coffee, or even worse, just took a bite out of one of those things they call a “pastry” or “muffin!”  No thank you!

Starbuck’s™ has always demonstrated a clever understanding about selling merchandise, knowing that without being able to shop, eventually even the most addicted of their customers among us will wander off, looking for something to buy, or to stalk people who don’t belong in that neighborhood, something tells them. To make a gun-check feasible, it would really make sense if Starbucks™ started to make and sell its own guns.  You could cross-promote your best sellers with a saver card, where if you buy ten Cappamofocha™ Ventis, you get a free gun.  Or if you buy ten rifles, you get a free cup of proprietary hazelnut pumpkin blended iced Frapp-a-rappa-rappa-tatta-cino™. Either way would be good for customer turnover, which most updated projections are predicting will be exceedingly high in the coming years. For the kiddies, you could sell a Somali Pirate-styled Pistol that shoots real coffee beans that almost never put out an eye, and if that does happen, you can give the lucky tyke a Starbucks™-branded eyepatch, just like a real pirate wears!  Yo-Ho-Ho, and shiver me timbers, matey…  I be cold, so cold… so…. very… cold… yarrrghhh (death rattle)!  Mommy, I want one!  Mommy!  I want one!!!  Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-pow, ka-good will!

Your hardcore West-Coast patrons are very socially aware and engaged in politically correct causes to save the planet, if maybe not so much any people they happen to meet on it. Appeal to these lefty-liberals by selling them a reusable .44 Magnum that you can fill with coffee every morning for a dime off the price…  Think about how everyone is winning as we spare our clogged landfills of those wasteful paper cups every time a customer puts the barrel of their Earth-Saver Eco-gun™ into their mouth and tips back their head for that first taste of the day of that scalding hot coffee being emptied down their throat…  Cue the commercial: Now that’s the taste of Good Morning! Randy Newman could do the jingle for the ads in his sleep. The win-win doesn’t stop there, however, because Mother Earth appreciates every once-living thing she can get her hands on to turn into compost, and any coffee-gun related mishaps are just making the world a greener place. As in, “Your logo here green!” Starbucks™-branded caskets could mint a fortune as well, and the aroma of freshly roasted coffee bean-lined silk shrouds sells itself.

In the increasingly crazily scorching summer months that will soon be staying around all year long, scientists predict, you could re-train employees to cheerfully shoot frozen coffee bullets at random times at the drinks or just into the crowd of sweaty and near-heatstroked caffeine junkies in your shop busily fighting each other over possession of disputed firearms, raining calming and cooling deliciousness over the cranky, stressed-out moms and malcontents vigilantly preparing their sweat-soaked selves to resist the coming government confiscation of their liberties, which is totally coming because, Obama.

If none of these ideas help you plan for a forward thinking, delightfully gun-filled future and bullet-sprayed business plan, you can always look back and bask in the glory of your past record of success. You can proudly claim that even before shooting people became trendy and/or mandatory behavior, you were putting people out of their misery the old-fashioned way: One Mom-and-Pop at a time.  Until there were none.


Mrs. Vera, lost.Mrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern-day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!