Starbucks Closes In Brownwood, Texas

   What are the ethical considerations inherent in offering a mildly addictive legal stimulant to the general populace and then withdrawing it from the market?

   I do not know.

   I am sitting just now on the patio of my Starbuck's, listening to Lindsey and Joanna sing us out into the world. They are baristas here, or were, until the market dictated we would either go cold-turkey here in Hicksville, or make our own and clean up after ourselves.

   LIndsey and Joanna are going to San Antonio to work, I hear. Joanna has a job at another store. Lindsey will work as a nanny for a family of five while she decides what is next for her. Youth has its advantages but I feel like age is more flexible. We know the turns in the road before they come. I fear the world will not be as kind to these kids as it should be in the near future. They have never known a recession, not a real one. There have always been more jobs than workers. Now, the rich fellows on Wall street have absorbed so much wealth there is not much trickle down left to these kids. Four or five thousand of them have died now in some miserable sand pits on the other side of the world and we still don't have an energy policy much more extensive than, "Let the market dictate."

Editor's Note: I need to correct a point here. Joanna is headed for SE Asia on a mission endeavor for the next several weeks. She will then relocate to the DFW area, where her dad is a pastor.

   We may worship youth in this culture but we don't seem to love them much. We are leaving them a dirty, dangerous, polluted planet and the likliehood they will not live as well as we have lived.

   Sweet Liz is going to Temple to manage another store, Telia to Stephenville to work there, Katrina, who got straight and married here will stay and work in another job. Leslie is back to school teaching, Jimmy and Amber have jobs at a motel. Miranda goes back to school. Aaron is going to the Army, if he can learn to walk like a duck or get a waiver. I don't know what to hope for him.

   O'Brien, Amber and Jaimie don't have anything yet.

   Jennifer is long gone and Jimmy and Sonya and Katelyn and a dozen others I miss. I remember their faces across the counter, dealing with angry consumers, dispirited co-workers, oddball management decisions from on high and their own insecurities. They have made a connection, something like a family, here in this place, with people who have walked in here to drink coffee and stayed to make friends.

   The world mistakes celebrity for greatness. Fame may just mean you are an empty-headed rich guy or a hotel heiress who wants to be known. The greats, the really great, open at 5am and close at 11pm, smiling along the way to a thousand grumpy old men. They remake your drink, the one you ordered incorrectly, clean the parking lot, refill the restroom dispensers, get paid too little and work too much.

   Lilly can barely bend over now and can't really straighten up at all. She is about eight months pregnant. Monday, she told me, "Come Friday, I will be an unwed, pregnant, unemployed, single mother."

   She lost her insurance today, along with her assistant manager job. She has not found anything, either, but she is a precious, precious child and neither God, nor those of us who are her friends, will leave her unprotected.

   America needs jobs, real jobs, investment in our infrastructure, in our kids. I don't know if the pols get this but it is not 4% of home loans going bad or the fact an Indian lower-caste engineer wants a car that is robbing us of our life. Americans have to work. We are geared that way. We have to have jobs, meaningful jobs and soon.

   Dianna made a cake. She does not have anything else either, not yet. She has a cough today but cannot afford to go do anything about it. She is young, really young and will probably be alright. Who knows? You can only refinance your house or lower your car insurance so many times. Money only spends once from your hand if you don't have a job. People are hurting. People need to work.

   It is almost time to go. Tomorrow the truck will pull up here, load the fixtures and it will be done. An empty store is not the end of the world. It is a change of season but, you get the idea, anything that costs another job is a high price to pay.

3 thoughts on “Starbucks Closes In Brownwood, Texas”

  1. “Lilly can barely bend over now and can’t really straighten up at all. She is about eight months pregnant. Monday, she told me, “Come Friday, I will be an unwed, pregnant, unemployed, single mother.”
    She lost her insurance today, along with her assistant manager job. She has not found anything, either, but she is a precious, precious child and neither God, nor those of us who are her friends, will leave her unprotected.”
    Call me a liberal (I can take it), but that is how I’ve tried to live my Christian life. Not “go, and be full”, but trying to actually get something so that they can eat. Sometimes it is physical food, sometimes spiritual. But food nonetheless.
    Good on you, Rick Davis. Good on you and the folks in Brownwood for not treating these folks as long-term transients, even if they are.
    Phil, the Youth Pastor, and myself tell our youth all the time that “God don’t make no junk”. He doesn’t, and we shouldn’t treat anyone like they are.
    Good on you, and God will bless you for it.
    Gary

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