I like to consider myself an open-minded, even-tempered sort of fellow, someone who carefully considers my options before acting, and is hopefully wise enough to make the right decision most of the time. I don’t know that I’m representative of men as a whole, but I’m usually willing to give my brothers the benefit of the doubt.
Women, on the other hand, tend to see men as a little less enlightened, more slaves to our genes and genitals than guided by free will. I consider that to be sexist and narrowminded, and completely unjustifiable … until I see something like this.
Coffee, tea, or ... ?
A culinary phenomenon of the last few years, you can’t turn around without running into a place selling coffee. The vast majority of them are part of the Starbucks empire, but there are other chains and even the occasional independant vendor. The common thread among them all are overpriced java, and it can be difficult to develop any loyalty. As a result, different operators have found different ways to create their own niche.
A couple of years ago, a little coffee shop opened on Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance. Little more than an oversized kiosk, the Fox Hollow Coffee outlet was a loser from the beginning. Cursed by a difficult location far from any other retail outlets, it was a rare day when customers could be seen in the drive-thru line, and it was little surprise when the “Out of Business” sign went up earlier this year.
A couple of weeks ago, however, there was a flurry of activity around the little coffee shop as it was repainted and prepared to reopen, and now there’s a line of cars waiting their turn. Why? Barristas in bikinis!
I had heard stories of this phenomenon occuring in the uber-competitive coffee wars in Seattle, but in the South Bay? Sure enough, drive north on Hawthorne and there a girl in a bikini with a signboard, urging motorists to drive through and fill up. And if the lines – and media attention – are any indication, it’s working – at least for the short term.
“We’re offering entertainment, coffee with a tease, if you will,” said Gary Gillett, the store’s managing partner. ”Man needs a few things in life,” he said. “Coffee? Maybe. Women? Definitely. And let’s put it this way, man can live without coffee.”
And I was so afraid they were going to exploit the girls … oink.
I’ve gotta say that considering they’re only a couple of miles from the beach and all those beach babes, the staff doesn’t really strike you as bikini material (the girl on the street aside). Of course, maybe this is actually a good sign, and the girls were hired for their cup skills and not their cup size … or not.
Gillett declined to divulge his start-up costs. He noted that his bikini baristas are earning minimum wage, with the bulk of their pay expected from tips.
“You’re not just tipping for the coffee,” he said. “You’ll be tipping for the service, the titillation.”
The view from my much-more-convenient coffee stop
OK, we get it – strip club with lattes.
Bottom line? Twenty years ago, I’d have sat in the long line, waiting my turn to tip a babe $5 for some bad coffee. Ten years ago, I’d probably still be in line, but complain about the length and the coffee. Today? The location is as inconvenient as it was when it was Fox Hollow, which is why I never went there then. Screw it – I’m going to the McDs on the corner …