After scurrying around the mall, downing ten tea sample cups (resulting in a little Cup Song performance), and awing at the flamboyant statement jewelry sold at Forever 21, my feet cry in desperation, “Do you think we were built to withstand a shopping triathlon? Give us a break!” It sounds like a typical materialistic-fashionista’s day. No, I am a gift-huntress, searching for the perfect gift to give to my elementary school teacher.
But even a huntress needs to take a break. I limp to a nearby Starbucks and collapse into a brown Victorian leather chair. The air is heavy with the scent of brewed coffee and cinnamon-seasoned chocolate; the lighting ambient. Dim yellowish orange lights surrounded by upside-down cups (it seems) with intricate, carved, designs look down on each table. Subtle murals wash over the walls, and gold-framed watercolor paintings are hung on the wall behind me. Unlike Forever 21 and the tea shop, which have pop music as background music, Starbucks yields jazz music as smooth as their hot cream-topped beverages, accompanied by a stream of gentle chatter. I absorb all of this. In no time, my feet, which are as flat as pancakes, regain strength. Even ten sample cups of Teavana Perfectea wouldn’t help my feet.
A delectable array of delicate scones and cookies presents itself before my eyes, with some Evolution on-the-go shakes next to some sandwiches. “Eat us!” they squeal in their childlike voices.
“Sorry, no,” I reply. I walk up to the cashier and order a Venti-sized Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino and “a good amount of chocolate sauce and whipped cream, please”. (If you want a lot of cheese in your cheeseburger at McDonald’s, I read in Reader’s Digest to say “a good amount of cheese”. I figure that the same applies to Starbucks chocolate sauce.)
In no time, the Starbucks drink comes. Topped with a large bouquet of whipped cream drenched in chocolate sauce. I grab a thin grass-green straw on the way out and dump the aromatic cinnamon topping on the cream.