Should Starbucks be The After-School Hangout or Am I Just Old

I really don't need more evidence in my life to tell me that I am old, but the fact that Starbucks is now an after-school hangout for kids is proof enough.  Is this the best there is for kids these days?  Hanging out in a coffee shop with old-timers like me who work from home, but sit at Starbucks on a rainy afternoon hogging the WiFi because the latest climate-change based thunderstorm knocked out the power in my house?

Damn, I hate sounding like some grey-haired curmudgeon whose nose hairs are too long and whose ear hair covers the openings on the side of his head.  Is it wrong to think that there should be something else for kids to be doing instead of sitting at Starbucks drinking $4 milk shakes and eating $2 cookies?  Who are these parents who give their kids $10 every day to lounge around at the corner coffee shop?

One day removed from watching the Jackie Robinson West kids play exciting and, more importantly, fundamentally sound, baseball over several days, I think every kid should be participating in some kind of extra-curricular activity.  I know that socio-economic status won't permit such a pie-in-the-sky aspiration, but that's not the case for the parents of the kids hanging at the Starbucks near my house.  All of these freshly scrubbed kids in their nicely starched parochial school uniforms sucking down Frappuccinos should be doing something else, shouldn't they?  Hey kid, go take a swim class.  Hello young lady, isn't there a soccer league you should be playing in?

Relax a little old timer, you might say.  Kids should be allowed to just hang out and enjoy their time after school before they have to go home and do their homework.  Good point, I'd say, but why Starbucks?  Why a coffee house?  Where is the corner store that I used to stop at on my way home from school - you know, buy a candy bar for 50 cents or a pack of gum or a ice cream bar and then move on.  These kids sit around the coffee shop couches like Bucktown hipsters plotting the layoffs of their 50-something parents and the replacement of my Jeep with a Prius.

If these kids have enough time to sit around and do nothing all afternoon, maybe they ought to go out and get some part-time jobs and contribute to our crumbling democracy.  Like delivering the afternoon newspaper for instance.  Oh, wait ...


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