Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Boston Starbucks: The RWS

The Retail Whore Starbucks

Behold, dear readers! The Retail Whore Starbucks!

Located just off the main lobby of the Westin Copley Place, the RWS is little known outside the stark walls of the hotel & its associated mall. Most shoppers & tourists, generally entering the whole Prudential-Sheraton-Copley-Westin-Hynes Convention Center complex from Bolyston Street, get their coffee fix at the Faux Starbucks (which will be covered in a later article, obviously), and thus never stop in at the RWS. Indeed, few people ever make it to the Westin at all — the majority are content to stop shopping at the northern end of the Copley Place Mall, and do not traverse the sky-bridge to the Westin.

Thus it is that the RWS earns it nickname. Frequented not by the shoppers of the nearby mall, it instead draws upon that same mall's many retail employees for business. Oh, granted, it does swift business with the Westin's "guests" as well, but it is not those guests which give the RWS its character. Not by a long shot.

Yr humble correspondent was a regular customer at the RWS back in his days of retail whoredom, when he sold overpriced knick-knacks to the bourgeoisie, & he was not the only Copley employee who did so. The place is often rife with associates from Banana Republic, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus & others, who stood out among the rare tourists & the wanderers by dint of their well-executed, mostly-name-brand attire.

A sense of apathy & disdain always filled the RWS back then & most likely remains to this day. The staff, knowing their dominant customer base, were quiet & unresponsive, perhaps a little resentful. No matter how often one dropped by & no matter how often one ordered the same thing they hardly ever greeted you with more than the standard "HiwhatcanIgetyou?" They knew that we didn't expect anything more; we hated customers, too.

Though most of its customers, having skipped out of the store for a five minute break, do not stick around the RWS, the place is designed for a bit of lounging. At least four comfortable armchairs fill the window area & there are usually two or three little tables situated around the floor. The tables are not particularly good places to relax, since the RWS is usually quite busy (especially on weekends) & people tend to bump into one another, clustering as they do around the "bar" awaiting their drinks. Yet if one can get an armchair in the window, the RWS can be an enjoyable experience — if nothing else, it's an excellent place for people-watching.

(At the suggestion of Ms. B—, who is not Mr. B—, I will commence giving letter grades to the various Boston Starbucks, beginning with this entry. Excellent suggestion, Ms. B—!)

Grade: B (if you're not a retail whore), or B+ (if you are or were)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love that store

10:23 PM  
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