Blogger JJ seems to think so. [Edited to add: JJ has now sent the original post down the memory-hole and posted a much shorter and less emo post. Fortunately I have some quotes below]
See, though JJ assures us that he is not a "law-suit [sic] kind of guy", he believes he has a strong case against overpriced-coffee-and-muffin-behemoth-and-hipster-hangout Starbucks:
Do I want to file a law-suit against the company for discrimination and emotional distress? Absolutely not, although I know I would have a case for that.
My God, my God. What did Starbucks do? Did they refuse to serve him because of his race? Did they scream obscenities at him because of his religion, thus humiliating him? Did they disclose his ludicrously convoluted coffee order to the world for everybody's amusement?
Nope. They asked him to order more product, or move on, after he sat and worked for three hours. [Edit: again, note that he has now changed the post.]
This morning, like yesterday morning and many other mornings, I woke up and felt that need to be around people. I arrived at Starbucks at approximately 9:30 am. Like many other mornings, I stood in line, ordered my toasted bagel with cream cheese along with a grande, bold coffee in a venti cup. My total came in at just under $5. After I received my order in a very timely manner, I found an open seat, began eating and continued my work from earlier that morning. After playing a bit of musical chairs, I finally ended up on a cushioned bench near an electrical outlet. As always, I was minding my business and being productive. At about 12:00 pm (less than 3 hours after my arrival), a man in a button down approached me and politely asked, “What brings you into Starbucks today?”. I glanced up from the work I was doing and replied, “Just here to get some work done”. Here is where the story takes a sharp left. I was expecting his next sentence to be something along the lines of ”How has your experience been in our store today?” or “Would you mind filling out a feedback form?”. My prediction was off…WAY off. He stated, “Okay well we like to reserve our seating for those who are enjoying our beverages”. Go ahead and let that simmer. Being completely caught off-guard, I looked at the store employee who was cowering behind him and I said, “I had breakfast and coffee this morning”. He reiterated, “Yes, but we would like to reserve our seating for those who are enjoying one of our beverages. Would you like another beverage?”. I replied, “No, I’m not quite ready for another one yet”. He, again, repeated his previous 2 statements. At this point, he’s literally standing over me waiting for me to either say “Okay I would like something else” or “No thanks, I’ll leave”
Read the whole thing, to get more flavor.
JJ thinks that he has been discriminated against, in a way that gives him a cause of action against Starbucks. It's not clear what JJ means by "discrimination", which normally requires an invidious distinction — JJ implies, without saying, that Starbucks might have it out for laptop users. So far as I know, pertinent discrimination laws do not identify laptop-users as a traditionally despised class. JJ also thinks that Starbucks has inflicted emotional harm against him in a way that gives him a cause of action against Starbucks — even if this man-child with his lap-top is not in favor of law-suits and therefore will not file one at the court-house. JJ may or may not know that the tort of infliction of emotional distress generally requires extreme and outrageous conduct beyond the bounds of decent society, though somehow I suspect if he knows that it would not be a deterrent. JJ thinks that Starbucks has an obligation to let people buy $5 worth of product and then use their space as an office or hangout for more than three hours, and an obligation not to embarrass anyone who takes advantage of this obligation.
JJ deserves congratulations for not filing suit. People who have profoundly disordered senses of entitlement often do. JJ is taking the approach that Americans ought to take — writing about his discontents and, one hopes, voting with his feet and going to some other coffee shop that will cheerfully serve as a substitute for his mother's basement.
But in JJ's yawp is the seed of everything that is weak and soft and pampered and needy about us — the feeling that everyone else ought to be in the business of coddling us.
JJ might not sue Starbucks. But as he wanders through life with this set of expectations, chances seem high that he will sue somebody, sometime, for not indulging him. If he files pro se, I hope that he somehow comes up with a better grasp of the law than he has right now. If not, maybe we can recommend a lawyer.
By the way, if this is performance art or satire by JJ, then bra-fucking-vo.
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