I have been many places both inside and outside of the United States where people are much less fortunate. Fully aware of how good I have it, I am still going to complain about things that I feel entitled to have better. If you want to contribute any first world problems, please contact me and I will post them, either anonymously or with credit attributed.
Slow Internet at Starbucks
For some reason Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world and a ruthlessly efficient company which you would imagine would have figured this out by now, cannot seem to get its internet situation right. Other coffee shops tend to have this problem too but it is most infuriating at Starbucks because the baristas just blame AT&T and tell you that there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. They tell you this with absolutely no remorse. AT LEAST PRETEND TO CARE. Other coffee shops will at least humor you by re-setting the router, knowing full well that this is a band-aid solution at best.
When we spend $2.00 on a coffee or even splurge $5.00 for one of their sublime iced lattes that somehow turns us into Superman and Batman combined, WE SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO INTERNET AT REASONABLE SPEEDS. Occasionally, the internet at Starbucks doesn’t just move at frustratingly medium speeds but goes into that infuriating glacially slow mode where your browser spends so long trying to load a web page or audio stream that it just QUITS and you have to hit refresh and the cycle repeats itself until you shut your laptop in hasty disgust and make an internal vow that the rational part of you knows you will break never to return. WHY ISN’T THE INTERNET AT STARBUCKS JUST FAST ALL THE TIME LIKE WE DESERVE?! DID WE LOSE A WAR?! IS IT THAT HARD TO ACCOMMODATE US JOBLESS FOLKS WHO WANT TO SURF THE INTERNET UNTIL IT ENDS OUTSIDE THE COMFORTS OF OUR OWN HOMES?!
I think that Starbucks purposely calibrates its internet to be set to an average such that it is just fast enough that we will usually still go there but just slow enough that we will leave after about an hour so other people can be frustrated in our seat. When too many people are plugged in at Starbucks at once, glacial internet speed kicks in so the impatient customers will leave in disgust and restore equilibrium. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE BUT DAMN THOSE ICED LATTES ARE STILL EXQUISITE and we can’t quit but still wish that Starbucks would shoulder its responsibility and provide us with reasonable bandwidth levels that should be our natural right in accordance with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Just Missing the El at Night or on a Weekend
Residents of cities with good public transportation have all been here. You are sauntering along, minding your own business and get to your bus or train stop only to see the one you need to get on FLY AWAY right as you get there. It is demoralizing and it is wrong and you know that God just cost you 10-15 minutes you are NEVER getting back. Usually, this happens at a time where it perpetuates an already bad day. If, somehow, your day has been good up to this point you are well aware that this has the potential to be the first of a chain of events which make it a whole lot worse. Somehow, barely missing the el is correlated with the universe conspiring against you in a myriad of other ways. I don’t know why but it’s just science.
“But Ryan,” you say, “You can just use the CTA tracker application on your fancy pants phone and calibrate your schedule so you never have to wait more than a couple minutes.” Well, yeah, I could, BUT WHO HAS THAT KIND OF TIME? I just want the entire public transportation system to revolve around me like I deserve. Instead of a tracking app, I should have an app that pauses the El and makes it wait for me at my stop instead of cruelly and unusually pulling away right before I get on. Why doesn’t THAT app exist (just for me and maybe a few others of course…can’t give everyone that sort of power)?
Side note: Barely making the el or a bus is the exact opposite of what I described above. It is an exhilarating feeling that I imagine can only be compared to Michael Jordan hitting a buzzer beater to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals. When this happens for me, I cannot contain my excitement. I actually do a huge fist pump and yell, “YES!!!!!” The other passengers laugh (in some combination of with and at me) a little bit at first but smile and nod knowingly because it is so outstanding when it actually happens. Buzzer beaters rule.