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I’m Pretty Sure the Puritans Didn’t Drink Coffee


You can stop holding your breath, I’m ready to report back on how our first forays into kids’ birthday parties in Spain have gone.
The short answer: fine, thanks.
The longer answer: I’m still not sure about the goodie bag thing. Son the Elder scored one goodie bag, but that was at a party given by people from an English-speaking country (hint: big, Southern Hemisphere, kangaroos), and they seem to have a similar party culture to the U.S. No goodie bag per se at the Spaniards’ party, but sufficient birthday loot at school and the party as well; this gang was also part of the principled group willing to take a no-presents stand, so I won’t generalize from the one experience. However, a good time was had by all, and that’s certainly what counts.
When I say all, I mean me too, and that’s really what counts, isn’t it? Both parties were at indoor party centers where the kids could jump and slide and run around. I’m sure you’re familiar with them. Normally the moms and the few dads who are hanging out just stand around stifling yawns and watching until it’s time to go steal some birthday cake.
But these Spanish places had snack bars – that’s right – snack bars, where you could get a fine, fine cup of coffee. Or a beer or whatever, I think. And part of the party shtick seems to be to order snackies – just for the parents (like sweet and savory little pastries, mmm hm). So – that’s right, you heard me – instead of standing around trying not to look bored, you can spend your time eating, drinking and chatting in a fairly civilized manner. The father ratio was much higher, as you can imagine.
This is true genius. It’s also a nice little extra profit center for the play places, I imagine. Which makes me wonder why I hadn’t run across it in the States. Maybe I just went to the wrong parties. After all, when you hear of ideas for capitalist exploitation you have to think of the U.S. (Or China, but I haven’t been to any Beijing birthdays lately.) Maybe it’s that by the time kids are old enough for these kinds of parties, fewer parents feel the need to hang out, so there’s not enough of a market. But how many sales do you need to justify a coffeepot and a small fridge? (OK, an espresso pot, but still.)
The only other thing I can come up with is that there’s a holdover of a puritanical view of motherhood blinding people to the business possibilities. Motherhood should be about suffering; snack bars are too soft. Which might explain the lack of coffee carts in playgrounds. Maybe I’m just paranoid. But I’ve come up with a name for a chain of birthday sites with coffee shops; it’s available for a small fee to any entrepreneur interested. Jump ‘N’ Bean. (Er, I’ll get my lawyer to Google it.) Not bad, huh? So prove me wrong: make an offer.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 10:01 AM | Permalink

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