Person of the Week Interview with Scott Seibert by Caroline Hayes
Today I am going to blow Scott Seibert’s cover. Scott Seibert is the horoscope guy. If you’ve been into the Starbucks on NW 23rd and Hoyt anytime within the last several years you know what I’m talking about. It is a common misconception that it is the staff of 23rd and Hoyt who places the daily horoscope, weather report and select comics neatly taped together and displayed on the hand off plane for customers to enjoy while they wait for their handcrafted beverages. But in fact, it has always been Scott. Scott Seibert lives and works on NW 23rd Ave, and he passes by the store every morning on his way to work. Even after Starbucks shortened its hours so that Scott can’t get his morning coffee before heading into work, he still tapes his horoscope compilation to the front door every morning.
Scott was kind enough to answer a few questions and share a little bit about himself, his love of NW 23rd Ave and of course, the horoscopes.
Tell us something about yourself.
I feel extraordinarily fortunate to be able to live on NW 23rd Avenue where it is easy to carry on my lifelong passion for community activism, coffee and good friends.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Springfield, Oregon and have lived in Illinois, California (Marine Corps) and Roseburg and Eugene, Oregon.
How long have you lived in Portland? Why do you love it here?
I moved to Portland from Eugene about 15 years ago and within a month realized that I was not living where I wanted to live. I found a historic building that I really wanted to live in on NW 23rd and was fortunate enough to get in. In part I wanted to live on NW 23rd because it is a street that is alive, offers many different shopping and eating experiences, and is close to everything by public transportation (except a fabric store!). Eventually I moved from a lower floor in the building up to the space I really wanted on the 4th floor where I have great light and can see all of the mountains as well as downtown. This year (until mid-October) I am serving as Rose Emperor (www.RoseCourt.org) and have had the opportunity to travel LOTS- yet I always look forward to coming home to Portland. We truly do not realize how great this city is!
What is your favorite thing about NW 23rd Ave?
In the winter when the first snow falls and all of the “twinkle light” trees on 23rd are lit up it is a place of magic.
What is your favorite store on NW 23rd?
For beverage, Starbucks at NW 23rd and Hoyt; for food, Escape from New York Pizza; for cool Stuff, Three Monkeys. All of them have AMAZING staff!
Where do you go and what do you do on your lunch breaks?
Couch Park sometimes, short walks other times. I enjoy people watching so it’s like a festival every day on 23rd!
What kind of books are you into? What are you reading right now?
I always have 2 books going – one on history and one “airport/suspense” book.
What is your favorite color?
Purple blue- the one that appears in the sunset over water on a summer afternoon.
If you could invent a gadget to do anything, what would it do?
Bridge damage to spinal cords so that my friends could walk again.
If you could have any animal for a pet, what would you want?
A talking dragon (no fire please). You didn’t say real or imaginary…
Tell us about your dream home.
The William Temple House near Couch Park. It is AMAZING!
What would your superpower be?
What would your mundane superpower be?
The ability to block cell phone calls in lines at stores or on public transportation…
Kirk or Picard?
Picard. He is smart, not a sexist jerk, and has less hair than I. 🙂
If you had to name your child after a planet, what would you name him/her?
(Planet 6186) Zenon. http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/iau/lists/MPNames.html#Z
Of course, we all want to know about the horoscope. How did that start?
About a decade ago I was at a conference and they were talking about real vs. perceived customer service issues. Wait time at food establishments was used as an example. People have a mental clock that times their experience and it “restarts’ with events. How long did I wait to place my order (long line, i will not wait- for example). If you can restart someone’s mental clock by giving them a trigger they will not perceive their wait as being so long. So, I was in Starbucks and enjoying a chat with the staff and one mentioned that they were getting killed on customer surveys when the issue of “time waiting for beverage” came up. A light went off, and I remembered that I had seen a horoscope and crossword on the counter of a “to go” shop in Ft Lauderdale while I was there for work. I brought one over and asked if I could put it on the counter the next day. It worked. Since then it has gotten more formal- I bought a plastic stand, added the weeks weather forecast and a comic or two as well- and some folks do not even have time to finish it and their drink is “already there”. Make the wait a value added experience and it changes from a negative to a positive part of the coffeehouse character. Now, if I could get the crossword puzzle there… (and still leave room to get the coffee across!)
Thanks for talking with me, Scott, and thanks for the horoscopes from everyone at NW 23rd and Hoyt!