For several years now, I used to go to the local coffee house. Named College Perk, presumably mimicking the name of the coffee house in Friends, it would serve the artsy crowd and others who craved a coffeehouse experience.
It's not perfect, by any means. The road leading in is unpaved, and legions of cars that drive over its uneven, potholed surface might wonder if giving in to pavement might not make everyone's life a bit better.
I drank there because it was convenient, and it wasn't Starbucks. To be honest, I don't have anything against Starbucks. I felt without Starbucks, there might not have been a coffee revolution in the US, and that coffeehouses might never have made it as they have now.
People used to say there's a McDonald's at every corner. Now, they say Starbucks is at every corner, and it's true. They're everywhere. I heard about them in 1990, when you couldn't find one almost anywhere, and even the people both raved and ranted on Starbucks.
Here's a story which shows that, quite the contrary, Starbucks has actually helped small, independent coffeehouses thrive, even those that are literally next door to Starbucks. Somehow, coffee drinkers aren't beholden to Starbucks. That may be what drive them to one Starbucks or another, but if there's a quality coffeehouse nearby that offers a different atmosphere, people are willing to give their loyalties there.
So I don't feel so bad that Starbucks has taken over. I only regret that there aren't some other small coffeehouses conveniently nearby. In the meanwhile, I now go to a local Starbucks where I know a few folks by name (hi to Spencer, John, Meg, Matt, and Andrew).
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