Genii Weblog

Never thought I'd actually look for a Starbucks

Wed 11 Aug 2004, 03:11 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs

Those who know me well know that I don't like coffee much (I much prefer chocolate milkshakes), but even beyond my avoidance of coffee is my absolute loathing of Starbucks.  I am sure it isn't rational, so I won't bore anyone with the details.  The sad fact is, though, I spent a good part of yesterday looking for a Starbucks.  No, I did not develop a sudden yearning for a double latte (or whatever they are called).  I just wanted internet access, and Starbucks usually has that.  I guess they really have found the desire lines for the geeks of today.

Unfortunately, I am not sitting in a Starbucks, but rather in the public library near here, which has a single dial up line.  It is really rather funny.  There are about twenty five computer terminals, every one filled all the time with those seeking internet access.  There is almost nobody else in the library, so this is obviously a prime driver, and yet there is still no other place in town offering access.  If I didn't already have a good job, I think I'd open an internet cafe of my own.  What do they call a cafe that only offers milkshakes, anyway?

Copyright 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

194.1. Stan Rogers
(08/11/2004 01:47 PM)

They used to call them "Malt Shops", if I remember correctly. And (apart from the execrable "quality" of the coffee served there, all of which has been roasted at too high a temperature, lending even their mildest roasts the telltale amonia overtones of burnt beans) you've pointed out my main objection to Starbucks -- you will not be served a beverage until you can order it in their own in-house language. Oh, and they don't have WAPs up here in the frozen part.

Internet access is kind of hit-and-miss here. In Toronto, you can get access at any number of coffee shops (mostly Second Cup and Timothys, two Canadian chains with similar market niches but better coffee than Starbucks) and most Druxy's (a "deli" chain, serving corned beef on rye to the masses who would know neither a good pastrami or a good rye bread) -- but none of these are chain-wide or chain-sponsored. I've spent a lot of time walking the streets with my little Kensington sniffer trying to pick the right spot for lunch.

194.2. Andrew Pollack
(08/12/2004 05:00 AM)

They call it "Shez Andrew" --

It used to be a pipe dream of mine to open a "geek shop" -- The idea is to non-specialize in a specialized way. The store, fairly big in terms of square feet, would be broken in to departments but with an open floor plan -- each hosting a product area with a decidedly geek bent. A high-end custom computer store, a tech book store, a SF book store, maybe if I can find someone still into such things a gamer's store, I'm sure I could find a comics geek to run a section for that -- all arrayed around a central soda fountain that resembles a diner. I my head I see the diner as lower, with steps down into it about 2 feet. Lots of neon, and tv's facing out toward the sections, each with content related to that section.

Plenty of couches and tables around for people to sit and discuss. gamer's areas would have tables for gamers to meet. The computer area would have a self-service workshop with tools for use, available parts, and help.

All I need now is about half a million dollars and someone stupid enough to give it away (because surely the concept is a money sink if ever there was one). I'm quite sure it would be very difficult to make money at for any real length of time without a much more expensive franchise model -- but since its a drea, its purpose isn't to make money. In fact, perhaps it could be a social organization -- "The Fraternal Order of Geeks".

-- :-) --

194.3. Rock
(08/13/2004 09:54 AM)

Oooh, we should form the Fraternal Order of Geeks - FOG! We could then say proudly, "I'm an a FOG!"


194.4. Mark
(08/15/2004 11:11 AM)

I suggest we call it Cafe Frappe.