odd time signatures

Starbucks, I’m breaking up with you

If anyone told me I’d give up my first love, I’d have smacked them down as fast as I could say “no way, no how”, but here I am, giving Starbucks back their ring and saying goodbye.

It’s not that they’ve done anything wrong. They haven’t. In fact, I still like them for giving part-time employees health insurance and other benefits, and having free wifi (with purchase) for a couple of hours a day. They’re reliable, and not so bad.

I’m still leaving them. Here’s why.

One day I went to the little Indian restaurant around the corner to buy some fresh naan to go with our curry. It’s a great little restaurant, family owned, authentic cuisine, great lunch buffet, reasonable prices. But there were hardly any customers.

Yet, down the street at Wood Ranch, there were people waiting outside for a table. Wood Ranch is a chain, it’s very good too, but it’s a chain.

It occurred to me that if we don’t start supporting our local businesses, the ones that aren’t a chain or a franchise but are still very, very good, they won’t survive. And if they don’t survive, we won’t be able to enjoy tandoori chicken or locally-roasted coffee or specialty boutiques.

Element coffee - local, hip, better than sbuxSince I don’t have wheels, I walk everywhere I go. Starbucks is about a mile and a half away, not a bad walk at all, but if I head in the other direction, I end up at elementcoffee, where I get free wifi for as long as I want, locally roasted Intelligentsia coffee, and a less frenetic environment in which to work. The coffee is ground and brewed right in front of me, and I get to pick the coffee, as opposed to choosing what the Starbucks gurus have chosen for the “other choice” that isn’t Pike.

An extra added bonus: They welcome local musicians in to play on Friday and Saturday nights. Our friend Gary played last Saturday; Sticks played Friday night (video to come soon). While I’d actually rather sip a great Chardonnay and listen to jazz on a Friday night, coffee could be the next best thing. It’s in a hip, funky part of town, and it’s local.

I’m dead serious about supporting local businesses. I walk down the street and see way too many signs on closed doors saying they’re out of business. Starbucks will survive in one form or another; elementcoffee may not if the locals don’t start hanging out there and giving them love. Love that is well-deserved — great ambience, great service, great coffee, free, unlimited wi-fi and music…is there anything better?

Same for Cafe India, and as many other local businesses as I can afford to support. Because when the economy turns around, I want to know that they’re solidly entrenched in our community, still thriving, a part of our local landscape and one of the reasons people want to come here.

Oh, one other tip for coffee lovers: Twitbud Kyle Sellers is a local coffee guy who is starting up a podcast reviewing coffee. He affirmed what I already thought about Intelligentsia, and will be reviewing lots of different types and blends. Here’s one he recommended last night on Twitter. You can follow his coffee podcast tweets here. He’s a good guy, knows his coffee, even if he is a Republican. 😉 He’s also local, and just lost his job managing a local chain of coffee shops due to slow business and layoffs. Give him love. We all need it. 🙂

So Starbucks, this is why I’m breaking up with you. Maybe we’ll meet for a tryst now and again, but for now, I’m going local. No more long distance relationships for me.

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