As I biked to a neighborhood cafe, I thought, I pay $2-3 not for coffee but for community. My coffee at home is plenty good, but what my house lacks is the energy, white noise, and synchronicity that can happen. Especially nowadays, I seem to encounter and be meeting more interesting people at cafes.
I’m in the habit of managing expenses by multiplying my expenditure times x number of days or weeks. So for coffee it’s about $40 / month or $500 per year spent in cafes. That’s about 5 massages, 4-5 expensive haircuts or 1.34 hours of therapy. Ya, worth it for the caffeinated community and potential for synchronicity.
Sometimes I imagine myself as the cafe owner, how frustrating it must be seeing patrons whose beverages are long gone using the cafe as a library substitute, glancing and ignoring new customers who are desperate for seating. Then I think about if I weren’t able to do some work while sipping, I’d be a lot less likely to make cafes a 5 or so day a week habit.
In the olden days (30 years ago) people hung out in cafes writing papers, reading books. Sure it might be easier for the hours to slip by with a laptop, but hanging out is what so many cafes are made of.
Starbucks envisioned their purpose as a “third place” after home and work for people. As I arrived at the object of my pondering, my delight soared upon discovering the cafe, Caffe Trieste, has dripped its coffee using Chemex coffee makers since before “pour over” became an adjective. I sat and started working, partially wondering if I had exaggerated the importance I place on cafes…until a group of people started talking about an old movie…I chimed in and we had a rollicking conversation about gas lighting and life.
I love my third place(s).
When you’re creating products or experiences, striving for that magical feeling of a “place” is a good thing.