In Praise of Starbucks

From this week's Bouncer column:

All the Starbucks-haters can suck it. Where else can you buy a muffin and get a receipt for a “pumpkin muff”? Sure, there is generally one ultra-perky ringleader who grates on your 7 a.m. ears like a swarm of rabid bats, but the rest of the minions just go about their business, delivering you a fresh cup of predictable coffee with that same soothing, flat smile. (The baristas are the real power in the machine; who else can give out the bathroom code 186 times a day?)

I go there a lot to write. Not only is there free wifi, but the music is usually so bland that I can tune it out and concentrate on the brilliance flowing from my fingertips. It's also a good place to hear inane conversations fueled by caffeine, not booze. If you are really lucky, the person next to you — also there alone, on their computer — will read your open smile as an invitation to talk your ear off, making it easier for you to avoid work.

I was at the Starbucks on Third Street, which is probably my favorite, because it is big with plenty of seating. The franchise is so keen to open new locations that it seems to inhabit any space with at least two walls and an electrical outlet. But this Starbucks is a grand dame, she is. Aye.

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