Coffee Shop Bedlam
If you’ve seen any of my headphone reviews, you’ve no doubt noticed the coffee shop in the background. They were taken in a Starbucks near my house that opened over 20 years ago. I know that debate rages about whether or not Starbucks has good coffee and whether we should be going there in the first place, but I liked writing there. They had a really good WiFi connection and lots of small tables that I didn’t mind taking up with my laptop for a bit.
On May 1st, Starbucks is going to close that store and transfer its staff to other locations, and they haven’t really said why. I could sit here and speculate about sales numbers, or fights with the owners of the building, or the costs it would take to update the aging store to the modern Starbucks look, but I have no direct inside information. I do know that at one time it was destined to get a remodel in the summer of 2020, but since the making of that plan, two new stores have been built in the area. It’s probably a bit of all these factors.
I might not have started down my current headphone adventure without that Starbucks. It went from being a place I occasionally got coffee over the years to my main writing and social hangout. When I first started bringing an Android Tablet(!) there to catch up on emails in 2015, I never expected that would balloon into the amount of writing I’ve done since. I got into headphones again, in part, because I wanted to listen to my own music while I worked there, something I mostly did on speakers at home at that time.
I live near Portland, Oregon, USA, and there are roughly 175 million other coffee shops and cafes I could choose to hang out in, so finding a new place won’t be a problem. But it will take a while. Those rare times where I’ve had to go somewhere that wasn’t my “main” spot, I’ve always thought of them as an inferior backup. I don’t know that I’ll ever find a place that quite captured that original store’s perfect combination of many small tables and quirky atmosphere, but I’ll try.
I know it might seem silly to get nostalgic or bothered over the closure of a chain coffee shop, and indeed it is. But sometimes, the hardest changes to adapt to are the ones you never see coming. In spite of the company’s reluctance to implement certain updates or inventory items in the location, I always thought that its steady business and two decades plus of operation ensured it a home in the long term plan. I’ll miss you Starbucks, you were a good place to write dumb tech garbage, and I often took a picture of your floor or wall with a headphone in front of it.