The first step is admitting the problem

Hi, I’m Shane, and this is the third coffee shop I’ve visited today.

Admittedly, today is a rather unusual day, and the post title and lead-in is a cheap bit of hyperbole. Today is a day of inconveniently scheduled meetings, long drives, and a bunch of getting out of the way of a FOAF that I’m delivering the moving truck for. So this is not a normal day at all, and I rarely ever visit two coffee shops in one day – honest!

The day started with exactly not quite enough time to get anywhere between the morning dropoff and my first meeting. Hence, I decided to skip rush hour traffic, and drive just a couple of blocks to my coffee home, Peet’s in Lexington. The staff is great (Hi Janice!), there are plenty of tables, and for all the fact that they don’t offer free wifi, I really do find it a good place to focus on work without distractions. It’s also quiet enough in the back to be able to call into my meeting with good cell coverage. Since it was still early in the day, I opted for hot coffee here.

Meeting over, I then had enough time to drive home to do a couple of hours of work, which of course took longer than expected, and left me late to pickup the rental truck. Being hungry, hot, late, and in possession of one of the free sandwich coupons, I stopped at a convenient DD for my large iced, milk, half a sugar, hazelnut, and a flatbread sandwich to finish while waiting for rental truck paperwork. I must admit that I did not actually sit down at that coffee shop.

Truck delivered to the friend who’s moving, I now have a few hours to try to finish some work while they decide what to load up and what to leave behind. Of course, I have them drop me off at the closest Starbucks for another large iced, half-sweet, since now I really do need the free wifi to read my email. This time, I am sitting down.

I promise – I won’t do this again. This week I’ll pull my thermos out of the cupboard and start making iced coffee to bring with me. But today was just a little bit too much happening for that.

I hear you ask: so, how do they compare, these three highly branded corporate behemoths of the caffeine addiction trade? I’m not sure it’s completely fair to do a head-to-head, given the differing styles, but I will share this:

  • I love Peet’s. Better coffee, better bar drinks, and a good variety of pastries that I happen to like. Always my favorite, but not always immediately convenient.
  • DD is such a background to the fabric of life that it will always be important. I would never call it gourmet, but sometimes you just need a predictable cuppa, and I know I can always find a DD. Sadly, today’s iced was a tad down; I think they actually gave me too little sugar, which rarely happens (I often have to explain “just a HALF sugar, please”).
  • The primary value to Starbucks is that when you really need a bar drink, you can always find a passable one. And in today’s case, the free wifi (with air conditioning and comfortable chairs!) was the important part.

And now, back to tracking the latest round of software defects…

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