Kind and gentle readers, please bear with me while I present you with my latest, minor conundrum. My ongoing quest to consciously use my shopping dollars naturally extends to making coffee purchases downtown. Let us say that there are two downtown coffeeshops in close proximity, K and T.
K has good coffee. Sure, the owner is a grump who seems to be in the wrong business, but the coffee is what matters. I always wonder if the owner dislikes me specifically but, whatever, I’m not there to make friends. When I discovered that this place was open on Saturdays, I was elated and happily made my Saturday coffee purchase there. Then, the Saturday hours became intermittent, until they finally just ended. I pleaded with the staff but was told that it just wasn’t worthwhile to be open.
Around this time, T opened, and it’s open on Saturdays. It’s always busy on Saturdays, too. [This resulted in my “While You Were Out” sign idea, to let the other coffeeshop know that there is a coffee-craving clientele downtown on the weekends.]
Anyway, T is okay. In my opinion, the coffee isn’t as good. The staff is very friendly, in what I would call the annoyingly perky sort of way. Nonetheless, being friendly is appropriate to this business, and it’s nice to be treated well. I hate the way the place smells [burnt sandwich fixin’s?] and try to get in and out fast for this reason. I love the fact that it’s open on Saturdays.
So, I weigh the following factors: my quest for good coffee, my ambivalent feelings toward the way I’m treated at these two places, and my desire to reward any downtown shop that’s open on weekends. K seems to be struggling, and I feel inclined to support it to help ensure that there are two coffeeshop options. T is open on Saturdays, and I want to support that [I already do on Saturdays, out of desperation, but maybe I should always support them for this reason].
I have to weight my experience holistically — the coffee versus the customer service. The coffee is really what I’m after, but I don’t deserve to be treated like shit. On the other hand, T is always busy, and waiting in line in a stinking environment definitely cuts into the quality of my experience. Plus, choosing inferior coffee seems a bit stubborn on my part, since a quest for coffee was what started the conundrum.
So, what to do? How to spend my money wisely? How to be a conscious consumer? How to send the proper message with my dollars?