I go to Caribou Coffee.
The reason I go to Caribou Coffee is because I have to leave the Twin Cities early, lest I care to get caught up in the afternoon rush hour. And so to avoid it, I'm willing to leave 2 hours earlier than is necessary and thus kill the excess time at the Caribou in the small town I teach.
Now obviously I go to Caribou for the internet access and buy a token tea or soda or what have you so I don't feel like a freeloader. However as time has gone on, I have experienced a progressive mental irritation that I haven't been able to put my finger on. Nothing stark or obvious, but when I leave Caribou I've realized I'm in a worse mood than when I arrived.
And today, as I type live from the Caribou Coffee here, I have identified this irritant;
Upon entering the Caribou Coffee I am immediately inundated with advertisements suggesting I do the right thing and donate to "Amy's Blend," a blend of coffee where presumably a certain percentage goes to fight cancer (Amy being a former employee of Caribou that unfortunately passed away). This is the most noble of Caribou's proselytizing and one I'm willing to let slip in that it is noble.
However, the nobility of the proselytizing quickly deteriorates as I look to my left and see bottled water with the brand name "Project 7." Project 7 being a touchy feel good leftist non-profit organization that advocates (you guessed it) helping the poor, saving the environment and the other potpourri of leftist causes that never seem to get resolved.
Then of course there is the "organic/fair trade/green" or whatever you want to call it. Placards and posters abound telling me how virtuous Caribou is making sure their coffee is acquired according to the "Rainforest Process" and that people are paid a fair wage and other things that just boil the blood of even the "rookiest" aspiring, Junior Deputy economist.
In short I cannot look anywhere without seeing Caribou Coffee Inc treating me like a child, telling me what I should think, what is "right" and "wrong" and how bad I should feel if I don't live my life this way (all of course with a leftist slant). I might as well go to church.
Regardless, the short and quick of it is it isn't worth the internet access. To go into a building or a place of business and be lectured by some coffee snobs is insulting. I came here for internet access and tea. Not a freaking college lecture on "Leftist Causes that Never Get Solved Because We Do It First and Foremost to Make Ourselves Feel Better 101." Let me have my tea, let me have my internet access, sure, pipe in some nice music, but get rid of the Marxist propaganda.
Now this got me thinking, and like all other great ideas in the history of my life, this will be surely ignored. Ergo I'll throw it out there in the outlandish hopes the good men and women at Holiday Gas stations will listen to me.
I like Holiday Gas Stations. They're my favorite. They're conveniently located and they have gas, sure, but;
1. They have free air
2. They have the power drinks I like
3. They do have a pretty darn good deli. Not that green egg sandwhich with the expiration date you don't care to risk. But fresh burgers, brats, donuts.
4. They have a little area for you to sit and enjoy your food should you wish.
Everything a guy could want, BUT internet access.
And here is where Holiday could outdo McDonald's attempt to steal Caribou's and Starbuck's business.
If Holiday Gas Stations (or any convenience store) added that additional bit of convenience of internet access, they could make a killing. People who are sick and tired of paying an extra $2 for a cup of Joe just so some worker in Bolivia can make an extra 50 cents per hour would go to the gas station instead of Caribou. People who are sick and tired of paying $4 for a tin of gum just so $3 can be donated to a cause that will probably not be solved, would go to the gas station instead of Starbucks. People who just plain want to get a FREAKING cup of coffee without being lectured for not being a leftist would go to the gas station instead of Dunn Brothers.
Oh, I could see it now. I have to go to Holiday anyway to get gas and my daily power drink. There, in the corner is a nice table with a plug in. Grab a donut, fire up the ole laptop and boom, get my daily internet stuff done. No doubt I'll buy a burger with the $41.87 I saved not going to a "premium" coffee store, but more importantly Dante the attendee is just sitting there checking people out, doing his job. Not brow-beating me into buying "organic gas" or using recycled toilet paper when I have to go.
It's an achievable goal. And a goal that would make mine and no doubt some of your lives happier.
Alas, it is outside my control.
Unless I approach Holiday with this idea and they put me in charge of it. Allowing me to realize my dream...and getting paid $250,000 to spearhead the operation.
Hmmm....might just pay them a visit.