Coffee and Chess and Hamburgers

I find myself this evening at a Starbucks in Van Nuys, drinking a coffee, watching dozens of people who are not drinking coffee, or any sort of drink actually, play very bad games of chess.

There are two points to this very short post, and it is a very short post with only two points, I guarantee that. The first is the aficionado ethos that many Starbucks devotees adhere to. I find it interesting that so many people profess to be coffee lovers yet frequent Starbucks. I understand why, it’s the comfort factor, the same reason you are still wearing those worn out sneakers and the underwear with the holes in it.

It’s the “consistent experience” where you don’t have to think too much but have the illusion of choice and comfortable alternatives to your usual drink.

I’ve been saying this for years, Starbucks is to coffee what McDonald’s is to the hamburger. If you want a great hamburger, you don’t go to McDonald’s. But if you want a consistent hamburger…

If you truly, really love coffee, you don’t go to Starbucks, you visit any one of the dozens of local roasters in your metropolitan area.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Los Angeles, visit a local Groundworks. If you’re really lucky to be in Venice, visit the Groundworks on Rose Ave. And if you are especially lucky, you’ll get Chris pulling the espresso shots for you.

And the really bad chess? People sacrifice too early for cheap victories or rush in to a situation without understanding the ramifications of the harm they are about to do to themselves. I find chess to be a perfect allegory for people’s lives, careers, goals, aspirations and their pursuit of get rich quick schemes.

Enjoy your coffee. I have to go now, I am about to be put in check because I was writing this and not paying attention to my game.

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