Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh Hell No!

Andrew and I did some shopping this weekend for supplies for my Wednesday night show. Our shopping trip included a stop at Hollywood & Highland, and our plan was to grab a coffee before heading home. There's a Starbucks there that we've patronized many times. We also know and enjoy the drinks from the Toll House shop and Kelly's Fudge. Our original intention was to get something from one of those places until we were handed a two for one coupon for a hip, new coffee shop. I like to support new businesses when I can, so Andrew and I agreed to give them a try.

As we headed into the shop, an aggressive 22 year-old guy shoved a tiny cup at me and said "Sample." I don't drink everything that's handed to me, and he was pretty rude about it. I responded in kind: "What is it?" He explained that it was some flavor of smooth or milkshake, slightly nicer than before. Not bad. We entered the shop and the first item on the menu was $6. It's a coffee shop, right? $6? The loud rave music was so loud we had to shout our order to the 22 year-old gal behind the counter. How much is a cup of coffee? $3.75. Wow. Pretty steep for an Americano from a place that just has counter service and no tables or chairs. And how was the coffee? Unromantic and not worth $3.75, not even with the free refills we were promised if we dared return that day. It was workmanlike. And the 22 year-olds in front of the store were shoving flyers into people's hands to drum up business.

Note to businesses: You have to have a good product that has value if you want to get business. Sure, you might have a brief surge from your aggressive 22 year-old marketing strategy. Sure, some people might be drawn to the rave sounds and are willing to shout over the music to buy a drink once. And they might even shell out $6 for a drink from a coffee stand. Once. Chances are good you'll attract a couple 22 year-olds as customers. Of course, they might not have jobs and be able to afford more than one of your ridiculous drinks a month. I'm not getting coffee at the rave stand ever again; Starbucks is right around the corner.

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