Can Someone Explain the Whole Starbucks Thing To Me?

Ok, I wrote a blog recently about how tragically uncool and out of touch I am these days and this is just another example.

I recently met some interview subjects for a story I was writing for a magazine in a local Starbucks. The few times I find myself going into a Starbucks,  I get what I want and get out of there pretty quickly. Unless of course I arrange to meet someone to interview there.

This time as I waited for the person to arrive, I took a good look around. First of all, the place was PACKED on a mid-day Sunday. This particular store had a long counter for laptop plug-ins and there were at least 20 people on stools on both sides of this working on their computers. Aside from them, there was the same thing everywhere I looked. There was maybe one or two people just sitting and talking over coffee.

And this caused me to wonder…. why is it that people like to do their computer work in a crowded coffeehouse? Do that many people skip subscribing to an Internet service and need the free Internet?

I can’t believe it would be conducive to get work done in that situation. I personally would be distracted at every person that walked in – I am a notorious people watcher. The orders, the conversation, everything would distract me from what I needed to do.

Now I do know some writers prefer to do their writing outside of their homes and many do it at coffee shops. This seems crazy to me. I just can’t see myself in a public place getting lost within my writing – EVER. I don’t know how those writers focus or get anything done.

So can someone enlighten me as to why this is THE PLACE to get your computer work/internet surfing/writing done, because I am really clueless. Perhaps someone hipper, cooler than me who can explain in terms I will understand, exactly what the appeal is.

And PS – if it wasn’t for the occasion Frap indulgence, I can do without their coffee too.


  • I dont get it either….why would you try to do your work in that environment.

  • Here’s what Robert explained to me on Facebook: Robert Sagusti Free wifi while you ogle women and get all hepped up on caffeine pretending that you are cool enough to get paid to sit and slurp coffee out of ridiculously large trendy coffee bowls while doing really important work except that you are really surfing the web mindlessly.
    And here’s what Allen said: its kind of a living room away from home to those you frequent

  • The only time I hit Starbucks is when I need free Internet (traveling, etc.) . Their coffee is bitter and nasty! I could never get anything done there either, I’m a major people watcher too!

  • no land line phone calls, no demanding pets, no TV with “Must Watch Shows” on the fridge filled with leftovers..I can see how working in a public place would be more productive than working at home sweet cozy home

  • Starbucks is a place where a lot of people conduct business. Tons of business meetings go on there. The rise of “telecommuters” and “entrepreneurs” working from home offices feed these crowds. Only recently did the WiFi become free at Starbucks. Everyone used to pay for it through a roaming contract they had with a provider or as they used it. Many probably had and have Internet service at home, too. I do not like Starbucks coffee. I think their coffee sucks. Almost every smaller independent coffee shop has coffee of a much higher quality. Starbucks is barely OK in a pinch but in our neighborhood, Fioza on Chimney Rock is far superior.

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