The dream of the 90's is alive in Washington, D.C.
In the 90's, I sat in my living room every Thursday night to watch the characters on "Friends" sit in the coffee shop Central Perk. The idealistic high schooler who was I couldn't wait to be a useless 20 something wasting my days away on an indy coffee shop couch. But fate had something else in mind and instead of a quaint coffee shop where everybody knows your name, I, and many others promised this dream, came of age in the era of the Starbucks take over. Yes, they may ask your name to write it on your crack that they are cranking out of a coffee grinder in their behind the counter factory while you stand in their retail section questioning if you might need that Aaron Neville holiday CD. But of all the Starbucks on every corner, none have fulfilled the promise of lazy afternoons spent sipping coffee out of over-sized mugs while musing about relationships with your quirky friends.
So I guess I should go to D.C. where all the local coffee shops have risen up and banned together to take down Starbucks with this wonderful "Disloyalty Card" which offers patrons a chance to collect stamps at participating locally owned coffee shops. Six stamps gets you a free coffee. That's pretty much one free coffee a week! This is so much better than the trap of that Starbucks club thing that my roommate fell victim to and obsessively bought $4 coffees for weeks to earn gold which means that once every couple months they toss you a free small coffee or muffin. Plus you get to support local and maybe find a couch to sit on and even make friends. And I love that by joining together, these coffee shops really do become competition for the omnipresent Starbucks. Even if you aren't near your favorite one, there is most likely another one that you can go to and earn your stamp. Brilliant. I hope this trend catches on.