So as crazy as this sounds (and is), every few weeks I drive about 1 1/2 hours to spend the day in my favorite Southern California coffee shop.
I know … I know—it makes no sense, especially when I live in a land of 8,000 cafes within a 20-mile radius. The thing is, something about 212 Pier works for me. It’s kind of a cool-looking California joint, in the best possible way. Bookshelves lined with used offerings; high ceilings with various types of fans, wood floor, baked goods lining an encasement near the register. I’m actually not doing the description justice, so … take a quick look:
My favorite part of 212 Pier is the crowd. It’s always a quirky gathering of writers, musicians, loud talkers, down-on-their-luck waywards and folks wearing one shoe. I’m not joking, and it’s something I genuinely dig. Hell, I even met the 179th Quaz here. Where I live, the Starbucks seem to be populated by tennis moms and PTA gaggles. Which, of course, is fine. Just not overly interesting.
This place, and these people, are interesting.
So … I arrive today, following my 1 1/2-hour drive. And I plop down my stuff on the table. And I’m greeted by the sign at the top of this entry. First, I have no idea what “Piertons” are, but they sound like the little worms from the Star Trek movie that dig into your skull. Second, I hate this signage. Like, hate, hate, hate it. I hate everything about it. Look, I get it, commercially. But … it’s not coffee shop signage. It’s just not. Places like this are supposed to be chill and relaxed and welcoming. Have a cup of coffee, kick back, read a newspaper, study for your exam. Yeah, you’re supposed to buy stuff. But that’s implied, not enforced.
Some businesses get away with this stuff. You can be a nice restaurant and insist patrons only can use the bathroom. You can be a parking lot with a limit on space access. But you can’t be a cozy coffee shop without coziness.
It doesn’t make you more money.
It simply spells your doom.