The promise of free coffee
06/23/2012 1:03 PM
Yes, I said poor Starbucks. They take a lot of guff. Corporate giant. Burnt-tasting coffee. Pretentious baristas—one scolded my wife Mary when she ordered a café au lait, replying “We prefer to call it a misto.”
This morning, I witnessed another indignity toward the ubiquitous coffee chain. I was walking past the Starbucks at Madison and Morgan when I was blocked by a street intercept (what it’s called when someone is getting signatures for a petition or taking a survey).
Two perky girls stopped pedestrians as they were entering Starbucks. One of the girls shoved a card toward me and extolled the virtues of a new West Loop venture called Inspire Business Club, which allows a businessperson to lease office space by the month. Most important, she told me, “there’s free coffee, so you won’t have to buy it here!”
The clever marketing message is, you don’t have to camp out at Starbucks and glom free Wi-Fi anymore—now you can have a real office with walls. Offices at Inspire run $795 a month, so “free” coffee is perhaps in the eye of the beholder.
I asked her where the facility was located, and she replied, “I’m not sure—I don’t live around here. I think it’s close.”
For the record, Inspire is at Jackson and Morgan, roughly three blocks from where she was standing. I’m also guessing she may have tried some of the non-free coffee. As I continued my walk, she headed inside to use the Starbucks facilities.