Location: Borders Books and Music, Borders, ME
When: January 1st, 2005, 2 OM
Present: Jess Brakeley
Coffee: Border's Italian Roast
I promised to read The Golden Compass if the Curtis (my sister's family) took us with them to see the play in England. I guess it is quite a production. The play is four hours a day, for two days. Mike, my brother in law, is an international pilot for Continental, and he really wants to see the play. His family gets to fly free, and I get to go for cheap. Caritha was shocked to learn that I hadn't read the His Dark Materialstrilogy yet, so I said I'd read it if they brought us along to the play. We had an hour to kill before the movie, Team America started, so we headed over to Borders to pick up The Golden Compass and grab a coffee before the show.
Somehow I feel like a traitor whenever I go to Borders. It is a moot point, really. The giant retail chain bookstore has already put all the smaller bookstores in the area out of business, so it isn't like there is an elsewhere to take my business to. But I still feel guilty. It is like going to Starbucks, or something. In Portland I saw how Starbucks operates when they move into a new area. They let other coffee shops do the marketing research, then buy up property next to a successful locally-owned shop. At least three of my favorite family-run locally-owned coffee shops went out of business because they couldn't compete. Now that I think of it, Borders now serves Starbucks coffee. I just hate it when my money goes to support corporate giants that put local businesses out of business.
So I feel awkward and guilty when I buy books or drink coffee at Borders. Like I am sleeping with the enemy, betraying my morals. But it isn't like my money is going to Borders instead of a local business. We are sadly lacking in coffee shops and bookstores here. The only other bookstores around here are used bookstores, and they get 10X more money from me than Borders does, so the only competition Borders has here in terms of new books is Amazon.com. But still...
The coffee was standard Stabucks weirdness. It tries hard to taste like good coffee, but every cup of coffee from Starbucks tastes like every other cup of coffee from Starbucks, regardless of location, water or equipment quality, staff ability, or any other variable. It is just too consistent. It is serviceable, and in the absense of a real coffee shop, such as when one is stuck in an airport or in Valley Forge, PA, it does the job. But there is just something not quite real about it, like the difference between Borders and a real bookstore. That makes me realize how much I miss about my former home cities of Portland, ME and Portsmouth, NH. There are no real coffee shops here.