2) Second Cup
The second place gets on my nerves so bad I almost considered not including it. On paper, it’s the best place on the list and a great place to write in general. Quite spacious, it offers a large number and selection of seats and the prices are decent: you can get a coffee and snack for five dollars. Sure, the tea is $2.50, which is around $2.35 too expensive, but, alright, I get it, they have to pay rent, electricity and insurance and such. Fine.
The music is never too loud, the seats are cozy, the wi-fi is alright and the employees are nice. Of all three places, it is by far the best designed and could technically represent the nirvana of writing places; sadly, like all great things in life, it is completely ruined by one simple factor, the only one it can’t do a thing about: its customers. Located in the middle of downtown, this Second Cup attracts the most undesirable elements of society faster than mental hospital attracts people on social welfare at the end of the month. Packed to hell at any hour of the day and night, it is filled with all the kinds of smelly, drunk and noisome people you could imagine, and these people go all out of their way to annoy you the best they can.
I’ve worked there at 3AM and 2PM and it’s always the same thing: yelling, yelling and more yelling. Several times, I have considered renaming the place “Second Cup Nightclub” just because it’s about as loud; even Armin Van Buuren can’t reach that level of decibels. In fact, should the place ever become unprofitable, a conversion to an afterhours (and a beforehour, and an hour) might just work. Seriously, the people there are incredibly loud. Immigrants in particular could give less of a damn about how loud they yap all fucking night long and they take no shame yelling at each other from one side of the restaurant to the other. At first, I thought it was simply an unlucky night, but no, even at 11PM on a Wednesday night, it’s yelling, yelling and more yelling.
And some people bring their kids, too! At midnight! I’m talking, toddlers and like! WHY? I’ve even seen a mother give her crying and tired infant coffee at 1AM in an attempt to… I don’t know, I guess I don’t understand people sometimes. Still, the place can sometimes be tolerable for a good fifteen minutes or so, and the coffee is probably the best of all three places, and at an okay price. And this brings me to my next point, which is something I’ll never get: why does coffee remains at the same price all day long? At rush hour, coffee flies out so fast employees barely have time to make it, but in the middle of the night, employees can’t even sell one cup per hour and, as coffee tastes better fresh, most of the coffee they make is thrown away and wasted. Therefore, coffee should logically be more expensive at night; it’s as if fresh fruits remained at the same price all year whether they’re in season or not.
My only explanation is that the fixed cost of coffee is so low that it simply doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things, how much is wasted. Still, the message they send here is either A) People who buy coffee during rush hour overpay B) People who buy coffee in the middle of the night underpay. In any case, I won’t complain two much as both scenarios tend to be favorable to me anyway.
In all cases, as you can see, this place is not really tolerable, so this leaves us with the third and final place, a place which, over time, became my go-to spot: another Second Cup.