The Starbucks on 20th and Division closes today. Believe it or not, I'm kind of sad about that. I've been buying my morning cup of joe at this particular location for about three months.
I know what you're thinking: "Why on earth would the food editor from the hippest Portland weekly be buying shitty Starbucks coffee when there are plenty of other options in that neighborhood?" I'll tell you, it did not happen without significant moral strain.
I begin my workday around seven o'clock every morning. Since I prize those few precious hours of sleep, I rarely give myself enough time to make my own French press elixir. This means I have to buy coffee on my way to work. I used to drive to one of the many independent coffee shops in the neighborhood, but one after the other they began to fail me.
Yes, the coffee was better at the mom and pop shops, but there were too many times that I'd show up to find a shuttered shop, or a frantic, lone barista madly trying to catch up after opening late. Other times, I'd have to deal with major attitude (I'm only ordering a small cup of coffee fer chrissakes) or just plain old shitty service. Those post bed, pre-coffee moments are a delicate time for me. What might pass as mildly abrasive at other points in the day becomes absolutely jarring pre-caffeine.
Eventually (reluctantly), I noticed that the Starbucks was always open when they said they were supposed to be open and the service was fast, friendly and (mostly) unobtrusive. I decided that, on the weekdays, I'd be happy to sacrifice a delicious cup of Stumptown brew for the ease and convenience of Starbucks.
Over time, I grew to rationalize my purchase. Lets face it, I may be contributing to an evil multinational corporation, but at least they give their employees decent pay and benefits.
So, yes, I'm sad to see that Starbucks close down. I'm also not looking forward to next Monday, when I'll have to decide whether I want to wake up earlier to make my own cupa or brave the indie-cafe wilderness of Southeast Portland.
I'm open to suggestions.