Right now I’m working in one the new breed of Costa coffeehouses, that’s pulled a cosy looking aesthetic into a lightly dressed up steel shell. New retail parks seem to have become broadly similar – three sides of an open square with parking in the middle and identikit exteriors that, with less glass, could just as easily be an industrial setting.
High ceilings and a lot of hard surfaces. Just enough soft furnishing to make the chairs inviting. Staff that aren’t being paid to care; they’re being paid to efficiently deliver. Coffee that isn’t prepared to delight, it’s prepared to be just good enough (with the help of marketing) to have the customer default to returning as it’s an easy option.
Clearly, I’m not a fan.
I’m here because it’s a convenient place to be on hand for someone I love. Someone who needs me to give a little of myself, disrupt efficient routines, provide genuine comfort not just a facade. I care, and I look forward to being somewhere that feels like it cares about me.