Monday, August 18, 2008

Why We Love Coffee Shops

Davao City is famous for it's livability. One reason for such fame is Davao's "relaxed" atmosphere. Meaning, Davaoeños prefer a more "relaxed" lifestyle. Notice that there are less night clubs and bars in Davao than in Cebu or Manila. Also, there is the budding of spa stations, salons and massage parlors; nameless or franchised.

What I will be discussing in this blog post is the trend which plagues Davao city: the rise of coffee shops. If you stand somewhere in Claveria, San Pedro or Bajada, for every coffee shop, there is another coffee shop within a 5 meter radius. What's with the coffee shop craze?

It's Luxurious

People just love the G-L-Amourous life...yes, even if it's something that they don't really have. Coffee, tea, pasta and meals served in coffee shops are expensive. And at times, they're not even gastronomically worth it! However, people hang out at coffee shops (and even dine there!) because they're expensive. It makes them feel rich and luxurious. Hanging out at a coffee shop is a "lease" for Class A life.

It's Relaxing

Coffee shop interior design and architecture are designed to relax a person. From the shapes (Zen, Asian Tropical, whatever you call it) to the colors to the materials being used to put together a coffee shop atmosphere provides ease to our senses, which evokes relaxation from within.

Lately, technology forces us to do things which we were not capable of doing before. Technology pushes us to achieve things which we may have not thought of before. In effect, because of technology, people are actually doing MORE than they used to. So, a little form of relaxation is something that we are willing to pay for even if it costs us a lot. Coffee shops provide relaxation. And I'm often guilty of being under this spell.

It's the Coffee

Okay, okay. Sometimes, it's just the coffee. Brewing coffee at home everyday is tedious. If you're the kind of person who is (a little) impatient, then of course, you'd just prefer dropping by a coffee shop near your office/school. Moreover, maybe the beans which coffee shops use are better, or that their machine is better. So, yeah, sometimes, it's the coffee.

It's the In-Thang

Everybody does it..Sure. The rise of coffee shops have literally raised the bar on drinking-coffee activities. Before, first dates were dinner-and-movie. Now, first dates are "coffee"! Today, more and more business transactions are even closed in coffee shops! (Talk about real estate, buy-and-sell products and even business interviews!) The coffee shop as a rendezvous have been normalized because of it's massive exposure and frequency of this exposure towards us. Through this normalization people "expect" to do certain things at coffee shops because everybody does it anyway.

It's the Experience

To sum it all up, the reason why we love coffee shops is because of the experience that comes with it. We recognize that having coffee, "hanging out" and dining at coffee shops is expensive but we still choose to do so because of the feelings that the experience gives us. Whenever we decide whether to go or not to go to a coffee shop, these feelings push us into a position that we are WILLING TO PAY for the experience and the coffee, food and other drinks will just become tangential.

It's kinda like going to Timezone, spending P100 and getting a pencil case from the tickets you've earned. What's different is that Timezone doesn't hide under the cloak of being a school supply store or a toy store. It IS a recreational center. So you pay for the experience. Coffee shops pretend to sell coffee, pasta and homemade drinks.

We're doomed!

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