There’s a row of shops just down the road from the office which is over-populated with coffee shops and eateries - within a line of three units, there’s an outpost of the ubiquitous Starbucks, a Portugese-run greasy-spoon-style cafe and a Sicilian coffee bar. What fascinates me is the despite the manifest superiority of the coffee, the food and the whole retail experience in the independents, people still queue up for the drek that is Starbucks.
And then this morning I was struck by something else - both of the coffee outlets offer wifi, so there’s always a small gaggle of people sitting behind laptop screens. In Starbucks it’s the usual £££ T-Mobile offer, whereas the Sicilian cafe has prominent “free wifi” signs in the windows. In Starbucks, the laptops are invariably running Windows, but in little Sicily they’re more often than not Macs. Is there some kind of causal relationship going on here?