I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Paying for Ambiance

Some people are all about the price. Some are all about the experience. I'm somewhere in between--although admittedly, I'm much closer to the experience side than my budget appreciates. So I find ways to compromise. One of my favorite places that fits the bill perfectly is Panera Bread. (No, this isn't a PayPerPost. I don't do those.)

I sneak away from my office a couple of times a month to spend the afternoon writing at Panera. I went there on Wednesday for lunch and was reminded yet again about why I'm willing to pay a little extra for ambiance. I ordered my food, filled my cup with the beverage of my choice, and then found a table seated right next to the fireplace. How cool is that?

The tables are big enough for me to spread out my things so I can work. The seats are cushioned. Soft jazz was playing over the speaker system. The wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread wound its way through the entire restaurant. I fired up my laptop computer while I waited for my food (they have free Wi-Fi) and I checked my e-mail. When my food did come (I always get the Asiago Roast Beef sandwich and chips), it hit the spot big time. Refills are free. And they even have a message that pops up when you open a web browser that invites you to stay as long as you want to as long as customers aren't waiting for tables.

I spent $8.22 for that experience, compared to the $6.00 I would have spent at some fast food place where service is usually lacking, the "dinning room" is often littered with trash from the last four rushes, the ketchup machine is out of the only ingredient for which it exists, and rather than hearing soft jazz playing in the background, the sound of sizzling fried food fills the air--along with a thick coating of grease. And Wi-Fi? Even if they had it, writing in such an environment wouldn't be the same.

Give me good ambiance and a relatively cheap price and I'm a happy man.


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