I rarely drink coffee, due to bad health. But when traveling to foreign countries on different time zones, I have no choice. Second Cup really saved me, because I can't stand Starbucks Coffee, and there's no Peets that I saw up there. I kept seeing their shops when I got to Edmonton, but figured it would be bad tasting, as many chain-stores are. And Starbucks was everywhere, and I even tried it again up there; but it tasted like the worst coffee on planet earth. So, knowing I'd need a cup every day while getting up early in another time zone, I gave in and tried Second Cup. To my pleasant surprise not only was the coffee quite nice, but the chocolate chip cookie, (I also avoid chocolate due to digestive problems with it, but cheat on vacation), was also really good with it. This is important because at the Starbucks, the pastries and cookies actually now taste like they were made in a plastics factory in China. Second Cup apparently has their stuff made locally. I don't know if Starbucks has local baking that's just bad, or whatever, but it now tastes like it's baking is done in an industrial plant in New Jersey and shipped here a month later all bathed in preservatives. It may not actually be that way, but that's how it tastes. Most horribly, other chains are copying this "success." So I was afraid to go in to Second Cup, but got a pleasant surprise. I'll be seeking them out if I'm ever able to get back to Edmonton, and I can only pray they'll open up branches in California, (in case I can ever drink coffee with regularity here again if my health improves). Oh yes, and another pleasant thing. Second Cup clerks seem human. Starbucks clerks have the grinning happiness of corporate goody-good-ism. And, it may seem strange to say, but I like a coffee clerk who has moods and can maybe even be a bit pensive or even a tad gloomy. It's somehow peaceful. It feels more intimate. You can tell that Starbucks clerks are trained in what to say and what not to say and what attitude to make themselves feel. Whereas it felt like Second Cup clerks were more at liberty to be just people and not stars, or whatever. And, frankly, they could express various feelings and opinions and not be all forced-shiny-happy like Starbucks. So, please, Edmonton, take if from a Canada-loving American, switch your loyalty to Second Cup and leave behind Starbucks.
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