Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

My corner pub

Last night, as I was having an exceptional second beer in 24 hours (I’d had the first with dinner, and then went to the gym and sauna, so I thought I could risk it), I briefly lamented the fact that when I lived in Berkeley, I had a corner pub– the wonderful, loud, and interesting Bison Brewery, where I’d go, have a pint or two, and write. I wasn’t exactly a regular– the bartenders and I didn’t know each others’ names– but I still enjoyed the place. I don’t have a pub here. I drink so little it would hardly be possible. Still, it seemed a bit of a shame.

Today, as my wife took the kids and their friends to the movies, I headed over to Cafe Zoë, to do some work. (I’m now at that age– or maturity– where I see that solitude is an opportunity, not the absence of others.) I’ve been coming here for years, when it was under different ownership. As I was ordering my chai latte, I read a sign they’d just put up announcing a loyalty program. Visit ten times, your next coffee is free– a deal I’ll be able to take advantage of approximately every four days, even when I’m not running a tab. “I should sign up for that,” I said.

via flickr

The owner– Zoë’s mother– said, “Oh, we’ll give you this drink for free. You’ve been here a lot more than ten times. You’re a regular.”

I guess I am.


  1. Okay, so let me ask you something: Did you reach into your pocket and fork over a handful of “free”? You might know this is one of my pet peeves. She should have said, “We’ll give you this coffee free,” as an abbreviation for “We’ll give you this coffee free-of-charge.” There is little in the current vernacular that makes me as agitated as the now ubiquitous grammatical misuse of the term “for free”.

    Oh yeah, and it’s not “sherbert” its “sherbet”. Google it.

  2. It was a chai. Otherwise, I plead guilty.

  3. Uh, more importantly, did you say, “thank you?” Let me extend our thanks to you for being a loyal customer!! We appreciate your business, and enjoy seeing you for your chai lattes. I hope your family is doing well. Is this the last week for Penninsula? Bring the kids for music and Rick’s ice cream next Friday (this week we have a private event)!

  4. I hope I said “thank you,” too!

    Almost last week at Peninsula. But I’m on the East Coast this week, and so am missing the festivities. And I’ll bring the kids in again– they love Rick’s ice cream!

    (sent via iPhone, so please forgive the typos and ADD-like prose)

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