How do you like my new office?
With iPod in one ear and cell phone in the other, I sat at Panera Bread a good chunk of the day doing my work because my AT&T DSL was down again. It was down yesterday morning from about 3AM to noon, and once again today from 3AM to 4PM. These are “open outtages” whatever the heck that means. From what I could gather, they are working on something in my area.

Despite my ever-growing frustration with AT&T, there were a couple of good things that came from the outtage… 1– I complained enough to get a $50 credit on my DSL bill… and 2– I ventured into a Panera Bread for the first time. I had assumed that I wouldn’t like PB because I figured they were just another high-priced coffee (and bread) place that was more interested in selling the “coolness” aspect (ala Starbucks) and less concerned about customer value. I can admit when I am wrong… and I was.

This is no Starbucks. Sure, the quaint seating smacks of hip and trendy. Sure, they offer a wide variety of drinks, including the bean. Sure, they offer pastries etc. The big difference is in the value. The prices at Panera are great compared to SB’s – I had a monster muffin for like a dollar! The internet is fast and reliable. The staff is friendly. The seating is comfortable. What’s not to like?

I was so pleased that Panera Bread had not only allowed me to continue to work, but provided me with free drink refills and a bargain breakfast snack, that I tipped my waitress $10 on a $2 ticket.