Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Revenge on the coffee-drinkers

It struck me while in Denver last weekend that conventions such as the ASSA are the one time when those who prefer their caffeine in the form of diet soda have the advantage over those who prefer coffee as a caffeine delivery system. In many contexts, coffee drinkers are subsidized (to the point where the coffee is free in many cases) while diet soda drinkers have to buy and bring their own, thereby incurring direct time and money costs. I've never quite understood this asymmetry but it is ubiquitous.

At the ASSA and other big conventions the tables are turned. Soda drinkers wait in short lines at the hotel gift shop or a local 7-11 while, particularly in the morning, coffee drinkers stand in astoundingly long lines at whatever Starbucks equivalent the hotel provides in its lobby. And I smile as I walk by and look at the coffee drinkers waiting.

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