That’s the claim that I read when I walk into Coffee Plantation at Shea Blvd and Scottsdale Road in the Harkin’s Shea 14 plaza. What I haven’t yet figured out is, what more? What more than coffee do they offer besides free WI-FI?
You can typically find me at this Coffee Plantation on most weekdays for one simple reason, and it isn’t the coffee.
Free internet. That’s the real reason I’m here. There is no other draw. Not the food, not the coffee, and definitely not the service.
My overall experience at the Coffee Plantation began in the late 80’s on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona. It was a hip, up and coming place to hang out with my friends between high school and college, and provided a very eclectic atmosphere for various artistic types of which I was anxious to become.
Today, that shop is gone, but some of the other locations are still open. I’m not sure why. If this location closed down, I wouldn’t be heartbroken. Inza Coffee, which was located at Loop 101 and Shea Blvd closed down last year, and most of the people who went there migrated to the next best choice which is where I sit and write today. I’ve spent a vast majority of my working hours here because I get free internet and it’s close, and primarily because we don’t have much of a choice in this neck of the woods. So, as a result, lots of business meetings occur here.
So what’s wrong with it, you ask?
Well, there are a list of things that just annoy the crap out of me about this place. The decor feels like an old McDonalds. The employees are more interested in socializing with each other rather than tending to the clientele. There have been too many changes of ownership and too much behind-the-counter drama. Half of the establishment has a poor WI-FI signal. The other half is too cold. People smoke outside the doors and nobody says anything. They still require a signature for a $2.00 credit card purchase. The lunch menu is expensive and not worth the price. They play CD’s and their CD player is ancient, skipping on at least one if not more of each song on each CD. Ever heard of an iPod? Tables aren’t bussed. Every day it seems the owner is meeting with someone about the business, which gives me the impression that they’re hurting. The wait staff, oh wait, did I go there already? They’re all nice people, but they’re more concerned with who’s getting more hours than who’s paying their bills…that would be me, the customer.
I honestly have no idea how coffee shops stay in business short of the $4.00 blended drinks which are of no value to me. Coffee Plantation has a direct walk-through door to the G-Spot, where you can get overpriced Italian ice-cream, and another door down is Pita Jungle, which seems to be doing it all right. If it weren’t for the traffic that these other businesses generated, I’m not so sure CP would still be here.
If something better comes along, I’m sure you’ll find me there rather than here, cause this place is getting old. Even with recent attempts to make it more “cozy” by adding a sofa, large cushy chairs, and a divan, it’s still the same old grungy, wicker-chair wielding, cold feet, no-power-outside, coffee shop that feels like a fast food restaurant.