Monday, October 15, 2007

Chain restaurant!

A Panera Bread (a.k.a. St. Louis Bread Company) just opened near my house. On my way to work, in fact. I am extremely happy about this. Being fairly alone and perpetually lost in a new town, it is very comforting to walk into a place that looks exactly like the place I spent many happy (and some unhappy) hours surfing the internet, reading newspapers, and studying for the bar exam. Plus, San Antonio has a bizarre dearth of free wireless internet in any places where you'd actually want to go and surf the internet. (My Chinese restaurant has wireless internet, as does the local Denny's-style diner place--who gets out their laptop places like that? It's bizarre.)

I do feel a tiny bit guilty about this--I typically try to patronize independent, locally owned businesses. I like supporting things that are a little different, to help slow our society's inevitable progress toward becoming a nation of identical strip malls with no local differences other than the content of the maps and street guides they sell at Barnes & Noble and the Shell Station.

But at least the profits on my $0.89 bagels are going to St. Louis and benefiting what will be my local economy in the future, so that's something. I just wish Panera had kept the name "St. Louis Bread Company" for its national expansion--my hometown could use some positive publicity.

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