Peace, Love, and Coffee

A diary of the wonderful and wacky goings on at Coffee to the People, an independent coffeehouse located at 1206 Masonic Avenue in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Haight Street Fair

Enough about how it all started. Let's start talking about the wacky and wonderful goings on.

COFFEE TO THE PEOPLE had originally intended to open its doors in time for the annual Haight Street Fair so that we could take advantage of the free exposure (over 100,00 people attend the fair annually). Due to construction delays, however, we weren't ready on the day of the fair and so we were largely excluded from participating. Still, we did manage to pull together a little promotional activity in front of the store where we gave away free bags of chocolate-covered espresso beans. It was great to start meeting people in the neighborhood and we were able to generate some anticipatory exitement.

The event also gave us our first taste of some of the more peculiar aspects of being a business in the Haight. Two events were particularly memorable. The first involved a man dressed in a Star Wars costume and carrying a plastic light saber who wanted us to give him one of the balloons we were using to decorate the shop. Since we only had a few balloons and we needed them to draw attention to the store, we told him no, but that he could take as many balloons as he wanted at the end of the day. Apparently, this offer was not sufficient because he kept coming back and asking again every hour or so, growing increasingly demanding and angry until at one point he started cursing me for my stinginess. Shortly thereafter we discovered the balloons were missing, having been stolen while we were talking with some of our other visitors.

In another strange incident that same day, a rather scruffy looking man (scruffy even by Haight standards) paused in front of our shop, opened his backpack, and pulled out a giant bottle of propane and a cigarette lighter. Thinking we were about to be firebombed, I jumped back and demanded to know what he was doing. Fortunately, it turned out he was *just* filling his lighter. How's that for strange?

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