The Cost of Coffee.

Published in: Life.

The No Parkingbest coffee in Atlanta is at Steady Hand Pour House.1 Steady Hand (formerly known as Octane Emory (formerly known as Method-X)) has been through several owners, but has always been operated by the same guys. These guys are now the owners. I don’t know if my palate has improved over the years or if the coffee is actually better,2 but, as Steady Hand, the spot has really come into its own.

In addition to the excellent espresso drinks, Steady Hand offers coffee brewed to order by Chemex or siphon, which are the best brewed coffees I have ever tasted. They are so good that choosing between them or an espresso drink is a difficult decision in which no one loses.

Conveniently, there is a parking lot just behind their neighbor, Everybody’s Pizza, that is for patrons of Steady Hand and Everybody’s. Inconveniently, this lot is aggressively defended against illegitimate parkers. I say “aggressively” because I have been erroneously booted twice while at Steady Hand with the claim that I had crossed over to Emory.

The guys at Steady Hand have been outstanding in confirming my presence in their shop and helping me get the erroneous boot off of my car, but the problem still stands. I can understand the mistake once, but twice? There is a flaw in the implementation.

A sense of helplessness looms large over the whole situation. In the moment, it is my word3 against their word. I’ve been trying to understand how I have twice been mistakenly booted and I can only think of two things: I have an Emory student doppelganger, or, since I park towards the far end of the lot and have a laptop bag, it is assumed that I am walking over to Emory. It is obvious that I’m not being watched the whole time, otherwise I wouldn’t4 be getting booted.

I’m not sure how to move forward from here: I’m not doing anything wrong, the coffee is really good, and I like going there. I asked the booter what I can do to avoid this, and he responded with “You can park here all day so long as you stay at Steady Hand.” History shows that to be inaccurate. Here are some other ideas I had:

  • Look for someone watching the lot when I arrive. Yell to them, “Hey! Are you watching the lot? I’m going to Steady Hand, care to walk me over there?” Pros: No mistaking where I went. Cons: High jerk factor, which may result in a spite-booting.
  • Generally shout in the parking lot “Hey! I’m parking here and going to Steady Hand!” and hope that whoever is responsible hears and understands. Pros: If I call attention to myself, perhaps they’ll watch the entire journey to the Steady Hand. Cons: It’s too similar to muttering to myself or talking to voices in my head.
  • Tape a sign on my window saying, “I’m in Steady Hand. Please come verify that I am not before you boot my car.” Pros: Less noise disturbance and gets the message across. Cons: They may not care to verify.
  • Park somewhere else. Pros: Solves the issue. Cons: They win.
  • Bring my own boot and beat them to the punch. Pros: It could work. Cons: Must purchase and haul a car boot; there are 3 more wheels left vulnerable.5
  • Ride my bike there. Pros: Definitely solves the issue; better health. Cons: Weather exposure; will have to haul Eli to daycare in his trailer.6

Really, though, the lot watchers need a change of strategy. The false positives are too frequent and the trouble caused is too great to continue with their current practice. Switching to a form of parking validation would be better, though I imagine it would be difficult to manage people patronizing more of Emory Village than just Everybody’s or Steady Hand. Regardless, the current method isn’t working.

  1. They’re quite active on Twitter.
  2. I do wonder how the general sense of ownership affects the final product. The place certainly seemed to get busier after the operators assumed ownership.
  3. backed by Steady hand
  4. or at least shouldn’t
  5. Suggested by Garrett.
  6. Suggested by Joel.

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