I stayed in downtown Starkville, Mississippi last night. I did not have a reservation at a hotel. My plan was to drive back to Madison, but I tossed a few things I might need in the car just in case, including an extra lawyer uniform. I stayed at the Hotel Chester downtown. Corporate rate. When I was in college at Mississippi State (Go Dawgs), this was the Ritz Carlton of the Golden Triangle –today, not so much. It is dated and a little dingy. I was told after already checking in it is the subject of an episode of Hotel Impossible. You live. You learn. Over time, if things don’t change, they can die. The Chester is on life support, but I am rooting for it.
They do offer a free breakfast.
After tossing and turning throughout the night, I finally stumbled out of bed to go downstairs and check out the breakfast. I walked into an empty dining room, a television was blaring in the corner, and a single staff member was sitting at the bar with her back to me. “What time does breakfast start?”
Without turning around, she muttered “Now.”
“Is it a buffet or do I order from a menu?”
Again without turning around “Menu.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the coffee and what actually looked like a pretty nice spread of fruit. “I’ll just get some coffee and come back.”
I decided to take my coffee on a little walk. Downtown Starkvegas is so much improved since I was in school. There is a really cool coffee shop, more than a few restaurants in walking distance, small college town boutiques and a few scattered law firms with single attorney names painted on large glass windows. One of the staples in downtown Starkville since forever is the Starkville Café. It is your typical Mississippi diner. They do a standard southern breakfast and its a hamburger joint for lunch. Instead of dealing with the deadhead at my hotel, I decided to pop in to the lively café –where there was a buzz in the air fueled by caffeine, grits and conversation.
So I turned down my free breakfast to have the experience of the Starkville Café. Ten bucks versus free. I made the same choice with my second cup off coffee at that ultra cool 929 Coffee Bar. What an inspiring place. I was told it is the pet project of a local architect. Nicely done dude.
So to the point –free, or even cheap is not always good. What once was does not necessarily mean it is anymore.
And so it is with lawyers.