My name is Alice…

Ok it's not, but let's pretend just for the metaphorical purposes of this story that I have the innocence of a young girl with big blue eyes and an equally blue storybook dress. And let's just say that Detroit is this magical place that I have lived near, but yet for some reason or other never fell through the rabbit hole and found, until now.

Recently I moved from the Boston-Edison historic district of Detroit to an old Victorian style house in Midtown. At first glance the house appears to be condemned, but once inside and up the stairs to the third floor apartment that I now occupy, you find this beautiful New York style loft with an incredible view of Detroit's skyline. My first steps through the looking glass had already occurred, yet I still did not recognize it.

I normally wake up every morning and go get coffee in the suburbs before work. But my very first day at my new home I decided to walk down the street a couple of blocks and try this new cyber café called Beans and Bytes on the northeast corner of Willis off of Woodward Avenue. Beans and Bytes held its grand opening recently for a standing room only crowd. From the inside, it's pretty easy to see why. It's spacious and well decorated. There are ample computers for patrons to use. They can even fax and copy things for a reasonable fee. Delano White served me my first cup of coffee at the café. He and two other U of M Alumni and Detroit natives (Marc Baker and Gregory Posey) came up with the idea for this venture a while back. They wanted to put the best coffee house possible in the most unexpected but deserving environment they could find. Detroit was a perfect place to set up shop for their first, of what they hope will be perhaps a dozen such stores. They envision these very European style café's throughout the Midwest in the next ten years.

After my morning cup of coffee and my experience at Beans and Bytes I found myself a bit dizzy, but I knew, like Alice I would find some unpleasant things in Wonderland as well.

What could be more unpleasant than waiting all day and night for the cable company? As soon as I moved I ordered high speed internet service and digital cable from Comcast. My original installation time was scheduled at 10 am the following Saturday. They showed up around 4 pm and said they couldn't do the job because they didn't have the right equipment. But they would come back to do the job that night. They never showed up. Instead I got a call around 7:30 pm from Comcast and they asked if they could reschedule for the next day. I didn't want to but I knew I was beaten.

8 am the following morning my cable was still not installed. I went proactive I called Comcast fifty times and wrote an e-mail from work demanding an apology from the company. Monday morning Steve Thomas, a regional director for Comcast called and said, "I'm not the CEO, but I hope I'll do." And he did. He apologized for the poor service and fifteen minutes later I had Mel Milt "Detective Hamtramck" at my front door. Mel who was a subcontractor for Comcast (Le Com) needed help. He explained the job was a doozey and wasn't surprised the other guys wouldn't do it. Twenty minutes later Rashawne Taylor from Comcast showed up to help. Mel was a miracle worker and he got the job done. Steve Thomas called again and gave me a discount for the poor service and I…was watching HBO by tea time.

So my name isn't Alice and Detroit isn't exactly wonderland. But I have high speed internet, a great coffee house nearby, and a view so incredible it's beyond imagination.

Check out Beans and Bytes on the web (full site coming soon!) @
4200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Monday - Thursday 6am-10pm
Saturday 12pm-5am
Sunday 12pm-8pm





© 2002