247. Coffee and donuts
All over North America friends like to meet at the coffee shop.
Here people sit and talk about the day's business, news and sports,
personal concerns, shop talk, or simply gossip.
Coffee shops have an informal atmosphere that encourages conversation.
You don't have to dress up either!
Students drop in wearing T-shirts and blue jeans, and sit beside businessmen wearing suits and ties.
Many coffee shops are open 24 hours a day, including Sundays and holidays.
That way, people who work at night or who have trouble sleeping can drop in at any time.
Because coffee and donuts are relatively inexpensive,
people feel comfortable sitting for a while, knowing that they are not spending a lot of money.
Although coffee and donuts are the main items sold at coffee shops,
many also serve other beverages and desserts, and sometimes a light lunch.
Many patrons have a favorite kind of coffee or other drink
and will drive past other coffee shops to go to one that serves the flavor they like.
Visitors from other countries are often surprised at how roomy these coffee shops can be.
Some are as large as regular restaurants.
Having a nice bit of space around them encourages people to relax.
Some people arrange regular dates and meet every day, or every week, at the same time.
For example, retired friends may get together every weekday morning at 10 a.m.
Others stop every morning at the drive-in line to get their coffee for work.
Even people who have coffee machines at home or at work
like to go to coffee shops to get a special kind of coffee or a favorite treat.
It might seem that the business owners would not make much money just selling a few items,
but in fact, many coffee shops do extremely well,
especially if they are located in a busy traffic area.
Then business tends to be steady all through the day.
Not only do people come in and sit down, but there is usually a lot of take-out business as well.
People go to coffee shops not only to socialize with family and friends,
but also to discuss business or treat their employees to a snack.
Others go there to read the newspaper or a favorite magazine.
Some people even go there to do work.
This article was written in a coffee shop!
Of course, people who come here usually like coffee and donuts.
Coffee is the favorite hot drink in North America, but most shops also serve tea,
hot chocolate and cappuccino, as well as some other cold beverages.
Donuts are usually round, and are small deep-fried breads with various toppings.
Most donuts have a hole in the middle.
Even these "holes", which are punched out of the donut, can be sold separately, as a kind of mini-donut.
Everywhere you go in North America, you will see coffee shops.
So take half an hour to stop in and relax.
You'll enjoy the great North American "coffee break"!