How the Rich Get Richer

It made me think I maybe don’t belong in a coffee shop where the customers have Prada purses. It made me think I should maybe dump that high-priced decaf espresso and walk right over to my old haunt Dunkin’ Donuts up Main Street a ways.

starbucksI saw a tastefully turned-out woman with a Prada handbag and perfect hair at Starbucks.

I wasn’t trying to ‘see’ her but she was lingering at my elbow as we both stood at the small station all Starbucks storefronts have. This is the place where management provides straws and swizzle sticks, napkins and a modest range of ‘enhancers’, from cinnamon to cocoa powder, as well as the usual range of choices in the general cream and sugar category.

 I felt I was holding her up, the way she lingered idly beside me and so I muttered an apology for not doing a speedier job of dribbling cream into my coffee from the tall cool carafe that stands beside the other tall cool carafes that hold the lowfat milk and the regular milk. I thought probably she needed access to the cream too.

But when I stepped back, my own iced coffee enhanced to my liking, I saw more: She did treat her own coffee with cream, and Splenda, too; but then she reached into the mini-bin that held the sweetener in the familiar pale-yellow packets, closed her fingers around a good dozen of them and slipped them quick into that slim Prada purse.

Maybe Starbucks can handle this kind of ‘shrinkage’ as they call stealing in the retail world, but it still made me shake my head.

It also made me think I maybe don’t belong in a coffee shop where the customers have Prada purses. It made me think I should maybe dump that high-priced decaf espresso and walk right over to my old haunt Dunkin’ Donuts up Main Street a ways.

Sure, they keep the Splenda behind the counter so you have to ask for it a packet at a time, but things just feel more HONEST there. Plus at Dunkin’ you’re far more likely to be greeted with a “Hey, how’s it goin’?”  which I, for one, will take any day over a “What may I serve you?” 

8 thoughts on “How the Rich Get Richer

  1. There’s hope for you yet Terry! Anyone who has qualms about Starbucks and its pretentious clientele couldn’t be all bad.
    When I was a part-time French teacher at a Catholic school I would visit a Starbucks only when armed with a gift card donated by a grateful student or, more likely, generous parents of same. To me Starbucks is the haunt of poseurs and people who equate their worth with the complexity of a coffee order.
    Dunkin’ Donuts for me. The one I usually frequent here in Winston-Salem ForSYTH Co. N.C. has a nice picture of the original DD in Quincy 1950.
    That’s almost before our time Terry. See you at the LHS ’66 reunion!
    Jim McGowan

    1. so funny : we have that same photo here at the Dunkin’ Donuts in my small north of Boston town!

      Poseur, or “poser” is what one mean girl called me in the Slam Book that was going around our 10th grade class at LHS so that’s a painful word for me to hear. I didn’t know what it meant and if it meant I was trying ti fake it to make it as a first-year in that giant school, well I guess that was true. In fact there are many nice people in Starbucks; I hate to paint with too broad a brush, you know?
      Can’t wait for us all to be together at our reunion in October. Do you know I still have the letter you wrote me in 2000? Our good Latin teacher Mr. Leary! And brave Miss Carey carrying on same as always in that brisk “eh bien” way, even after the sudden death of her dear friend and (perhaps partner? )

  2. as we drove throught town today, i was telling my daughter’s friends who are frequent starbucks customers that they use GMO ingredients. (i could have talked about the secrets of folding a fitted sheet and gotten the same response from a carlod of 16 year olds…) anyhow, starbucks has moved away dramatically from their small shop roots. meanwhile, a brand spankin new starbucks will be opening in our town in the coming months, i was happy when my girl declared she still will continue to get her fix at dunkin donuts… and i LOVE the small corner cafe with its fresh brew and yes, where they even talk a happy talk with you,
    love this one, t. you are salt of the earth.

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