21 March 2007

Fronting with Coffee

I was bummed to miss Coffee-aoke with Vanilla Ice yesterday. As part of a springtime promotion, Dunkin' Donuts sponsored a creative karaoke competition in Copley Square inviting people to rewrite and perform “Ice, Ice, Baby” with Dunkin’ Donuts-themed lyrics.

I got as far as “If you got some Munchkins, yo I’ll eat some” and packed it in.

As part of the same promotion, Dunkin' is giving away free iced coffee all day today. For many, the first iced coffee of the season is one of the first rites of spring. Since I keep iced coffee in the rotation year round, my free cup this morning was purely ceremonial. Not to mention, it's 25 degrees outside right now.

Anyway, I enjoyed my freebie this morning only to have my caffeine buzz vaporized by some bloviating poseur at Target. I was there buying a baby gift and a new laundry basket before settling into work. The check out lines are right next to the resident Starbucks. As I was being rung up, I saw two Target employees standing together outside the cafe. The woman was sipping a Dunkin' iced coffee (freebie). The man, at least six inches shorter than she, was getting all shrill.

“I don’t know how you can drink that swill! It's motor oil! It's motor oil! I guess I’m just a Starbucks snob.”

Don't you just hate this guy.

I wanted to trap homeboy under my new laundry basket and put a heavy rock on top of it.

First, it’s an unwritten law of nature: You cannot refer to yourself as a snob any more than you can assign yourself a nickname. Doing so is the calling card of the phony baloney. You're showing the world that you're desperate to play a role that does not come naturally.

The pointy finger started itching. I felt compelled to stand up for my embattled Dunkin' drinker, whose only response -- "you don't know nothin'" -- seemed unsatisfactory.

“Tiny Little Man,” I wanted to shout. “You probably drink freeze-dried Folger’s crystals with CoffeeMate when nobody’s looking.”

Of course, I wimped out and drowned my regrets in a second iced coffee (freebie) on the way home.

I’ve been on the Dunkin' since I was 12 and I still love it. Hot: Black w/ raw sugar. Iced: Skim milk w/Splenda. Don’t get me wrong. I love Starbucks too. In fact, I’m in favor of all things caffeinated: Iced coffee, lattes, espresso, cappuccino. Sometimes I even “celebrate the moments” with General Foods International Coffee.

For me, coffee is pretty egalitarian. There are some people who love their Dunkin' Donuts "Regulars" with tons of cream and sugar, and there are others who prefer the heavily-roasted flavor of a Starbucks "Cafe Americano."

But there are some one-dimensional types out there -- like homeboy at Target -- who use coffee to enhance their image because they lack substance. They believe bashing the more pedestrian Dunkin' Donuts somehow ups their cool quotient. It’s an offensive charade, especially to those of us who revere coffee for its intended purpose -- as the recreational drug of choice for sleep-deprived addicts.

I know ordering a “large regular” is not nearly as exotic as ordering “a venti-half-caf-no foam-one shot-skinny-soy macchiato” but a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee has never given me an inferiority complex. I love my Dunkies Iced. It’s unpretentious; it doesn’t try too hard to be something it’s not. We Dunkies drinkers are cool enough our own. We don’t have to front with coffee.

I think I’ll head out for a third!

21 comments:

EPB said...

KJ- Thank you for standing up to the Starbucks 'snobs'. I too am a huge fan of joe whether it be from Dunkin, my favorite, or yes Starbucks for an occasional change. Nothing is a bigger pet peeve of mine more than when I get the 'role of the eyes' from some part time or worse full time Starbucks employee due to not knowing how to order a regular coffee in the Starbucks lingo. I will take a Dunkin Donuts coffee any way, any day of the week over the other more elite shops!

KW said...

Oh Kate - you don't know what you've started - you may not know that Mrs. Wires (aka - my sister Katie, aka - PU's biggest fan) is also a dedicated employee of Dunkin Donuts (just in case - she works in the Corporate Offices - she's not a counter girl) and I am sure was pumping her fist in the air as she read your blog this morning. I fear she will now be a PU fanatic instead of just a fan.

Mrs. Wires said...

Oh, KW you know me so well! As soon as I logged onto the PU and saw that DD cup, I knew it would be a good day! Remember, there are still 11 1/2 hours left in this free iced coffee day. Plenty of time to grab a few more cups!

KJ said...

At long last, Mrs. Wires rears her head! Lovin the Dunks today. I'm going to put on my vintage Dunkin' Donuts t-shirt later today and walk around the neighborhood.

LPD said...

Perhaps Tbag can send an image of his "Dunkin' Deeznuts" t-shirt for the PU.

Welcome to the PU, Mrs. Wires!

MLXC said...

I have been drinking D&D coffee since the tender age of 14, when I firt slipped on that beige, orange and pink donut tree dress and began waking up at 4 a.m. to make the donuts at my hometime location in Warwick, RI.

It's been over 12 years since I wore the uniform - thankfully, shortly after I started working there, they switched to the much more dignified maroon polos and polyester grey pants - and I will still drive by 3 Starbucks for just a sip of D&D's delicious iced coffee.

Auntie said...

Medium Light w/2 Splenda please. Pulling up to the drive thru at Dunkie's every morning is so comforting to me. It kicks off the day with such promise as I head out for another mind numbing day at work. Besides, do you think Starbucks would offer a treat (munchkins) to Patch when he sticks his head out the window? I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Kate - I can almost guarantee you that if you posted a picture of you in your vintage DD T on the PU - it would make it into the right hands over at Corporate. And who knows, maybe a new spokeperson could be born - I mean - I love John Goodman - but not sure he's the best choice to promote a baked goods facility - could unconciously backfire.

KW said...

OH NO - don't panic - it's me KW, not "anonymous"

Bob said...

Kate:

My Irish Catholic guilt (still maintaining it's tenuous grasp on my pshyche despite four years at Holy Cross which taught me how not to go to church) had me sidling up to the D&D tucked back on Washington St. in Islington (down the street from Xaverian) and ordering a "small regular", in addition to the free small iced, please.

So accustomed to doling out the ices for her whole shift was the counter girl that she produced the frosty goodness and was about to send me on my way when I reminded her of the small hot I had ordered. $1.40 exchanged hands, and the freebie was downed in about 5 minutes while the hot sat mournfully in my Carolla's cup holder (and still does, hours later).

As an aside, BJ reminds me to remind you that her first job was as a barista (or whatever they called high school girls behind the counter at D&Ds in the late 70s) at the franchise on the Corner of Union Street and Route 1 in Norwood. Good times; faggy hat.

KJ said...

KW: I certainly would be a better spokesperson than Rachael Ray aka "Racial Ray."

KJ said...

Bob-glad you indulged! I vaguely remember BJ working there way back when the uniform involved some sort of hat. I've found the Dunks personnel down here in the burbs to be much less abrasive. I swear most of the Dunkins I used to go to in town were staffed by a prison work release program.

Scott said...

Dunkins coffee is good, I like it. I like a lot of diff't coffee. Starbucks is the java that tastes most like motor oil to me. But hey, if you like it, good for you. I'm not going to think any differently of you, nor will I feel challenged by your queerness when you get all Junior High on me (that felt ironic) because I drink a coffee that you feel is inferior. All coffee is good (give or take the burnt pot or 2) b/c it has the good stuff in it, a-hole. "Look at me! I'm a coffee snob! Don't talk to me unless you drink Starbucks!! Otherwise I'll shun you before my 15 min break is over, and then I'll have to ring you out or point you to the bath towels!!"

Scott said...

By the way, good article KJ. I liked it. I was thinking of you guys last night when I drove through Eastie after getting my taxes done. I was on 145/Bennington St when I drove by the DD after going over the Blue line bridge, and went by that Dunkins. I think that was the DD where you witnessed 2 cheesy, bloated and pale Eastie moms brawling it out.

Alex said...

Bravo --great post! This is a timely read because I just ordered a medium "regular" from a buddy I work with who is originally from Providence. He was heading to the local indy coffee shop here in SF and asked if I wanted anything. It's not D&D of course, but all I had to say was "regular" and he returned with my coffee the way I like it. D&D is a hot topic on the west coast with the only shop "rumored" to be in Sacramento.

Of note: Lately, my two biggest guilty pleasures are the "Starbucks experience" and the new John Mayer album. Sometimes when I go in there and they're playing that album...oh boy.

KJ said...

Alex-That's so funny you mentioned the "rumored" Dunkies in Sacramento. I have a cousin who lives in a suburb of Sacramento and she said it's a total urban legend. Everybody's heard of it but nobody's actually seen it! This has expedition written all over it.

Plenty of places to get a good cup in SF, though!

KJ said...

BG-Yes..two heavy Eastie women in matching green stretch pants started beating the shit out of each other right in line. They were taken away by the cops -- who just happened to be in the parking lot - moments later. It was awesome.

Cols said...

Amen, Kate! I am fairly certain that Starbucks has some sort of agreement worked out with the District of Columbia government--they are literally on EVER corner of the city. Even though it's been reported by the Wash Post that Dunkin Donuts is making an attempt to penetrate the coffee market here, I've only seen one pop up in my hood. All the DnD's here are illegit..they are attached to Baskin Robbins and they make their iced Hazelnut coffees with flavored Hazelnut syrup...it's devestating. What I wouldn't give for a free legit iced DnD coffee...indulge while you can!

KJ said...

Cols--I heard D&D was trying to spread its wings south. We've got a couple of illegits here on the South Shore with the Baskins attached. That never made sense to me. It's fine during the summer but it's a total waste of space 9 months out of the year.

I don't know what Hazelnut syrup is and I don't want to know. I can't do flavored coffee. Bad experience at the Java House in Southie about 10 years ago.

BTW-HOW IS THE NEW JOB..?? Send me your new email address.

jal said...

DD is in Tennessee. The line was out the door the day they opened. As it should be. Medium Regular here had one this morning and felt like a new man immediately afterward. Been on it since about 14 or so. In the interest of full disclosure I do have to get my fill of Eggnog latte's when they are available at Starbucks. That stuff's like liquid crack for me. But I could never forsake the medium regular I've come to love so well. And Auntie - thanks for the hint about the munchkins. We're going to have to drive through a DD with Ava in the car now. I can't wait!!!!!

james said...

Brownguy,
Almost got killed at the Eastie DD a few years back when I asked some punk to pick up the bag of trash he tossed from the window of his car....

I go to Starbucks for the Tea, its cheaper. However, I'll never say Grande. Even have trouble typing it.