1912 Pike Place, the original store, opening its doors in 1971, and look at Starbucks now. Granted this could be any coffee/espresso shop, that clean well-lighted place. The third place outside of the home & the office, a place to meet & talk, a place to greet the day and ease into the morning sipping your espresso, posting on the Facebooks the latest musical madness tourney match-up. It’s a ritual for me.
You may be an avid local business supporter. That’s awesome & commendable. Even though this espresso craze started in the trendsetting capital of cool, Seattle, with Starbucks & other shops there, the ‘Bucks’ variety is the world over now. Granted we have our awesome local and regional coffee shops and espresso drive-throughs. The Human Bean happens to be my fave, out of Oregon, they have quality espresso. Some people love the cult enterprise of The Dutch Bros, (also from Oregon) who have a unique culture among its employees that border on cult loyalty.
I joke about the Dutch Bros. They have a very uniform training program. The drinks are very inexpensive and if your DOC (drink of choice) is three shots of espresso with a little bit of foam on the top (espresso macchiato), you can clearly taste that the espresso just ain’t that good. Add sugar & milk & syrup then it’s super cheap tasty. The employees are youngsters and usually listen to the techno in there turned all the way up to 11. It’s like a rave even at 5 or 6 in the freaking am!!! That’s not easy to stomach at time for a cranky old grizzled Gray-bearded ‘burb dad.
Those Dutch Bros kids are trained to chat you up while you are waking up at 5:15 in the morn. Typical conversation, “Hey Dude, hey man, so like whatta ya doing.” “Well, I just want to get this cheap ass espresso and all, and be on my merry way.” “Oh, like that’s cool man, dude, man, so like whatta ya do?” “Community College, just want my drink. Not awake.” “Whadda just say dude? I couldn’t hear you from all this Diplo playing inside. It’s rad though man, rad!!!” “Yeah, is that drink about ready dude & I’ll be outta your Dutch Bros hair.” I rant and rave, truth be told, some Dutch Bros kids happen to be some of my fave peoples. Niece Danielle, cool girl Kayla Rigenhagen, both Dutch Bros kids at one time.
So to the point, why I like the ‘Bucks. Let’s put aside the loathing for corporate giants, that’s what Starbucks has become. During my last deployment to Turkey, they had a little governmental coup d’tat. The base I was at had Turkish KC-135’s that refueled some Turkish F-16’s that tried to bomb, unsuccessfully, strong-armed dictator Recep Erdogan. Trump gets along with him quite infamously. This resulted in our base getting all the power shut off while the Turkish police tried to access the base to arrest all the Turkish AF leadership there. Most of those leaders took the next plane out to Greece of all places. They historically have quite a beef, the Greeks and the Turks.
After maybe two weeks of no power. Imagine yourself in Texas or Florida humid summertime without air conditioning and that’s what those two weeks were like over there. Also imagine hearing gunfire every night and you got the picture. The Bucks on Base was one of the first places to have power back on and I sat there with WiFi connectivity in the air conditioning drinking my espresso reminding me of the best that America had to give… & that my friend is why I’ll be a Starbucks loayalist for life. First world life. Capitalism, yeah!!!
Granted, don’t let this stop you from supporting local business… they have unique character beyond the cookie cutter corporate franchise experience. We have some great ones here. But find your jam, find your peaceful public place, share it with others (when COVID-quarantining is done)… and can’t we all just get along. Peace & coffee. Peace.