Entry 172: DunkBucks

One of the best things about the location of our new house is that you can’t go anywhere without passing Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home. If it was a Starbucks instead, I’d be regretting the move.

Anyone who prefers Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts is an elitist snob and should be running for president. Dunkin’ is the middle class, blue collar coffee shop, the last bastion of a disappearing breed of Americans: those who get their coffee and go, rather than sitting around pretending to write screenplays on their laptops.

At Dunkin’, you don’t have to learn a new language to order a cup of coffee.  Caffé Misto? Isn’t that just Italian for “Mr. Coffee?” Caffé Americano? If it’s American coffee, why is it in another language?  Caramel machiavelli?   No wait, that’s “machiatto,” which according to the highly informative Starbucks website, is Italian for “marked,” which, according to me, is English for “stupid.”

This is Starbuck’s description of caramel machiatto:

Scores of people are passionate devotees of this signature beverage. So bewitched are they, you’d think it was some kind of magical elixir. Well there’s no hocus pocus here. We’ll tell you exactly what goes into it: creamy vanilla-flavored syrup, freshly steamed milk with a topping of velvety-rich foam, an intense hit of our Espresso Roast, a finishing of buttery caramel drizzle … okay, we take it back. That does sounds like magic to us. (And it tastes even better.)

That’s an awful lot of creative writing for a friggin’ cup of coffee, don’t you think? And what does magic taste like anyway?

I also prefer Dunkin’ because I’m lazy. You can order a large iced coffee with milk and two Sweet n’ Lows and that’s how they give it to you. They even shake it for you! At Starbucks, I first have to look at the menu board, because I can never remember the size hierarchy. (Is it tall first or grande?) Then I have to specify “with room,” which is Starbucks code for “don’t fill it to the top, please, Mr. or Ms. Barista, because I want to put milk in it.” Then you have to take it to what at Roy Roger’s would be the “Fixin’s Bar” and wait until everyone else decides what kind of milk and powdered stuff they want in their drinks. Then you pour in your milk and your sweetener and you try to put the cover back on and coffee comes out all over the place because they filled it up too much even though you asked for “room,” and then you have to use 10 napkins to clean it up which offsets Starbucks’ campaign to help the environment by supporting individual coffee farmers in Latin America or some such thing and 15 minutes later I’m standing there with a leaking, wet, cup of iced coffee nestled in a sopping wad of paper.

Now I will admit that I used to like Starbucks’ frozen drinks better than Dunkin’s, but I haven’t had one of those in years, ever since New York City Mayor Mike “Take the Fun Out of Life” Bloomberg made them post calorie counts and I was idiotically shocked that my Venti Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino® Blended Beverage (“Absolutely I want the whipped cream”) was roughly a quarter of my recommended caloric intake. For a week.*

Dunkin’ has one other shortcoming: they are genetically incapable of creating any non-pastry-based food item that looks appetizing even in commercials. How about their new Big N’ Toasted®, huh? It looks like a fried egg patty topped with bacon topped with semi-melted cheese between two slices of French toast, but it isn’t French toast, it’s “Texas toast,” which is just normal bread sliced at double the thickness a normal person eats.

Oh, yeah, and it’s more calories than a Venti Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino® Blended Beverage.** But I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good.

Honestly, I’d love our house even if it was a Starbucks nearby instead of a Dunkin’ Donuts. But I wouldn’t drink nearly as much coffee.

See you soon.

*In case any Starbucks’ lawyers are reading this, I’m exaggerating for comic effect.

**In case any Dunkin’ Donuts lawyers are reading this, this statement is true.

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