Can't a Guy Get a Cup of Coffee in This Town?
By Jack Perry
It’s time to talk about one of the more important things in life in these United States: Coffee. Now recently, Starbucks’ grand poobah decided it’d be a swell idea to have his baristas (that’s a fancy term for a coffee slinger, ya see) engage patrons in a discussion about race relations in America. Because that’s where that discussion belongs, right? Hey man, I came in here for a cuppa joe, not to solve world problems, ok? I thought this was a coffee joint, not the headquarters for the redux of We Are The World. Look, don’t get between me and a cup of coffee. I don’t care if air raid sirens are wailing, I’ll still have at least half an hour before those missiles get here. Get that coffee rollin’, I can probably finish a quart before impact. I’ll be in the upper atmosphere but all my molecules will be full of caffeine.
Now, this dude is whining because of some “backlash” to his idea. Look, man, that’s how the free market works. You deliver a product no one wants, they ain’t gonna buy it, it’s as simple as that. No one is going to be guilted into sitting through a race-relations discussion over a freakin’ cup o’ coffee. Maybe that’s how it works in your world, but not mine. Hey, I don’t even put cream and sugar in my coffee, so I don’t need a race-relations discussion in it, either. I’ll take my duckets elsewhere. I take my simoleons over to places like Maverik where I can get a bigger coffee, stronger, tastier, and cheaper. Under two bucks, and I can make the drive from Holbrook to Flagstaff on that cup. Yeah, I can make 150 miles on that cup of coffee and not once see or care about a Starbucks for that whole drive. I go in “my coffee place”, get the coffee, pay for it, and that’s it. No one’s going to ask me what I think about race in America. They only want to give me my change. And not change I can believe in, either.
See, that’s the beauty of the free market. People have the right to make gloriously ridiculous decisions with their business and suffer the consequences. Other businesses will reap the benefits of that by providing their customers with hassle-free java, hot and strong and totally politics-free. Yeah, y’all heard of that free-trade coffee? Well the next big thing is politics-free coffee, just you wait and see. I suppose some will think I’m being unfair here. Yeah, well, I’ve drank enough coffee in my life to fill a couple railroad tank cars. Probably thirty of them. I make coffee strong enough to stop a tank and that’s on a day when I’m off my game. So I’ve got pretty high standards for my coffee and one of them is I don’t want lectures when buying it. What, this guy’s a saint or something? What, he’s gonna change the world with this? Come on, man, people just want coffee. That’s the “backlash”, mister. It ain’t about YOU, it’s about a dumb idea you should have left out of your business. You want to improve race relations, how about this? Donate some of your salary to the ethnic group of your choice. That’s a decision you can make your own self. But let me clue you in on something. You’re not going to change the world over a cup of coffee. Hell, if it was that easy, just send a few espressos up to the UN the next time there’s a war brewing, pardon the pun.
Look here, mister, I didn’t come into this world drinking coffee but that’s just because I wasn’t tall enough to reach the pot on the counter. I might say my folks put coffee in my bottle when I was a baby but some liberal whiner will want to file ex post facto child abuse charges on them if I said that. But nobody—and I mean nobody—wants a lecture first thing in the morning when they’re trying to get that first life-giving sip of coffee. This dude must not be married, I tell you. What’re you told about that, huh? “Don’t start big discussions in the morning! I haven’t even had my coffee yet!” Am I right or am I right, huh? See, that’s what’s missing from this guy’s business model, the knowingness that at the end of the day, people just want a dadgum cup of coffee. They’ll solve world problems later. Even wars have to wait until generals and dictators have had their coffee. They didn’t even do the D-Day Invasion until they’d had their coffee. You know what I’m saying here? Sure you do. Remember the great Coffee Crisis back in the 1970s when prices went through the roof? That was a national disaster. Sugar prices went up too, but we could live with that. Coffee doesn’t need sugar. If this guy remembered that, he’d know there’s a lot of things you can do, but making coffee hard to acquire is a recipe for failure.
So at the end of the day, look here, just sling the coffee and be done with it. No one gives a rat’s keester about discussing race relations when it comes to little phrases written on the coffee cup to make you “think” about it. Hey, if I want something written on my coffee cup, I’ll write it there myself. But why would I do that? What am I gonna do, sit there reading my cup? That ain’t what it’s there for! It’s a coffee cup fer cryin’ out loud, not a protest sign! What am I gonna do, go to some social justice protest and hold up this frickin’ coffee cup or something? They’ll just think it’s performance art. So, yeah, here we go again with another failed social justice experiment in the market and then when it backfires, which it did, the whining that there’s a “backlash” because people ain’t being fair. As if that’s going to make me go in there and buy their coffee to prove I’m open-minded. Right.
If you want my business, I’ll make it real simple for you. Coffee, black, no cream, no sugar, tallest cup ya got, and you need to beat or match two bucks. Because that’s what I can get the same thing down the street for. Plus fill up with gas while I’m there. And I don’t want any lectures or self-righteous slogans on my cup or invitations to engage in “dialogue”. I got places to be. There, now isn’t that amazingly simple? No wasted money on “getting the word out” and all the wasted cash that went into this so-called “campaign” to feel warm fuzzies or whatever. Selling coffee is easy. Everyone loves coffee. There were cafes back in the day famous for their coffee. Every American has a steel coffee can full of nails and screws because everyone drinks coffee and has that can. Some of those cans are even family heirlooms, passed down from granddad along with his old shotgun. Why, the very first thing America did in the beginning of World War Two was secure Latin America to protect our supply of coffee and cut off the Germans from it. That’s why we won that war and you heard it here first. So, see, it ain’t rocket science. That means: Keep it simple. The market just told you that and it’s going to tell you that again over the next few months.
There, I said it. It had to be said. Someone’s got to stand up for what’s right. What’s right is coffee without political correctness. This whole race problem is the result of continually bringing it up everywhere, including places it doesn’t belong. Like a place selling coffee. That’s not the place to have that discussion. And giving your employees the “option” to open that “dialogue” with customers is a grand way to open yourself up to a lawsuit if that discussion goes as sour as that quarter pot of coffee that sat on the burner all day. I don’t want or need to be around your coffee joint when your employee and a customer get into a heated discussion about race that began with good intentions. No, I just want a cup of coffee. That’s it. A cuppa joe, a cuppa java, a shot of bean juice, some high octane, the ol’ mile-marker maker. Think I’ll go brew me up a pot right now, come to think of it.