--2 Letter America: Dear Coffee Shop Owner
Oct. 13, 2015

Letter America: Dear Coffee Shop Owner

August 12, 2013, 1:00 am
By Robert Wilder

Dear Coffee Shop Owner,

I am a simple man. I come into your establishment every day to get my 12 ounce cup of brewed coffee. I don’t ask for complicated drinks with almond milk or request certain temperatures or brewing times. I don’t ask the name of the farmer who grew the beans in Costa Rica or if the roaster is of vintage French design. I don’t care that I can plant my to-go cup to grow a sunflower since I live in a fourth floor walkup. I know you thrice-filter your water, but I’d still buy my coffee even if you just used tap. It’s clear that besides an extensive array of tattoos, the baristas have a deep knowledge of coffee, its origins, and different methods of preparation and processing. I don’t care about any of that.

My complaint is also simple. Please remove the boxes that ask me to choose between two things when I tip. Again, I do not mind throwing my forty-eight cents into a cup every day even though we could debate the practice of gratuities for pulling a lever. I don’t want to have to decide whether I like Beavis or Butthead better and “vote” using my money. It’s not cute to pit a penguin from Happy Feet versus Miley Cyrus or fat Elvis versus the thinner version. Who the fuck cares? I’m sure the baristas don’t divvy up the tips based on their allegiances, right? The thing about those annoying voting boxes is that they slow me down and force me to think when I just want to leave. I don’t know if I prefer chocolate to peanut butter; I like both. The day you asked about bourbon or scotch, I withheld a tip because I’ve been sober for fifteen years after an unfortunate incident involving nudity outside Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. Duck-billed platypus versus the sloth? Who am I, Marlin Perkins? I hate it.

If you are going to keep the practice, please forbid that eggheady Matteo from participating. He thinks he’s so smart asking regular guys like me to choose existentialism or nihilism. I had to look those two up, and I couldn’t sleep for a week. Thanks a lot. I don’t even want to note all the obscure philosophers he posted when it was his turn to be an asshole.

Mandy likes pop culture references; Dino singer-songwriters. I can easily tell whose turn it is to create the choices but I don’t want them.  I know two dollars a day including tip isn’t as much as that crazy lady who wears the Coco Chanel knockoffs with her tray of giant blended drinks, but I’m a loyal customer who has a right to his opinion. So here’s my question:

You or Starbucks?




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