My mailbox has collected it's usual share of odd stories of coffee in the news, so I thought I'd share a few this morning. My personal favorite out of the latest crop of coffee-related stories is one that's fairly local. Apparently, a patron at a Boston Dunkin Donuts got so irate with the girl who served his coffee that he threw his coffee at her. According to the news story, the man paid for his small coffee and donut with a $50, then wanted the counter girl to swap out his $50 for a smaller bill. She refused (maybe she saw the movie Paper Moon and was leery of being scammed with a money changing trick!). He became irate and threatened to jump the counter and -- well, do damage to her. When another shop clerk came to her assistance, he threw the hot coffee at her. Moral of the Story: Never argue with a customer before he drinks his coffee.
And speaking of Dunkin Donuts, the New England-based coffee chain announced yesterday that it intends to double its number of stores -- from 7,000 worldwide to 14,000 worldwid -- in the next 20 years. I gotta tell you guys -- I grew up on Dunkins. My mother used to bring home coffee and donuts from the original Qunicy location when I was a little girl. I've been drinking Dunkins coffee for over 20 years. Ever since America started running on Dunkins, it's seriously NOT the same coffee. This isn't just my tastebuds getting used to better coffee. The coffee has changed. I still indulge in a Dunkins blueberry coffee once in a while -- with an extra shot -- and there's nothing like a big Dunkins iced turbo on a hot day, but I literally can't drink most of what it offers anymore. Which is too bad, because I really used to like my Dunkins. Chalk up another fail for expansion as a business model. They're making lots of money -- good coffee, not so much anymore.
Meanwhile, Dunkins biggest competitor quietly raised prices on a number of its coffee drinks in the Northeast and Southwest on Tuesday. A company spokesman said that the increases represent about 1% across the board, though they're only on selected items. Tall brewed coffees and lattes will cost you 10 cents more in NYC, for example. I wonder how many regulars who make their purchases with gift cards and iPhone apps even noticed an increase of 10 cents? According to Starbucks, the company needed to make adjustments to "remain competitive" in those highly competitive markets. Remember when "competitive pricing" usually meant price wars and lower prices?
And speaking of higher prices for coffee, I ran across a news story about disposable coffee cups in a New Zealand paper, and the efforts that one small town's coffee shops are making to reduce the number of paper coffee cups that make it into the landfills. One coffee shop notes that they charge an extra 50 cents for coffee in a takeaway cup -- and that most of their customers simply pay it without blinking. I know that I probably would -- if I have coffee in a travel cup, it's probably because I made it at home. Would you pay an extra 50 cents for the convenience of not having to remember to wash and take your travel mug along with you each day?
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