If you’ve been in the Western States, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Dutch Bros’ Coffee. They are blue and white drive thru locations scattered around parking lots and empty fields next to Del Tacos near you.
They sell coffee in many little fluffy flavors crafted by a 20-somethings who have been give a fairly direct job description.
DRY HUMP YOUR CUSTOMERS, GIVE THEM COFFEE
To be blunt, it’s pretty gross. Not the coffee, but the process of getting the coffee. Backtracking, I love coffee. I drink it most of the day. Wait, I FUCKING LOVE COFFEE. It’s the best, Jerry… the best. I also love treating myself to super gooey $5 coffees from various locations. I give in often to corporate assbaggery by heading to Starbucks on the weekend. Often with our Newfoundland Tonka in tow who gets ooh’d and awe’d by the moderately professional employees who look just as uncomfortable small-talking me as I am returning it.
When I drive to work, I don’t pass a Starbucks, I pass a Dutch Bros. The Starbucks adds another mile to my commute. But when I need a caffeinated beverage for the road, I take that trek. Because I just can’t stomach the weirdness of getting a Dutch Bros coffee.
I’ll cut to the awkward chase. It’s starts simple, you pick one of the drive-thrus and approach. You’re alerted by the latest Justin Bieber song blasting from their little building. You assume the barista knows the driver of the car in front of them by the amount of interaction going on. In most part, the barista is hanging out the building almost falling through the driver’s window. She laughs, loud enough to almost block out the bieb… almost.
You finally get up to the window and a young girl, wearing very little, pours out of the window.
“Are you having a great morning?”
You aren’t sure exactly what she said due to the loud music combined with the gaggle of other baristas dancing and screaming giggles at each other.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I asked if you’re having a great morning”
Replaying the 2 hours of it in my head. “Yeah.”
“That’s great! So great! What can I get you?”
It’s an awkward interaction. To the point where you think Chris Hanson is going to pop up and start asking you questions.
She verbally throws your order to another over-animated employee then turns to you.
“So what are you doing today?”
“Just going to work.”
“Oh great! What do you do?”
“I work in advertising”
“Oh that’s so much fun. What do you advertise?”
“Oh, well. Quite a few things. One of our clients is…”
She interrupted by a fellow employee who wanted to let her know ‘their’ song is on, and they all start dancing.
She returns “So doing anything fun today?”
“No. Nothing at all”
“That sounds like fun!”
She resumes dancing and says something about liking my car. I now pretend I have to check my phone. I start to text my girlfriend, reminding her I love her because I feel like there’s a weird line being crossed. Like, I’ll strip for Mocha.
I feel dirty. Please just give me my coffee.
“Here’s your drink!”
I quickly grab it, placing my car in drive as I do. But then there’s that weird smell. The smell of… flesh. Flesh burning off the palm of my hand.
“Mother of God! It’s scorching hot! Do you have a sleeve?”
“Ummm, okay. But it’s super hot.”
“We can double cup it.”
Double cup? Add to the demise of the environment more than I already am? Help kill a baby dolphin?
Ugh, I can’t do that? Can I? Should I just be more of a man? Deal with the pain like my Father would have?
“Sure, double cup it.”
I place my coffee in my cup holder and I drive away. I feel dirty, used, a few other emotions I’m not used to. I not only feel bad, but I feel bad for the people who work there. It’s clear that it’s part of their job description. MAKE THE MIDDLE AGED GUY FEEL PRETTY. They don’t like it anymore than I do. They can’t hand me a coffee and think “I hope he saw how interested I was in him. I’m never like that with other customers. Maybe we’ll get married someday!”
See, the whole process is just gross. It’s a company who asks their employees to dry hump their customers to increase sales. Why? Who does this? After a little research I found a bit of the reason in this thinking. I learned their CEO, Travis Boersma, is a 40something year old guy who wears his baseball cap backwards.
The type of guy who goes into a Hooters and thinks every waitress was hitting on him.
So now, 3 years after going to my first Dutch Bros, I occasionally run across their card with 8 stamps on it hiding in my center console. I don’t throw it away “just in case” but deep down I don’t see me getting my free coffee from them anytime soon.
I’d rather have my awkward smalltalk from Starbucks.