Hey, do you guys remember those old Mac vs PC commercials? You know, the ones where Macs are represented by a hip young trendsetter, and PCs are championed by John Hodgman, inadvertently making them the more appealing of the two options? This review has nothing to do with that. No, today’s topic is another famous brand rivalry. Though less prominent than the Mac ads of yore, today’s topic is no less incendiary - demanding allegiances that divide families and destroy friendships. I speak of shattered lives, and fallen nations. I speak of a battle that predates living memory, and will outlast any who survive its ravages: I speak of Starbucks and of Dunkin’ Donuts.
If you’ve never been to either of these establishments, then you are clearly new to this planet. Welcome! Please do not murder and/or probe us. Well, maybe just a little probing… you know, on the weekends. In any case, I can almost guarantee that you will find at least 3 of both coffee dispensaries on any given main street, often directly across from one another. In cities like Boston, many streets are prevented by zoning ordinances from leasing property to anything but Starbucks or Dunkin’. If you have in fact come from another world to murder us all, I’d like to volunteer to be your Dr. Breen. As a show of good faith, I will provide you with the following human eradication pro-tip: poison the coffee supply for both of the aforementioned establishments. By 11 AM, your opposition will be either dead or suffering from an intractable case of the Mondays. Also, I’d just avoid New Jersey altogether if I were you. Trust me on this one.
As a rule, I like names that mean what they are. In the language that I speak. After extensive research, I have concluded that the Starbucks naming scheme for drink sizes makes no goddamn sense. We start with “Short” which, while not an entirely in_accurate description, does not effectively convey a sense of the beverage’s true dimensions. Sure, the cup is relatively short, especially compared to most professional athletes, buildings, and astronomical objects. However, this says nothing about the _girthiness of the cup. For all I know, this thing could be 2 inches tall, but 30 feet in diameter. “Well, okay,” you think. “I’ll just see what the other sizes are like and guess what they mean using context clues, just like my second grade teacher always wanted.” FUCKING WRONG. Next up is “Tall” which offers just about the same amount of helpful information, after which we reach the point where the Starbucks menu artists seem to have run out of appropriate adjectives in the english language. The coffee sages, in their infinite wisdom, chose “Grande” and “Venti”, meaning “big” and “20” in Italian, respectively. So we have small, tall, big, and 20. Fucking stellar. At this point, the man behind the counter has been patiently waiting for me to decide what I’m ordering, and all I’ve given him are the confused looks and high pitched whines that are the precursors to a complete nervous breakdown. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been dragged out of a Starbucks, screaming “I JUST WANT A GODDAMNED MEDIUM” while hurling scones and Reduced-Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cakes at innocent bystanding hipsters. [ed: There are no innocent hipsters.]
While both establishments share some similarities (I’m like 80% sure they both sell coffee), their many schismatic differences have lead to tremendous variation in their respective customer bases. The average Starbucks patron is wearing thick-rimmed glasses, an ironic t-shirt, skinny jeans (jorts if it’s hot out), and a scarf (even if it’s hot out. Especially if it’s hot out). He or she arrives on a fixed-speed bike or pastel-colored moped. The average Dunkin’ Donuts customer on the other hand has recently run down the average Starbucks patron in their fuel-inefficient vehicle. They can often be heard complaining about a “wicked dinger” on the front of their truck.
In the time it takes to get your no-fat grande white mocha chip soy iced latte with extra foam and seven Splenda on the side, I already ordered my medium coffee, drank it, and got the fuck back to work. What have you done, you freeloading hippie? Oh, that’s right, I forgot that table in the corner is your office where you spend all day working on your screenplay. No, no, don’t mind me. Keep writing. I’m sure you’re absolutely right about the fact that what Hollywood really needs to get it out of this slump is a coming of age story about a young man who finally finds his place in the world (Scarf II: Revenge of the Fixed-Speeds, The Quest for the Lensless Thick-Rimmed Glasses).
As always, we here at WNV are working hard to make the world a better place. In order to save us all from the inevitable destruction wrought by this conflict, we have decided to declare, once and for all, a winner. The clear victor here is Dunkin’ Donuts. I suppose if you’re really into coffee, DD kind of blows. But you’re still a fannybandit.
We give Dunkin’ Donuts about 440 pounds of sugar out of a box of munchkins, and Starbucks a half-caf organic Venti on the pretentious-ometer.