Dunkin v. Starbucks


This time last year I was in California interning at LIONSGATE Films. I stayed with my beloved Uncle George and his son, George Jr. I had a blast. Until, one morning I woke up to see my greatest nightmare come true. I sat up with a pounding sensation in my head. It was so bad I could barely walk. “Of course!” I said to myself, “I need some coffee.”

To my horrific surprise I go downstairs to the unfamiliar kitchen. Uncle George keeps NOTHING on the counters. Hmmmm, coffee pot? Where would I be if I was a coffee pot? Then it dawned on me…

Uncle George doesn’t drink coffee. (insert screeching violin noises from the movie Psycho)

End Preface.

Hello, my name is Alessandra and I’m addicted to caffeine. (Since you’re reading this, can’t you SOOOO see this being an intro to a movie? A bit Ferris-Bueller-voice-over-esque?) Oh, and I hope you enjoy my artwork above.

Okay, I’ll get to the point. Dunkin Donuts V. Starbucks. Most people’s reaction is, “Starbucks costs more!” Blah blah blah. First of all, if it costs more it’s at most 50 cents over, and secondly, you pay for what you get.

My beef with Dunkin is summed up in two occasions of awful, awful service. Keep in mind these are 2 occasions out of hundreds. And I really mean HUNDREDS.

  • Case number 1: When I was living in Boston on Huntington Ave (right near Northeastern) I went to the same Dunkin Donuts every single morning for the same thing. Why? Because that’s all that was around. The people who worked there were nice and for a while they only messed up a few times. I learned to keep Splenda in my purse because I never got any sugar in my coffee. And of course you don’t realize it’s made wrong until you’ve already left. So, one morning, I was in a rush! My good friend Ben forgot to give me a ride and I was going to be late to class. (Thanks Ben.) I went into Dunkin and, as usual, ordered a Hot Medium Hazelnut, cream 2 Splenda with a Grilled Cheese Flatbread. I pay and run out the door to the train stop. I sip my coffee as I’m waiting and immediately taste CRAP in my mouth. Confused, I open the lid on my cup—it’s black coffee. No sugar, no cream. So, I threw it out. I was raging! Now I’m seated on the train next to a woman who is coughing all over me and talking on the phone in her smokers’ voice, “Hey, I went to the doctor, he says I got that thing back. I’m going to fill my prescription now.” Dear God. At least I have my flatbread, or so I thought. I open the waste of a paper bag to find an egg white mushroom omelet on a bagel. PUKE. I hate mushrooms. I threw out the sandwich and when I arrived to class, Ben wonders why I’m in a bad mood…Men.
  • Case #2: This past summer I had a job at a local TV station in Roxbury. Interesting town; we’ll leave it at that. Of course, the nearest place for coffee was a Dunkin Donuts. This particular afternoon, the line was LONG and it was packed. They had 2 people working who were painfully slow. I waited in line for almost 20 minutes and then finally made it to the register. I ordered my usual coffee & flatbread and hand the girl my debit card. “We are cash only today. The machine is broken.” I stared at her, “What?” “Cash only,” she says.  At this point the line is grumbling, one guy yells, “You couldn’t tell us that 20 minutes ago?!”  So I peaked into my wallet–I had three crinkled dollars. Now, a life or death decision has to be made: get a flatbread because I hadn’t eaten that day, or get a coffee. That’s all $3 would allow. Naturally, I looked at the lady, ordered my coffee and handed over my three bills. I need coffee to live, not food. That didn’t seem so bad, right? WRONG! This story isn’t over. I get back to work, sip my coffee and all I taste is cream. I open the lid to see white liquid. No sugar and no coffee this time? No coffee in the cup!?!?!? Impossible, you say! I think not…I threw it out and worked the rest of day. I was 2 pounds lighter the next morning.

This needs to be stopped!  Dunkin Donuts has 8,800 stores throughout 31 countries which means about 6,400 Dunkin’ Donuts are in the US. And the majority of those are on the East Coast. You don’t see many DD’s in California—you see Starbucks! Oh ,wonderful, fabulous, flamboyant Starbucks. When going through their drive-thru I’m always greeted by a cheery gay man who cares about what I want to drink. And It. Is. Always. Made. Correctly. Why don’t I just go there all the time? Because it’s miles away. I find them to be scarce around here even though there are waaayyyy more Starbucks than there are DD’s.  About 11,000 of them in the US, actually.

So I have a dilemma. No matter how awful the coffee is, or how mind-blowingly terrible service can be, I will never stop going to Dunkin Donuts. America, what is wrong with us!?!?! Why do we tolerate it? Is it solely because of convenience? Because I can walk to Dunkin, but have to drive to Starbucks? I am my own hypocrite. I’ll probably get a Pumpkin coffee from DD’s today even though I KNOW that Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is way better. Guess what, I have a fever and the only prescription….is more Starbucks locations. (shot out to Christopher Walken)

Stay tuned for more rantings. Maybe I will drive to Starbucks today…hmmmm…


You’re little barista,



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. George
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 10:32:32

    Before you, Starbucks was a bi-yearly treat. Now its a daily requirement. You have foresaken me.

  2. Nathan Marcello
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 13:10:54

    I don’t drink coffee either. I have too many addictions without adding coffee to the list. I like DD better though. I see starbucks as some evil entity.

    Oct 05, 2010 @ 13:39:07

    I had a “duhhhh” experience at DD. I ordered a hot tea with lemon. Easy, right. NOT. However, I noticed before driving off. I always check to make sure the lemon is in there because sometimes they just put lemon flavoring. Well, guess what was inside – lemon was there, but, there was also cream!!! Does anyone have any common sense anymore? Lemon and cream = curdle!!! “DUHHHH”. As for Starbucks, I don’t really have any preference. My Kurig works just fine!

  4. A*
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 19:43:18

    Hmmm….Dunkin’s pumpkin spice coffee or Starbucks? Dilemma since I’ve never had a pumpkin spice anything at Starbucks. As for service, I couldn’t agree w/you more. I go almost every morning to the same DD and they still can’t seem to get my order straight. Thankfully I carry Equal in my purse. Worst experience for me? Ordering tea and opening the cup to find that it’s a cup of coffee w/a tea bag in it. (Guess that’s for anyone who can’t make up their mind???)

  5. Posky
    Oct 14, 2010 @ 22:19:48

    I noticed that, in New York City, you can find a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on almost every block. More affluent blocks have more Starbucks while crummier blocks have more Dunkin Donuts. If I just want coffee, I don’t really care to which I go to but if I want to sit down and hang out, I’ll probably opt for the Starbucks because they seem better maintained with a slightly more professional staff. That said, if I want to tell a good story, I’ll go to the Dunkin Donuts because they’ll regularly let homeless people sleep on their benches and staff members will have arguments with the crazies that wander in.

    Long story short, I don’t have a preference. It just depends on my mood.

    As an aside, my home city of Detroit has a serious deficit of both. There are about three trillion Starbucks outside of the city limits but inside there are almost none and only a few Dunkin’ Ds. It’s bizarre but we do still have mom and pop coffee places and these things called diners!

  6. David Taylor
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:32:33

    Marry Me.

  7. Jen Quon
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 17:26:43

    I laugh.

    I’m a mom. I no longer work. I make coffee at home.

    But I add all kinds of goodies to make it taste as crazy-yummy as I can.

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