An informal canvass of three D.C. Starbucks suggests that people are taking their free coffee black and sweet—appropriately enough in this season of impending Obama victory.
• Down at the Farragut Park Starbucks, where people wear frumpy suits and look tired, the cashier simply converted every order for a tall coffee into a freebie, regardless of whether the customers knew about the promotion. Asked how many cups she had given away, she sighed and said "hundreds."
• Up in Dupont Circle, people with cool jeans and Obama buttons inquired politely after their free coffee. Many people took their coffee from the counter and looked around as if they were waiting for security to pounce. Unsurprising really, that people who are used to paying $4 a pop feel like a free cup is too good to be true. One older woman asked for two cups, and she got them. The barista, obviously not confident of a speedy Obama victory, said: "Ma'am, it might be a long night, so sure."
Former reason intern Jonathan Blanks partook, and had this to say: "I just spat on the party of my youth, and all I got was this lousy coffee. Thanks, Starbucks."
Lots of people are doubling up on the freebies—getting a solid two and a half dollars worth from their stickers—clutching their Krispy Kreme bag while standing in line waiting their free coffee. Sounds a little like an Election Day version of the Recession Special (two hot dogs and a drink), made famous by Gray's Papaya, where allegiances are clear:
Of course, Gray's raised the prices of the Recession Special last month, from $3.50 to $4.45. Not clear whether this means Gray's believes demand is going to be huge because the recession is going to be really bad, or whether Gray's thinks it won't be so bad that people can't afford an extra buck.
Either way, we're not quite at the bread lines stage, so perhaps we can hold off a little longer on the New New Deal?