The Mystery Price

September 11, 2008 6:45 am

I’ve never belonged in the Starbucks clique. I don’t know how to order a ten-worded latte that costs a dollar per word. I have an issue with spending that much on a single drink and truthfully, I don’t even like the taste of Starbucks. We can still be friends, can’t we?

We never drank coffee around here until recently. Now we drink it maybe twice a week. We drink it for enjoyment, we don’t require it to function. Usually Jamie or I will suggest a coffee run when it’s been a particularly tantrumy day on the toddler front. It’s nice for one of us to get a break to drive to get it, and it’s nice to be able to tag out to enjoy a sip while the other person is dealing with toddler angst. Since we don’t do Starbucks, our default option is Dunkin Donuts. I love me some DD coffee, it’s the average man’s coffee. Actually, I love me some cream and sugar with a splash of coffee but that’s not the point.

Since we’re new to the coffee-drinking world, I’m a coffee-ordering amateur. If I want it light and sweet, do I order it with extra cream and extra sugar or extra extra of both? Do I just say “light and sweet?” I’ve bashfully tried all of the above ordering options and gotten a different mix every time. I’ve actually been meaning to research coffee ordering etiquette online so I can avoid sounding like a bumbling idiot every time I try to order.

Recently, I noticed a peculiar trend when ordering in the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts. They NEVER tell you the f’ing total when you order, it’s always “pull around for your total.” I thought it was a fluke the first few times it happened but now I’ve come to know it as standard procedure. WTF is with the mystery price? Did someone at corporate decide that people would squeal off from the parking lot without paying for their coffee if they knew the actual price when they ordered? Let’s reel them in, make them come to the window and then we can slap them with the total. TAKE THAT, YOU RAT BASTARDS. It’s not like their shit is expensive either. I ordered a bagel, a breakfast sandwich thingy and two coffees the other day and it totaled around six dollars. That’s nothing, roughly the price of a straw at Starbucks.

The mystery price doesn’t bother me by itself, it’s the fucking shocked look on the employees faces when you have to scramble to find the right amount after having the total sprung on you at the window. I think I’m going to keep a little calculator in my cup holder from now on so I can figure out the total ahead of time and stay on my coffee game. I’m wondering if I’m the only one out there who is baffled by this crazy phenomenon?



  1. Sprite's Keeper

    Oh, yeah, DD is our go-to when we’re driving across state in the morning. They don’t give us the total either, just spring it on you when you get to the window. Oh, and this particular DD? NEVER GETS THE ORDER RIGHT! When I order an egg-n-cheese on an English muffin, I should expect something in the vicinity, not a bluberry bagel with ham! Idiots. Sorry, still fuming about that. However, after I pay, I usually say, “Oh, wait! I forgot, I just wanted one munchkin for my toddler!” I usually get that free since they don’t feel like ringing it up. Idiots.
    Oh, you really do need to try Starbucks Vivanno drinks, honestly, just once. It’s cold though, so better in the afternoon. If you like chocolate and banana, this drink will have you swooning. Promise! It’s definitely worth the price of the straw!

  2. mrsbear

    I’m one of those awful people who never has cash, so regardless of the numbers I’m gonna hand over my debit card and that’s that. Half the time you can’t even make out the total through those terrible crackling speakers anyway. I’m guilty of mortgaging my house to buy Starbucks coffee, I like it, what can I say, hot, iced, frappuccinoed, serve it up, I’ll drink it. I had one yesterday that tasted like pumpkin pie…YOu can’t go wrong with that. I don’t go there too often though, but yeah…I go there. 🙁

    Coffee for has become a daily requirement for us though, forget the vitamins, brew us a cup. I’ve gotten the husband hooked as well. It’s quiet time for us, where we can actually feel like grown-ups while the TV babysits for about 20 minutes. If I don’t get my coffee in the morning, I’m rewarded with a lovely headache that peaks around school dismissal time. Lovely.

  3. Miss Jack

    Sorry…I got nothin’. I don’t drink coffee. And G gets it at work. But, when we do get him a cup for the road trips it’s DD all the way baby!

  4. Christy

    Hi Casey–thanks for stopping by my blog & leaving a comment!

    This is so funny! Before I moved to Ohio, I never drank Starbucks (if I could help it.) I was strictly a DD girl, but when I moved to Ohio, NO DUNKIN’ DONUTS! It was either suffer through Starbucks & learn their language or no more iced coffee…well, we couldn’t have that, so I broke down & went to Starbucks, and now I’m TOTALLY addicted! I tried a DD iced coffee when I went back home for vacay (all excited to have my favorite) and I couldn’t drink it b/c it tasted watery & nasty! I guess I’m a convert now. And that’s probably way more than you ever wanted to know about my coffee drinking habit!

    BTW–I love your header picture! That is brilliant!

  5. Summer

    Starbucks is about as expensive as gas these days, but at least they let me get my coffee how I want it.

    The thing I hate most about DD is that they put your cream and sugar in for you. I’m sure each employee has their own interpretation of “light and sweet” so there’s no way for them to be consistent. Inevitably I forget whether Splenda is the pink, blue, or yellow packet, so I just end up asking for sugar, and I hate to keep people behind me waiting, so I keep mum when they don’t give me enough milk. I always walk out of there feeling either stupid or dissatisfied. Just give me the f(*&^ing cream and I’ll do it myself!

    Sorry, I get a little OCD about my coffee.

    Summers last blog post..happy thoughts

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