War Of The Coffees

War Of The Coffees
Funny shirt being sold at Dunkin’ Donuts.



“Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks.”



Now that’s a Double D frontal attack on Starbucks. 



Let’s see what Starbucks hits back with. 



Who would’ve thought coffee could be so bitter?  😉 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Purple Hair Day

Purple
This lady in line at Starbucks apparently likes purple, a lot. 

 
It seems a pretty common favorite among many women.
 
One that I know claims she ALWAYS wears something with purple.
 
When I saw her a couple of times seemingly without any purple clothing or accessories, I asked innocently, “So no purple today?”
 
She replied with a big grin, “Oh, it’s there!”
 
Yikes, TMI–don’t ask so many questions. 😉
 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got To Be A Caveman

Andy At Crystal Grottoes Caverns
So this was an awesome caveman experience.



We had seen a sign a number of weeks ago from the highway for Crystal Grottoes Caverns.



Today, we decided to try it out, and made the trip to Boonsboro!



I wasn’t expecting much, since I had heard a lot about Luray Caverns in Virginia, but never anything about this one in Maryland. 



Well we were really pleasantly surprised.



Half an hour tour underground through a literal maze of caves filled with the densest formation of stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (springing from the floor). 



These things grow only like a centimeter every 150 years, so when we saw literally countless that were meters long, we were really looking at thousands of years history. 



Incredibly, these beautiful mineral rock formations come into being from water seeping through the limestone a drop at a time, and we saw rocks sparkling with crystals, and in shapes ranging from hands to turtles and much more. 



The guide even showed us a special place (almost like a chamber) where a number of couples had gotten married down there…sort of an appropriate place to tie the knot ever so tight in those caves. 



It was also nice that we had our own tour guide for this thing, and that made this all the more interesting to ask questions and really get to see everything. 



At one point, the guide suddenly shut the electricity in the caves, and we were left in complete and utter darkness…it was so surreal and sort of scary, but peaceful to be in a complete void. 



The guide explained that if you were down in the blackness for 6 or 7 months, you would actually go blind from not using your eyes whatsoever. 



Overall, it’s sort of a oxymoron, but we just felt so alive down there…breathing this super pure and clean oxygen (no real carbon dioxide down there, because basically nothing grows there) and the cave is this marvelous perfect 54 degrees all year round.



The owner is third generation and you can tell that he truly loves owning this precious jewel of a cavern, and he meticulously cares for it and continues to expand and improve the spectacle. 



However, from a business perspective, I definitely don’t think he has took advantage or capitalized on this priceless property.



There were basically no concessions (except that you could buy some samples of the rock from a single display case under the front counter), and there was no cross-selling of t-shirts, pins, posters, hay rides, animal petting, hiking, boating, or food stands!



We took some (as in like 20) brochures from the owner on the way out to give out at Rebecca’s school (especially, since she is taking Environmental Science this year), but this guy otherwise doesn’t seem to even advertise. 



This place was a hidden underground gem…50 feet down underground, but no Starbucks. 😉

Handbag All Alone

Handbag BW
I took this photo of this neglected bag in Starbucks today.



Someone just left their handbag on a chair and went off to line up for coffee with their significant others.



I’m not sure they needed to save the table given that the place was fairly empty this morning.



However, it did strike me that this bag was all alone, far from pretty much anyone, and no one was watching it!



Also, not only was this handbag left unattended, it was also completely open at the top, sort of inviting double trouble. 



As you can see, no one else seems to be paying much attention…so if someone wanted, I think this large, full handbag could’ve been a crime statistic in a moment. 



Trust is nice, but this handbag is crying out for company. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Starbucks – BYOF

Starbucks - Eating 2

Okay, this was the second week in a row at Starbucks that I’ve seen people BYOF.



BYOF = Bring Your Own Food.



This gentleman relaxing on a Sunday has brought his ziplock bag and with some nice looking pound cake at that.



Message to Starbucks…either your food is really bad, overpriced, or perhaps a little of both. 



You pride yourself on your coffee and everyone pays a premium for it, but you are slacking on the food side of the coffeehouse. 



Seems like a big opportunity–fix your food (finally!) and make gazillions of dollars more off the addicted masses that flock to your coffee havens. 



My consulting fee…we can discuss. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not For Drinking {Funny}

Not For Drinking

For funny Friday, here’s a photo that I took of the Toilet Coffee Mug (for real).

It’s cute in a certain miniaturized way, but I am not sure who would want to drink their coffee from this thing.

Or imagine this, you go to the leadership meeting at your important organization, and there sitting across at the table is the Big Kahuna executive with this mug.

No, it’s not a great brand making statement, but it definitely is a conversation piece.

Hey, will they put Starbucks in here, if you ask nicely? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hey Abrham!

Hey Abrham!

Thanks Starbucks for writing Abrham on my breakfast purchase this morning.

Apparently, religious sterotypes are alive and well with you.

How about a little sensitivity training for your staff or do you guess biblical names for all your customers?

Don’t worry though, it turns out that is my Hebrew name (and I’m Jewish and proud of it), although it’s spelled like this: Avraham. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What A Waste Of Coin

What A Waste Of Coin

Coming to work this week, I saw a penny on the ground…then another…and another.

I saw people passing the money, and instead of picking it up, they kicked in off the curb.

That’s even worse than throwing them into the fountain where at least you might get some good luck from it.

Thus, the state of our minting of coinage–it’s essentially worthless.

After getting a pretty basic Venti Java Chip at Starbucks for a whopping $5.45, I quickly calculated, I would need 545 pennies,109 nickles, 54.5 dimes, or 21.8 quarters o pay for this–how ridiculous!

And uh, how many of these would you need to pay someone one hour at the new proposed minimum wage of $10.10 if you did it in coins?

Otherwise, I could just give them a credit or debit card–yes, sort of a no brainer, right?

Why do we keep making coinage that no one wants or needs in the digital age?

We have direct deposit for payroll, automatic deductions for many expenses, online banking, ecommerce , credit and debit cards, paypal, and even bitcoin…let’s just be honest and admit it, traditional money is basically obsolete.

At Starbucks, I see many people now just use their Smartphone App to pay and get rewards–another advance.

Someday soon, we will have embedded chips that simply add and deduct payments as we go along and live life–it’s really not all that complicated.

The funny thing also is that it costs more to make many coins then their intrinsic worth–and hence the drive towards making coins with cheaper materials.

According to Business Insider, in 2012, a penny cost 2.4 cents to make and a nickle 11.2 cents–quite a losing proposition.

While there truly are some valuable coins out there and I appreciate that there are many coin lovers and collectors–numismatists–perhaps there are alternate hobbies to consider.

A colleague once told me that “If you watch your pennies, the dollars will follow”–and that may be some good investement advice, but in a 24/7 society and after decades of inflation, there isn’t enough time or room to collect all the pennies we would need to make much of a difference.

ABC News reports that while our northern brother, Canada, got rid of the penny in 2012, we still make something like 5 billion of these useless things a year.

Full disclosure: my first job in Washington, D.C. was for the U.S. Mint, and while there were good things about it, I could never feel good about the mission–it just had no purpose. 😉

All Opinions my own.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Maura Teague)