A Slice of Fried Gold

Inevitability finally hits

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I love coffee. A lot. I never go a day without it, as sad as that may sound. Of course, this day and age the people who aren't drinking caffeine on a daily basis are probably greatly outnumbered by those who are, so I'm not exactly unique in that regard. With the massive upturn in coffee drinkers, the options for actually purchasing it have become far more diversified and easier to access.

Renting a movie? Some video stores have coffee places in them. Driving down the road? Stop by any of the infinity drive throughs along the way. Want to sit and chat while sipping your cup of joe? The classic coffee shop has expanded in all directions. Essentially, you can get your coffee how you want it, when you want it, and where you want it.

Of course, more often than not these coffee shops are run on a day-to-day basis by cute baristas, which is of course added incentive for men looking to get their americano on. In an attempt to capitalize on this long running tenet of the world of coffee (and perhaps to finally catch up with Alaska as the top coffee drinking state per capita), many drive through joints in western Washington are now requiring a dress code for their employees: as little clothing as possible (as you can see above). Check out this article from HeraldNet about this rising trend.

These new "sexy espresso" joints are absolutely killing it and in the process killing classic coffee experiences, as many long running stands are facing a change or die situation in terms of whether or not they should sexify their stands up. Do they try to maintain their long term respectability, or do they start covering their baristas in pasties and bikini bottoms to try and earn back sales (those that do change have seen sales triple on average)? It's a tough question for some, but business wise they really have no other option.

I think this is really the most predictable move ever, and I'm surprised it hasn't happened far sooner. It really is the natural progression from the current state of things, although I'm not sure how well it will fly in Alaska (if at all, I hear it's cold here). However, I have two central rules to improve my food/drink experience that always work: if it's free or is served to me by hot girls, it always is a better experience. It's just a fact of life.

With that said, even I'm unsure about this. The whole thing seems sketchy, and I'm already "that guy" in enough regards, I don't know if I want to be "that guy" who frequents a coffee shop because its baristas wear basically no clothing. That may be too much.


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