I was meandering around D.C. during my lunch break several days ago, and I stopped in my tracks when I saw a beautiful sight, a hybrid of my two favorite things in the world: zombies and coffee. A sign that said, “Zombie Coffee” was hanging directly above me, and I had to blink a few times to make sure it wasn’t a mirage. But no, it was real, and this wonderful undead coffee shop was only four blocks from my office. How did I not know about this?
My euphoric grin was quickly replaced with a guilty grimace. What was I going to do about my current coffee affair? You see, I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with Starbucks for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t just go behind Starbucks’ back and start a relationship with this brand new, young, exciting, sexy coffee shop. OK, maybe not sexy. But still, I couldn’t just ignore this bewitching new coffee shop just to keep going with the old “cup and chain” that is Starbucks. The demon on my shoulder told me to just go into Zombie Coffee to check it out. I wouldn’t have to order anything. I could just see what it was all about. Starbucks would never know. But the angel on my other shoulder won, and I hightailed it back to the office (sans coffee).
If I’m being perfectly honest, Starbucks and I have been having problems lately. She’s an expensive mistress, and I’ve been very clear with Starbucks that I can only come by once or twice a week because $4.10 is a lot to pay every day. And what do I get in return for all the time and money I’ve invested in my one true love? A delicious white mocha, that’s what! I kind of want one right now. Evil temptress!
Anyway, I’m getting off topic. As I was saying, Starbucks and I were having issues, but I hadn’t been actively looking for another coffee shop. I came upon this beguiling new coffee shop by accident, but after I ran away from them that fateful day, I couldn’t stop thinking about Zombie Coffee. I was good for the next couple days, faithfully going to Starbucks twice a day (after all, it was treat receipt time). But Zombie Coffee was always in the back of my mind. I couldn’t help it. I just had to try one of their undead coffees.
The next morning, I slipped past Starbucks with my head down, my sunglasses and hat covering the guilty look in my eyes. I walked right up to Zombie Coffee and stood outside, peering in the window. I put my hand on the door. Could I really betray Starbucks like this? A businessman came up behind me, and I opened the door for him. He walked in and went right up to the counter. He made it look so easy. OK, deep breath. I slowly stepped into the coffee shop, and a heavenly scent hit my nostrils. Sometimes it feels good to be bad.
Once I was inside, I had no idea what to do. At Starbucks, you walk right up to the cashier and order your coffee. At this zombified coffee shop, you make your own coffee! I crept up to the counter, trying to inconspicuously figure out what I was supposed to do. A voice snapped me back to reality. “Do you need help?” a man wearing a Zombie Coffee shirt asked me.
I ducked my head, not wanting to draw attention to myself. Feeling as guilty as Anthony Weiner, I whispered, “I’ve never done this before.”
The nice man replied, “It’s easy. You get to choose from four types of coffee, then you can add the syrup of your choice, and then you can pick your cream and sugar. The small coffee is $1.60.”
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaattt???????? I’m sorry, did you say $1.60?”
“But…but…I have to pay extra for the syrup and creamer, right?”
“No, it’s $1.60 for everything.”
Dear Starbucks: Screw you. We’re done.
All the guilt I was feeling for betraying Starbucks immediately disappeared when I realized that they had been charging me way, way, way too much over the years. I always knew in the back of my mind that Starbucks was ridiculously expensive, but my new mistress that is Zombie Coffee showed me that Starbucks had been screwing me for years.
As I started putting together my first cup of Zombie Coffee, I was softly singing “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé (to the left, to the left, everything you own is in the cup to the left). I chose the light roast because I wanted to start out slow. Then I added some caramel syrup (three pumps, thank you very much), and I finished off with two caramel creamers. I moseyed up to the cashier, feeling confident. I paid the man $1.60 and marched out of Zombie Coffee with my head held high. I stopped at the end of the block and looked around before taking the first sip of my new coffee. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind. What if it doesn’t taste good? Is it too late to crawl back to Starbucks? Oh God, what have I done?
I had to push away those negative thoughts, so I closed my eyes and took my first sip. Bliss! This must be what they drink in heaven. I might be going to hell for betraying Starbucks, but I don’t care. I found my own little piece of heaven (for only $1.60). Starbucks and I have officially broken up, and now I can focus all my attention on my new love. I think Zombie Coffee and I will be very happy together!