Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dutch Brothers, Oh So Cool

“Free” read the sign outside the drive-up coffee establishment. Free. This is a word that calls to my inner being. I couldn’t refuse its draw, even when I had a little boy strapped in his car seat already pushed way past his nap. I’m not even a coffee drinker, but how could I refuse the lure of Dutch Brothers and the possibility of coming away with a free drink? I couldn’t.

The line of cars was long and any sane mother who puts their children first would have kept driving, but my selfish flesh prevailed and into the line of the very cool I filed.

Cool you ask? Yes, cool. Why is it that everyone who works at Dutch Brothers is “super cool?” All the girls are under 18 and wear tight, low-rise pants exposing a perfectly tanned torso followed by a snug white t-shirt exposing their budding womanhood. They smack their gum in that certain cool way.

The males who claim barista knowledge inevitably don a baseball cap and shout really loud to you over their rockin’ tunes. They are hyper, and it is not from the coffee. They all seem to really care if you’re having a great day or not, and you have this feeling that this is a part-time job to supplement their career as a local youth pastor.

As I sat in this line with my child-bearing hips feeling wider and wider by the moment, I thought, “I am really not cool.”

The hip-hop music beat its way across the pavement from the large speakers rented for the grand opening event. Air was being pumped heavenward through parachute material tubes while low-rise clad women were waking up and down the line of cars handing out all manner of Dutch Bros. paraphernalia.

Everyone working oozed confidence as they swaggered up and down giving high fives to other “totally cool” persons. No high-five came my way.

By this time my son was expressing his frustration with large crocodile tears. I debated pulling out, but I was getting so close, only five cars away from the drive-up window; I had waited so long already.

Free. Free. Free. I kept repeating this mantra. I let Bren, my son, pull all the diaper wipes out of the container just to keep him happy. I even found a dental floss dispenser, and I let him pull to his heart’s content. I would break all my no-no’s just to keep him happy a few more seconds. I had to get my free drink.

By the time I ordered my decaf mocha the back seat was in full hysteria, and I knew I had made the wrong choice. I stared into the young abs that greeted me at the window and thought, “When did tulips and windmills become symbols for coolness? Did I miss something? What kind of marketing research did the Dutch Brothers do before they started their coffee business?”

I certainly would never have guessed that these pictures of Holland would be plastered over middle school binders and lockers. But then again, I don’t find dried baby snot on my shoulder to be any reason to change my shirt.

I took a sip. Was it even yummy? Bren thought so, and it was free, so it must have been. I drove my completely not-cool adult self back to my humble abode realizing my days of size three anything, flip flops, and tight screen tees were tucked far away in a neon pink foggy past of 1980’s pegged, acid washed jeans.

(This was first published in 2006 when I was a mere mother of one. But a recent trip to Dutch Brothers brought it all back. The gal who made my mocha was wearing less material on her body than my 4-month-year-old. It just totally cracks me up that Dutch Bros. has this image no matter what drive-up you seem to use.)


Jen Rouse said...

Ah, Dutch Bros. They are just way too hip for me, as well. They're also a little too intense in the way they ask me about my coffee--they gaze into your eyes when taking your order as though your vanilla latte is the most important thing in your world. It weirds me out. There is a Dutch Bros in Corvallis that is directly across from the Mechanical Engineering building, and Eric claims the baristas there are exclusively women--never the hyper youth pastors there--the better to serve the 90% male engineering student population when they emerge from their technology cave. He thinks the Dutch Bros slogan should be "Free flirtation with your coffee!"

Carrie said...

This is great! I can completely relate...and though we have no Dutch Brothers here....our Starbucks are JUST like that. My personal favorite part...the seeing no need to change your shirt due to baby snot. Amen, sister!

Oh, and here is a virtual high-five because us snotty-shirted moms ARE cool. Well, at least rad, if not cool. =)

Sally said...

I almost spit out my decaf home brewed coffee when I read this part... "But then again, I don’t find dried baby snot on my shoulder to be any reason to change my shirt." LOL

Sally said...

LOL - I just saw Carrie had the same comment. That just proves to you that it took me nearly an hour to read this. :)

Rebekah said...

I was thinking last night that Dutch Bros. is sorta the Hooters of Coffee. Is that too harsh?

Michael said...

Two words: spot on.