A couple of days after Christmas, Sally and I were in the Hamburg area as we had tickets for the evening performance of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Buffalo. We left Jamestown early because the weather was threatening, and we wanted to make sure we got there safely. We were scheduled to meet my cousins Greg and Chris, who live in Hamburg, for dinner later on and join them at the concert, so we had some time to burn and decided to take in some of the shops in a plaza a short distance from their home.
After a few stops at a few different stores, we found a coffee shop and decided to sit and rest our feet and have some refreshments before moving on. The coffee shop we found was one of today's popular coffee houses with a wide variety of coffee blends, coffee concoctions, fancy coffee drinks, frothy coffee drinks, foamy coffee drinks, strong coffees and foreign coffees, not to mention umpteen varieties of teas on their menu board.
Sally ordered one of her favorite coffee drinks, and I decided to have an iced tea, which Sally had to help me decide on which one since I had never had, or even heard of, many of the choices I was offered. After ordering, and paying more than $7 for the two drinks, we strolled down to the end of the line to await our order. When it arrived, I was flabbergasted in that I paid more than $7 for what amounted to being about a 10 ounce cup of coffee with some skim milk in it, and a 10 ounce glass of ice flavored water with some tea and a wedge of half yellow, half brown lemon in it.
I am wondering about this craze in our country, or maybe in the world, to have so many coffee businesses that offer so many varieties of coffee at such unbelievable prices to which people will sit in their cars at a drive-thru of many of these establishments for long periods of time to get their fix of a cup of expensive coffee, some blends so strong that they can almost grow hair. (I said almost!) The topper in all of this is that those who wait so patiently to satisfy this fix usually become very impatient after they receive it and often times pull out into traffic with cars oncoming. Drivers are forced to hit their brakes to let the coffee patron go on their merry way because they might be late for work because they spent so much time in line waiting for their coffee.
We complain a lot about the rising costs of gasoline, and I don't like it either. It sometimes nears the $4 a gallon mark. But, we have no problem spending upward of $36 a gallon for a 10 ounce cup of coffee for around $3 at a new-age coffee place - not to mention how much gas is wasted as cars run while we sit in the line which wraps around the coffee emporium. I guess I don't understand the fascination.
There are some places in town where you can get a decent cup of coffee for a reasonable cost. I have visited businesses where you can get a 12 ounce cup of coffee with free refills for under $1. I have visited some places where you can get a 16 ounce cup of coffee for just more than $1. Now when I substitute teach and I want a cup of coffee to enjoy as I prep for the day in whichever classroom I am in, I bring a fresh percolated (yes, we have a percolator at home), 16 ounce cup of good old Maxwell House from home at probably about a cost of 50 cents. And no, it isn't strong enough to grow hair; if it was, I'd bathe in it. Nor is it strong enough to double as radiator fluid, but for me, it is what it is advertised to be, "good to the last drop."
We get caught up in trendy things in today's world, and I have no problem with anyone who wishes to pay $3 plus for a 10-ounce cup of coffee, or more than $100 for a pair of sneakers or who have to shop at big-named stores rather than find bargains at area department stores. It is hard to listen to some of those same people who do the $3 coffee thing, the $100 sneakers thing and the big-name store shopping thing make big deals out of tax increases which help a majority of people, or help provide services, or help keep services, or help pay for educational programs for our children, or assist in paying for public safety for our citizens.
I am not a big fan of my taxes going up to pay for other's mistakes, or to cover costs of living for those who refuse to work, or to cover the costs of our Washington lawmakers' already overpaid salaries, benefit packages, or long vacations. But, I understand the need for increased taxes for certain things, and if I can sign up for extras in my television package and the increases that go with that, then I can put up with some of the additional increases to cover necessary things. I guess I try to make up for some of those increases by percolating a pot of good old Maxwell House, sitting back and enjoying each and every gulp all the way down to that good last drop.