Welcome to another installment of “How They Stack Up”. The idea behind this series is to provide a more engaged discussion and examination of every-day things that most people experience/encounter on a fairly common basis, and see ‘how they stack up’ against each other. The comparisons can vary from different places for coffee, to types of beer, to certain electronic devices…well, you get the picture. I make a personal list of pros and cons for each item, and at the end of the article I try to come to some sort of conclusion as to which is of the two came out as the proverbial ‘winner’ of the stack up.
This week, we’re looking at Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.
Both stores are highly-recognizable establishments that people frequent in the mornings in mass volume for their fix of both morning pastries and caffeine, but how do they compare to each other when you stack them up?
- It’s sometimes paired with a Baskin-Robbins – As a guy who will perpetually have an inner-fat kid, I have to give it up to DDs for partnering with one of my favorite ice cream places: Baskin-Robbins. What’s greater than having a donut AND ice cream at the same time? Certainly not living to see the age of 40.
- Great hangover food after a night of drinking – If you ever end up with a pounding headache and a raging hangover after a long night of hitting the hooch, DDs is probably the best place to hit up to ameliorate your pain. They provide the greatest combination of greasy food and caffeine to soak your alcohol sorrows away.
- Less lines (typically, at least in D.C.) – I can’t speak for DDs across the country, but the ones I’ve been to in D.C. typically have lines that move much more efficiently and quicker than most coffee or breakfast establishments.
- Good for feeding the masses – It’s tough to find breakfast spots you can go to and pick up numerous items to feed a lot of people (i.e. an office, your friends, breakfast for family), which is why DDs is typically a safe bet when it comes to buying food for lots of people.
- Damn cheap. – For the quantity you get and the amount you pay, it’s hard for any place to beat Dunkin’ Deezy for the bang they give you for your buck.
- Their donuts suck. I mean, come ON, it’s in the name of your store! – Imagine a delicious, perfectly glazed Krispy Kreme donut…that’s been left out in the open air for a week. If you’re a donut connoisseur or have high standards for pastries, go somewhere else. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
- When it comes to coffee, they mix everything for you in the cup (granted you can do it yourself at some stores) – Some Dunkin’ Donuts allow you to mix things like cream and sugar in your own coffee yourself, but for the most part, they do it for you. Which is annoying. Sometimes.
- Not every Dunkin’ Donuts stocks soy milk – For those with sensitive tummies (and the people who have to be around when they get the ‘downtown-pushdowns’), this is definitely a negative.
- Their food is pretty terrible if you’re sober, not hungover, or if your tongue works – Yeah, you really get what you pay for when it comes to Dunkin’ Donuts…which is apparently hot garbage.
- Customizable drinks to the max – If i blurted out a slur of non-coherent coffee ‘buzz’ words such as a decaf-no-whip-cruelty-free-soy-macchiato-steamed-at-150-degrees-with-cinnamon, most Starbucks employees could probably make it. And it would taste half decent.
- Throughout the year Starbucks offers free samples, free drinks, and just…free stuff – Starbucks stays pretty consistent with offering some awesome free stuff which ranges from free drink samples, free food samples, and even straight up free drinks (you hold on to your receipt and come back to redeem it in the afternoon).
- Their app makes scanning for quick purchases wildly convenient – As a guy who lives on his phone, I am thoroughly enthused about Starbucks having an app that lets you scan and charge your card for coffee. No fumbling with my wallet and no prying my credit card from a piece of leather I sit on all day.
- Music selection is pretty good – Hey man. I love Corinne Bailey Rae and Sara Bareilles. What about it?
- You can actually work at a Starbucks with a laptop – I can appreciate the fact that not only can I go to Starbucks to grab a quick cup of joe, but if I really wanted to, I can crank open my laptop and go to town on some work if need be.
- They have a very limited food selection compared to DD – Even though they try to offer a wide selection in food, let’s face it: if you’re not eating one of their pastries, then you’re probably eating something that tastes terrible.
- 99% of the pastries there will make your thighs explode , even the ‘low fat’ ones – Don’t ever try to fool yourself into thinking that anything from Starbucks won’t make your love handles jiggle with excitement. If you ever actually took a look at the caloric values of half of their drinks and pastries, you would quickly spit out that Starbucks cake pop you were happily gorging yourself on.
- Their lines are brutal in the morning – Every Starbucks should consider putting up a sign at the front of their store between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 am that reads, “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here” because waiting in a Starbucks line for your drink is pretty much the equivalent of Dante’s Inferno. Babies are crying, women are wailing, and men are gnashing their teeth. Literally…one of the worst lines you’ll ever stand in. Just awful.
- Expensive for the quality you get – For the most part, the average person who makes the median salary in D.C. can afford Starbucks on the regular. But if you’re a college student or a broke recent grad, then this place will pretty much bankrupt you. Speaking as a guy who goes their frequently for drinks, at times I find it difficult to look at myself in the mirror after having paid $7.00 for a dirty chai latte.
- With all the amazing drinks they have, it’s pretty hard to get a coffee – Interestingly enough, Starbucks is amazing about picking up custom drink orders but is terrible about giving you one of the more basic items you’d expect from a coffee store…coffee. Try ordering a tall pike next time you go to Starbucks, you’ll be shocked at how long it will take/the fact that they will forget your order all-together.
Conclusion – Starbucks is better than Dunkin’ Donuts.
I know a lot of you DD die-hard fans may disagree with my conclusion, but at the end of the day, Starbucks just wins in so many categories compared to Dunkin’ Donuts. You can actually sit and work there, you can order complicated drinks and adjust the cream/sugar situation yourself, and most of their food probably won’t give you colon cancer. Granted I love Dunkin’ Donuts for what it is: a cheap place that won’t hurt the wallet that I’ll probably only frequent for hangovers, convenience, or if it really is my last option.
But at the end of the day, when a coffee thirst suddenly grabs you and you’re confronted with the choice of turning to a Dunkin’ Donuts on your left or to a Starbucks on your right, let’s not lie to ourselves: you’re going to turn right.