Starbucks, Bad Coffee, Shitty Attitude

Cops, coffee and donuts. Massachusetts State Police hard at work.

The story is actually about Arizona cops. I didn’t have a picture of Arizona cops drinking coffee. I never worked in an area with a Dunkin Donuts, but I understand they popped. Starbucks does not. Keep this fact in mind and check out the link.

The pop. It’s a time honored tradition that certain establishments provide free or police “discounts” for goods and services. Sometimes it is the option of the individual manager/owner and sometimes it is corporate policy. Starbucks does not pop, everybody pays the full price.

With that in mind the barista or minimally waged, maximally employed employee had a choice. Cater to a booger eating moron or piss off six paying customers. Good choice.

In the 1980’s Los Angeles was the center for police DARE training. I had a friend who attended the training program in Los Angeles. There were cops from all over the country in attendance.

My friend went on a ride-along with two LAPD classmates. He shared the experience with a Boston Police officer. The LAPD guys gave them the tour of the division. The Boston cop was impressed. He asked the LAPD guys how much they were able to take on a monthly basis. The follow up was how much they had to pay the Sergeant for such a plum patrol area. The LAPD guys insisted things didn’t work that way. My friend had no idea what they were talking about.

A freebie or lack thereof is not going to impact how the police respond to a call for service. It will impact the probability of a cop being on or near the premises. Here is a math problem to put in context.

City X puts four patrol cars out per shift. Each officer is entitled to two fifteen minute coffee breaks and a half our meal break. That means during the course of an eight hour shift the four cops can legitimately spend two of the eight hours swilling coffee and additional two hours eating a meal.

It is probably a pretty good bet that armed robbers, drunks and wife beaters will choose not to habituate an establishment with cops. A cup of coffee sounds like pretty cheap insurance.

A crook, in New York, walked into a Baskin Robbins and as he crossed the threshold adjusted his pants. A gun slid down his pant leg. Just in case the three cops didn’t notice he then kicked it across the floor. I don’t know if the Baskin Robbins popped.

When I first started working patrol, nothing was open after eleven at night. The night auditor at the local Holiday Inn had access to the restaurant and kept a coffee pot on. It became the unofficial coffee shop for local and university cops, stray highway patrol, game wardens and occasional sheriff’s deputies. This arrangement suited right up until the time that an officer arrested the wife of the the innkeeper for DWI. The next night the guys on the midnight shift found the restaurant locked.

The night auditor at the Ramada Inn across the street agreed to meet the coffee needs of the midnight shift. It just wasn’t the same. Three nights later two idiots from Austin decided to hold up the Holiday Inn. The call went out. The idiots never made it out of the Holiday Inn driveway before being confronted by every law enforcement agency in the county.

The following night, Chuck, the Holiday Inn night auditor, called to say the restaurant was back open. Not only was there coffee but boiled, chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce, prime rib and fixings for sandwiches and coffee.

Years later patrol officers patronized the local “Stop N Go” convenience store. Convenience stores measure their sales of fountain drinks and coffee by the number of cups that are used. Stop N Go also pops to police, fire EMS and anybody else the clerk feels kindly towards. To keep the cup count of paid drinks in line, the company provides cups for freebies. I knew this but forgot.

After working narcotics for four years I was reassigned to dog watch patrol (midnights). I walked into the Stop N Go and did what I what I was used to. I went to the back, grabbed a beer and headed for the counter. The clerk took the beer away and handed me a “cop cup.” She was right, it went better with the uniform.

I tried to stay away from freebie places. I wouldn’t argue with the places that offered half price. It just meant that the waitress was going to get the difference in the tip. I was a pretty cheap date. Generally, I didn’t eat meals while on duty but consumed coffee by the gallon. I wasn’t being virtuous. I figured being gut shot on a full stomach was a complication I didn’t need.