The Dunkin’ Donuts on Bedford Doesn’t Embody Populism

Dunkin' Donuts Bedford Avenue Williamsburg L train

Here’s a false dichotomy everyone’s creating today: Dunkin’ Donuts coffee vs. whatever’s “cold-brewed in mason jars.” Because Dunkin’ Donuts came up with a marketing strategy a while ago that would position it as an alternative to Starbucks: more blue-collar, less pretentious and soy-y. And apparently everyone’s bought into that. The new Dunkin’ Donuts on Bedford and N. 7th, right across from the Bedford Avenue L stop, where nuBrooklyn was born, finally opened, and some people on Twitter think that sucks. But they’re just hipster idiots. “Their coffee actually tastes good, and costs about $3 less than wherever you’re currently getting your caffeine fix at,” Jen Carlson writes at Gothamist. “Is it that place you read about in the NY Times Sunday Style section, where the bespectacled and suspendered boy you like works?” She adds, “it’s open 24 hours a day… The Dunkin’ Donuts sirens will beckon you at some point, and you won’t be able to resist.”

I’ll be able to resist, because Dunkin’ Donuts fucking blows: it’s not some awesome populist bastion; it’s a major multinational corporation who sends your local dollars away to its corporate offices in Massachusetts. It’s like saying you get your groceries not from some fancy market but from a humble 7-11 like a real blue-collar Brooklynite. (Also, DD makes all of its money selling Americans huge amounts of sugar and fat and caffeine—that’s all it sells, on an epic scale—none of which help the country’s worsening health; a company like Dunkin’ Donuts is no better than a tobacco company, slowly poisoning its customers, leaving the rest of the country to pick up the tab.)

You want to go there? Fine. You like the coffee? Cool. But don’t act like you’re making some proud fucking anti-hipster political statement by doing so. “Not everyone has 30 minutes to wait on line for fair trade single origin pour over fart coffee at blue bottle in the morning,” writes one Gothamist commenter. “everyone I know who grew up in Brooklyn loves Dunkin’,” writes another. “Also wouldn’t [it] be like, cool and real-Brooklyn and all blue-collar to go there instead of blue bottle or whatever? You can hang out with my real-Brooklyn Polish dad and his construction crew friends at the one on Manhattan Ave every morning at like 5:30.”

I remember growing up in a Brooklyn without chain stores; when a McDonald’s finally came to my neighborhood, it was a big fucking deal, something a lot of community-minded business owners had resisted for a long time. Bay Ridge still has two independently owned donut shops, alternatives to the handful of Dunkin’ Donuts shops that have opened, not to mention countless local bakeries. You need a baked good? Go to a local bakery. You need a cup of coffee? Go to a bodega. Or make it at home you rich, frivolous bastards—that’s authentic Brooklyn.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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