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6B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, November 1, 2001
Starbucks attempts to conquer Ann Arbor coffee scene
The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, Novermber 1, 2001- 11B
I LIKE TO PUMP MY OWN GAS
By Carmen Johnson may not write proper notes balancing
Daily Arts Writer your notebook upon your knees; you
are, however, cushioned.
Ask some people about Starbucks Michelle deBaroncelli, a graduate
and they'll complain about big busi- student in the School of Social Work,
nesses and poor Columbian workers often reads at State Streer's
in the heat of the sun. Of course then Starbucks. "Yeah, we have a lot of
they'll gladly tell you exactly what coffee shops. I come to State Street
corner of State Street it's on and how places in general because there is
far the other one down South better parking than on South
University Street is, remembering to University. I come in here because
mention their favorite Frappuccino it's a quiet place," she says nodding.
flavor. Admit it, you'll pay $4 for a "I just like the fireplace here."
cup and lounge on their couches, Lisette Bernstein, a graduate student
staring at the cursive handwriting on in the Business School, declared as
the wallpaper. You'll sit there, try to she pulled herself forward from the
be as comfortable and relaxed as sucking couches. The fireplace. The
possible only to open your textbook place in State's Starbucks that every-
with the uncomfortable thought that one wants to sit in front of and pre-
you don't understand a word. You tend it's storming outside.
When the employees were asked
whether they ever competed with the
other Starbucks, they laughed.
Veronica Marceth, an LSA
Sophomore who works at the shop
said, "We don't really compete. Or
with any other coffee shop on cam-
pus. We just sell coffee."
A 10-minute walk away, the new
erStarbucks seems a little brighter.
"Daniel Lilson, a graduate student
studying physics, is an employee at
the south side Starbucks.
"I definitely start to recognize the
people coming in. Most don't even
buy coffee, they just sit right down
and plug in their laptops," Lilson
said as he looked around.
Rebecca Ramsey, an LSA sopho-
See STARBUCKS, Page 12B
South University's Starbucks is the newest coffee shop around campus.
So it's last Friday night, and we are
all feeling happy. Everyone is in a
costume or a pseudo-costume. The
kid next to me is a wizard. The girl to my
right is some kind of kinky devil. (Why
do girls always have to wear trashy cos-
tumes? It's like, "I'm Whore Snoopy!
Who are you?")
We had been playing quarters with
some quality beast for awhile when
Harry Potter suggests that we play the
game "Ten Fingers."
In case you are unfamiliar with this
pinnacle of party boredom, here are
the basic rules: Everyone sits in a cir-
cle, holding up ten fingers. Then they
go around clockwise, naming things
they haven't done. If something is
named that some people have done,
they get to put a finger down. The last
person with a finger up wins. Woo.
It can get pretty risque, and it's a sort
of no-contact spin-the-bottle.
So we're all like, "I've never been in
a threesome," and "I've never picked
my nose." Then my friend Jordon goes,
"I've never pumped my own gas."
What the hell? Everyone groans,
knowingly. They all grudgingly lower a
finger. But I'm so confused. How has
he never pumped gas for his car?
So I ask him how old he is and if he -
has a car. Apparently he's 21-years-old,
and he owns a Chevy Cavalier.
Food for Thought
really dying per month
because of the embargo?
Not really, according
to a recent study.
The number of babies
dying is exactly the
same as in the 1980s.
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors
But Jordon is from New Jersey. (I This psycho law was instated in
have never been to New Jersey.) And Michigan just as it was my turn to take-
Jordon informs driver's education. Now kids here can't
me that every drive until they're a bit older. (Read:
gas station there "Mom, will you drop us off at the
is full service. v prom?")
(Read: The So I drove up to the Sunoco gas sta-
attendants pump tion by my house and, I'll confess, it
it for you.) was a challenge not to hit the curb
"Don't you where the pumps are situated. But I put
feel like, left my vehicle in park. It took me like, an
out?" I am not hour to figure out how to make the gas
ready to drop emerge from the tube, because I was too
this. stupid to notice the sign reading "PUSH
"Nope says Sarah START BUTTON" and too embar-
Jordon. "In win- Rubin rassed to ask for help. It was as awk-
ter, it's great to ward as the first time I visited Rite Aid
stay inside the Pie ges f to purchase tampons.
car." But when the unleaded was finally
And Iconsider Flair flowin' into my lil' Suzuki, I felt a huge
his point. sense of autonomy. It was almost a moral
But I don't think that he's right. victory. I felt so competent.
Because there's something wonderful And that was just the beginning.
about being able to pump your own gas. Subsequently, I loved to get gas.
I can remember the first time that I did it. Midnight gas station runs were an inte-
It was 1998. My parents bought me a gral part of my adolescence. My friends
Suzuki Sidekick for my 16th birthday would be in charge of the food and I
(yes I'm spoiled.) Careful planning and a
November birthdate had allowed me to
duck the new, extended requirements: r' Ti . t j
would be in charge of actually procuring
the fuel to get us to whatever concert or
party we happened to go to that night. I
would pay the clerk, "Ten dollars on
pump 6, no. 7, well, the back one with
the red SUV ... "
Then we'd meet back at the car, break-
ing out red vines and Slurpees and this
awesome fake cappuccino that puts most
of the Ann Arbor bullshit to shame. It
was tradition. Those were the freakin'
But the best part about being able to
pump my own gas is the game.
You have to know about the game.
It starts when you pick a number, any
number, of dollars to put into your tank.
It has to be an integer. Popular amounts
are $10, $20, $30 ... Then you let the
pump go as fast as possible for as long as
possible. When you think it's close to the
desired monetary amount, you click the
It reminds me of the Skill Claw. Please
tell me that you've played Skill Claw.
There are even fun variations. Once I
put the handle on the automatic level and
went to the bathroom and still made it
back to stop the pump at twenty dollars.
And different gas stations have differ-
ent rates of flow. This means that you
have to be able to gage whether or not
Amoco is gonna take longerthan Mobil.
At this point in my life, I consider my
pumping skill to be extremely well-cul-
tivated. I am no longer an over-guesser
or a novice, so when the dude next to
me hits $13.02, I am embarrassed for
How stupid do you feel going up to
the clerk, saying, "Fifteen bucks and ...
ah ... two cents on Pump 7? Please?"
Whenever I make this mistake I feel
compelled to take it to the nearest quar-
So, when it comes down to it, being
able to pump my own gas is a control
issue. It's a sign of independence.
Yeah. So Jordon kicked my ass in "10
fingers but at least I don't live in New
- Sarah would love to read your
thoughts on pumping gas. She can be
reached at email@example.com.
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