The Wegmans Showdown (or) All Coffee, No Donunts

I get cranky without coffee. It’s rare that I go a day without a cup.

The conversation that I had with the woman at the Wegmans in Auburn, NY, was a short and interesting one.

Frankly, the banter was not that interesting. It was interesting to me, however. I’ve told the abridged version twice thus far.

The time was just after 5 p.m., and no traces of coffee could be found in my system. That’s what my brain was reminding me, going off like a dissonant red-numbered snooze bray.

Out of desperation and passing by the Dunkin Donuts, the decision was made to opt for the grocery store than the chain. Essentially Wegmans is a grocery store chain, but the Rochester-based knowledge and comfort of it being a quintessential supermarket is the lesser of two corporate evils.

I strolled in with coffee-less delusion and b-lined it for the coffee bar. The obstacles, which were the directionless cart-toting customers, made it that much more tempting to hurdle over the food hubs to get the hot beverage that much more quickly. After all, the fastest route between two places is a straight line.

I asked her, if I could please have a red eye. She looked at me as if I had red eyes. Her head tilted, and she asked: “Um, what’s that?”

“It’s a shot of espresso in a cup of coffee,” I replied.

“That’s a pretty fancy way of saying it,” she said. “Where are you from? The city?”

“Syracuse?” I replied (as a question).

“Oh. Close enough,” she said.

I gave her a head nod up.

Thoughts wandered at that lull. Wegmans should install a saloon when its A-OK it booze and shop. This is especially true for the stores with two-level cafe areas, especially the one in Fairmount — the one I frequent. The Syracuse/Fairmount/The-Camillus-One cafe second floor has a railing that you can lean over and gawk at shoppers from above.

(Hey! Hey! You got the fake Oreos!)

It’s easy to spot someone at the coffee bar, which is diagonally located from the bakery. Calling someone yellow-bellied for opting for a beverage sans espresso could yield a shot from the hip that could slump the heckler to send them over the railing and down to the floor below.

But Wegmans would have to find room for a piano.

I wanted to make small talk, because my brain was as excited as a dog is upon seeing its humans come home. (Espresso!) Surprisingly, it didn’t take a dump on the carpet for waiting so long.

We talked about the rain and the Dannemora prison break, how Sweat was shot and captured. We both looked up at the television to see the guy, bloodied and cuffed, on the ground.

The barista: She’s a good egg. Considering — I think — the coffee station may have been ready to close up shop. So, thank you.

“The Donut Blend is fresh,” she said.

What I heard: The donuts are fresh. I wanted to say: Listen, I have a wedding that I’m standing in that is less than a month away, I don’t need donuts. My brain was infuriated. It wanted to go jack-in-the-box with a clown face, bearing burning eyes.

It’s bad enough — well, this actually isn’t a bad thing per se — that David at work is generous enough to buy The Citizen and Skaneateles Journal staffs doughnuts every Friday, and that I have to talk to the donuts as I slowly back away.

However, if I got my coffee at Skaneateles Bakery, I’d walk away with two donuts — no more, no less. There is a personal preference for the plain and coconut-coated treats. Them donuts are some of the best around, and the dunkability is a 10.

There was no way I’d be feeling guilty about consuming donuts … because it just won’t happen today.

“Pardon?” I finally asked her, breaking from my inner dialogue.

“I just put out the Donut Shop Blend coffee.”

“Ah,” I tactfully replied while looking over at the carafes. I’ve never had that. I’ve gone for Columbian or Seattle, but not the medium blend coffee, which ended up being satisfying and got the job done.

She hesitated handing me the cup. “I think I put too much in there,” she said.

Nonsense!, said brain. “I’m sure it’s fine,” I said.

The cup was filled halfway with espresso. My eyes were looking at about seven/eight ounces of espresso.

“This is great,” I said. “Thank you so much.” At this rate, I’d be going to bed around 3 a.m. (I went to bed at 1:15 a.m.)

The rest of the 16 oz. cup was filled with Donuts.

3 thoughts on “The Wegmans Showdown (or) All Coffee, No Donunts

  1. Yes, Chris, good man. A reminder about my roots: As I was growing up “down there,” anything across the George Washington Bridge was called upstate. Now I live in The City with my dear wife Karen because The Little Bitty is in Eastwood. Much better. Eight ounces of espresso! You’re gonna test positive if your bro’s wedding gets hit up for random pee cups. 🙂

  2. Interesting how perception shapes things. To the Wegmans barista in Auburn, Syracuse is the city. As a Rochester native I still notice at times how small Syracuse seems compared to Rochester and our NYC residents think of the rest of he says as one big episode of green acres.

    • Thanks for reading and for the comment, Mark.

      The first thing that came to mind was New York, of course, but naturally I said, “Syracuse.” Apparently I have an accent, too?

      Unfortunately our downstate friends don’t realize that we do have the best of both worlds “up here.” Syracuse may be a smaller city, but it’s still a city nonetheless.

      It’s nice to have the larger Rochester to venture to when needing something bigger, but close by. We upstaters need to stick together and up for ourselves.

      As for NYC, they should realize we’re more than just farm country. And perhaps they should pull more of their produce from upstate instead of Pennsylvania or New Chris Christie.

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