Saturday, June 04, 2005


doug welsh breaks his vow?

long-time readers may recall that i was for many many years an avid peetnik, having been introduced to peet's coffee by the late, great beat poet, zenshin philip whalen of the hartford st. zen center. his darshan with me always included a cafetiére of peets.

i mail-ordered peets for years and years after that, at a time when being a specialty coffee lover was much more freakish than today. in fact, i honeymooned in northern california, and did go at that time to every single peets store that was then open.

it got to the point that the staff of one store was calling ahead for me to the next . . .that's how great the people at peets were.

when i came back to nyc, the only place to get peets was at macys or, later, at au bon pain, and that was a mistake. neither of those places took care of the coffee.

in fact, at both places it was often sold stale in the bag, and brewed improperly in the cup. so peet's wisely ended their distribution with both of those outlets.

i emailed peets and asked them when they were going to open a store in nyc. i received back a rather high-handed reply from now-bccy-pal doug welsh.

doug airily and somewhat condescendingly explained that peets would never stoop to become the mermaid, that it didn't wish to have retail stores of indifferent quality on every street corner, and if i were a true peets devotee i would understand that.

massive expansion and wide distribution just wasn't their goal, he stated.

i was a little surprised, and even a tad miffed; i stopped mail-ordering from them immediately actually -- that's how stupidly hurt i was that doug had deemed me inadequately devoted to peets. isn't that silly?

i heard just a few months later they were opening in boston. . .then they went public. . .then expansion has had its inevitable effects . . .and now this.

but let's let bygones be bygones. we're all members of the scaa!

my only question is how doug and jim -- i do adore jim reynolds; i give him a hug at conference every year and love his big tickly mustache -- intend to keep the macys debacle from repeating itself.

when you go into that kind of gourmet store and supermarket deal, you're letting someone else gamble with your most precious commodity -- i mean freshness. peets even today still is notable for its freshness.

it will be very interesting to see how doug and jim keep quality up in this new effort. that aside, there's no doubt that despite peet's growth, it has maintained a much higher quality standard than the mermaid.

when i read what the times article above stated as starbucks' supposed in-store corporate quality practices, i had to laugh. not at any starbucks location in nyc i've seen, guys!

i won't drink 25 min. old brewed coffee, much less one hour old coffee!

and that bagged starbucks coffee is usually pushing at least 6 months old, in my experience here in nyc -- check the date. i don't even wanna think about it. . .stale coffee gives me the heebie-jeebies.

i'd love to be wrong on this point. really. it would make me so happy to be completely and thoroughly wrong. . .

maybe someone from the mermaid will come along and comment to restore their good name? why do i doubt this?

posted by fortune | 1:46 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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