On Becoming A Regular

Enter. Walk slowly toward the register.

“Oh hi John! I’ll get that medium coffee for you. I know just how you like it.”

Sometimes, I throw in a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on Texas toast for good measure. MMM! I did today, in fact.

As time has continued on, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to our friendly neighborhood Dunkin Donuts, and in particular the people who work there.

Easters of Yore

One nice young woman always enjoys coming over to my table and making small talk as I chat, I think as a bit of a respite from the long hours of work she puts in. I guess I can’t complain too much about my eight-hour, five-days-a-week job when she might put in 12 hours and sometimes work six days. Man alive, I need to find that kind of drive.

No matter where I relocate, I usually find some place in which I become a sort of regular. In my last independent residence, Carrboro’s Estes Park Apartments, we didn’t have any nearby restaurants or convenience stores I could easily access. So, I often hung out in the leasing office. But hey, they made some of the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had in there. And it was free. Getting to know the staff like that also led to other very necessary perks during those broke days, like letting more than a few late rents slide by and helping with other things like going to the grocery. Even so, I certainly hope I never end up in that kind of crazy situation again.

Of course while there, I did establish regular status in Chapel Hill establishments like Sutton’s, an old-style soda shop that serves hot dogs, burgers, and big, filling breakfasts. I had been going there somewhat frequently even from Durham, until I came to like my current area and its more convenient access more. I have a server in Suttons to whom I enjoy talking, also an incredibly hard worker who routinely puts in six days. I’m not entirely sure we respect enough the people who put food on our tables, well heck we often plain look down on them. This shouldn’t be.

And then, there’s the place with which I think people most associate the idea of “regular”ness, Starbucks. They have one of those on Franklin in Chapel Hill also, but the reason I love it there is it has a local, homely atmosphere. Some of my best writing has happened in there.

Have you become a regular anywhere? If so, what is your typical order. Do the servers know you? I wonder to what degree this happens in other countries. I definitely find it fascinating the slow, predictable way that this credential comes into being.

8 Responses to On Becoming A Regular

  1. I was in thought today of how predictable and territorial we humans are with our daily going ons. Almost to the point that it angers us or upsets our balance in life. It is good to have a routine- however we must be careful of the limitations we place on ourselves by not being flexible or welcoming of change. I love you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Oh, I agree. While I think my life is pretty routine, things change just a little everyday. So if I look at myself six months from now, I’m likely to be quite different than I am today.

  2. I am a regular at the Starbucks on UNCP’s campus. It is true that the more you visit a place like Starbucks–or any restaurant–the stronger your relationships with the workers grow. I’m a person who loves to stick to a routine, but I like to take a break from it every now and again.

    • Right. I obviously can’t do that every day. It definitely makes for a great way to chill after the stresses of work, though.

  3. I was a regular at the local Waffle House for clase to 2 years – 2-3 times a week for breakfast. There were 2 crews who knew me and as soon as I was out of the car and heading toward the door, one of the servers had my drink of choice ready at my seat of choice. Once I hit the door, the cook would call out, “The usual” and what that was. Almost always she got an affirmative back. It’s been close to 2 years since I visited that often, like maybe once every eight weeks now. Or less. All of the crews have changed now and no one knows me. Not sure how I feel about that.

    • MMM Waffle House! I had been a semi-regular at the Chapel Hill location, and a server in the Durham one knows me quite well also.

    • Nice. Yeah, the barista in Dunkin says she often looks forward to my showing up when she’s there. Nice person.

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