The difference between these two alternatives couldn’t be starker. At Starbucks, the drink sizes are Italian words, not English ones. The array of coffee concoctions that one can choose from takes up multiple boards above the barista’s preparation station. There is, by contrast, no “barista” at Dunkin’ Donuts. Until recently, there weren’t an awful lot of choices at Dunkin’, either. Small, medium, or large. Cream, sugar, or both. (James usually goes with a medium coffee with sugar. It is practical and costs about two bucks. It gets the job done efficiently.) You’re unlikely to walk out of Starbucks with a two-dollar cup of coffee. But that’s not what the Bleus are looking for. Starbucks offers a kaleidoscope of options, many of them daringly offbeat, and the company’s ethos clearly aligns with the priorities of fluid people—even if it occasionally stumbles, as with its #RaceTogether campaign, which was intended to foster conversations about race among its customers, but which drew a harsh and speedy backlash from across the political spectrum. But that hasn’t stopped the Bleus from frequenting the chain. Indeed, the fluid’s love of nuance, the less traditional, and the pursuit of individual fulfillment is on full display at Starbucks (or any of the other cutting-edge coffee shops in the Bleus’ neighborhood, which are full of people expressing their individuality with lots of tattoos and piercings).
Marc Hetherington (Prius Or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America's Great Divide)