(illustration above is a T-shirt design by Boy Fitz Hammond)
Back in the 70s I was a big fan of the TV show “Happy Days”. At the time it was as big of a “water cooler” show as “Seinfeld” was in the 90s, and as “American Idol” is today.
Like all great shows, they eventually hit a quality peak, and then decline. With Happy Days, that peak occurred on a show where Fonzie got on water skis and (literally) “jumped the shark”. Eeeck. That’s when I stopped watching.
That phrase now is the most commonly used term for “past its peak” .
Much to my chagrin, A “jump the shark” moment occurred recently that concerns my favorite beverage – the espresso drink.
McDonald’s is going to sell lattes.
The whole “espresso experience” that Howard Schultz dreamed about (and actually executed for a few years) has been “McDonaldized” – compressed, automated, and diluted into something akin to ordering a burger.
Unfortunately, my old favorite (and namesake) Starbucks had been circling the shark for some time now (drive thrus, automatic espresso machines, breakfast sandwiches, etc.), and the McDonald’s announcement finally forced them to jump too:
A $1 cup of coffee (experience not included).
It’s all downhill from here.
I now have to use “espresso drink” and “commodity” in the same sentence.
It was great while it lasted. My only hope is that this produces a counter-effect whereby the mom and pop espresso cafes enjoy a renaissance.
If you already have one of these in your neighborhood, lucky you. You can still experience that smell – the beautiful smell of the roasted espresso bean, the bohemian ambiance, the relaxed vibe, and (best of all) the friendly, smiling faces.
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before I will here those words I never thought I’d hear again-
“Would you like fries with that?”