Caribou is to Minnesota what Starbucks is New York (or what Amish furniture stores are to Pennsylvania). They’re frickin’ everywhere.
I’ve probably stopped at a Caribou once a week for the last seven years. I like Caribou for three specific reasons:
1. They’ve outfitted all the locales in a comfy lodge motif.
2. They call their drinks by regular size names (small, medium, large) that don’t make you feel like a douchebag when you utter them aloud. Come on, a grown-ass adult should not be enforced to order anything grande except maybe a taco.
3. Their coffee doesn’t consistently taste like burnt toast.
Another one of their “things” that I’ve silently enjoyed is their daily trivia question. In essence, an employee writes a trivia question on a blackboard in a neon marker. Typically, there is some rudimentary art involved. If a patron guesses the correct answer, they get… drumroll…. ten cents off their coffee!
I always read the trivia question but have NEVER answered, even if I’m 100 percent certain.
I like the trivia thing, but there are a few reasons why I don’t speak up. First of all, when do you say the answer? “I’ll take a medium dark roast with room and… Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves?” I don’t know, it seems silly to interject that info on top of a coffee order you hope the barista won’t forget.
Also, I think there is something really yucky about people stating their correct trivia answer all smug-like. Ew, it’s just for ten cents off your coffee. Relax, hotshot. I do not want to be that person.
Lastly, what if I answer the question wrong and look like a fool?! Will the people behind me in line think I’m an idiot? Will the guy ringing me up think to himself, “I can’t believe she thought the answer was Deep Space Nine. Clearly, it’s The Next Generation. What a dummy.”
Ten cents off my coffee is no bargain when all of this is at stake. It’s easier to just pretend I didn’t see the trivia question and move it along. Yeah, I know… I coulda saved like twenty bucks over the years, but my good name is worth it.
However, I finally spoke up when I saw this question:
“This famous chef/author was also the host of the TV show No Reservations.”
Anthony Bourdain, obviously. Ah, what the hell. I tacked on my answer to the end of my order (and tried to not say it too smugly). The barista barely noted my correct answer, though my coffee cost $2.04 instead of $2.14, so he must’ve heard me.
The whole thing was really anticlimactic.