- In all my time living in New York City – about eight of my 29 years – I have never bought something at Starbucks, drunk coffee, ordered delivery, or used or owned a credit card.
- People think I’m weird or missing out because I don’t do these very common things, but I think they’re weird for having any interest in them.
- Going to Starbucks is a ridiculous waste of time and money, and ordering delivery is too decadent for my tastes, even if the food is cheap.
- I don’t drink coffee at all, so I’m not commenting on the quality of Starbucks coffee, which I’m sure is fine.
- It’s not that I don’t waste time and money doing equally stupid stuff, it’s just that you CAN live without your Starbucks or Seamless.
On Wednesday, for no good reason, I tweeted that in all my time living in New York City – about eight of my 29 years – I had never bought something at Starbucks, drunk a coffee, ordered delivery, or used or owned a credit card.
Nobody liked the tweet, but several colleagues confronted me about it in person. Basically, they couldn’t believe it. When I tell them that I worked for years as a delivery man and as a barista making coffee, they start to think I’m weird.
But honestly, if you do buy coffee from Starbucks, or order delivery, I think you’re weird.
Credit cards I understand, but I never felt the need for them.
Going to Starbucks and ordering food for delivery, however, are ridiculous habits.
What I buy instead of Starbucks
I don’t drink coffee. I think coffee tastes good, but I just don’t drink it. Funny enough, I spent more than a year working as a barista, too. People seemed to enjoy the lattés I made them, which is great because I had no idea what they tasted like.
I drink tea, which my employer generously provides. At home, I have a box of PG Tips, an English Breakfast tea. I think it cost $US5 for 40 bags.
Sometimes I drink tea in the morning to wake up, but mostly I don’t. I’d rather stay in bed the extra five to 15 minutes you’d spend waiting in line at Starbucks.
Millennials, like me, may be spending more on coffee than on retirement savings. And I’m the weird one?
I probably miss out on a lot of social interactions, coffee meetings at work, and other bonding opportunities, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m in control of how I spend my money and time and am not beholden to the cultural institution that is coffee.
With the money I save on never buying coffee or anything at Starbucks, I bought a Ferrari and drove it into a lake.
Just kidding. I spent that money on other stuff that’s equally as dumb as drinking a frappuccino (a milkshake, let’s be honest) every day. I’m just not interested in being part of your coffee cult. Instead, find me at the bar.
What I do instead of delivery
I love food. Before entering media, I worked on and off in restaurants for a decade. The same week I got my driver’s licence, I got a job as a delivery man. I delivered food for a few other restaurants throughout college and high school.
I eat all kinds of food from gourmet to really crappy fast food. But no matter what, I go and get it.
Ordering delivery is more expensive, and you have to sit and wait for someone to show up. Even in New York City, this can take an hour. I’m not emotionally capable of waiting an hour for food.
In that time, I could go grocery shopping and make basically any dish I’d order because I’m good at cooking.
But things happen, right? Sometimes, you’re sick, or you just don’t feel up to leaving your apartment. Maybe you live in a fourth floor walk-up apartment – it happened to me.
So why have I never buckled and ordered food delivered to my door?
Again, emotional issues. I couldn’t handle the shame of having another adult carry food to my door. It’s my food. I take care of that just like I take care of the rest of my bodily functions. No other adults need intervene.
If I’m super sick or tired, I just eat a can of soup or something from the pantry. How many of you are reading this and ignoring perfectly good food at home while fantasizing about some avocado toast or something?
Seamless, an extremely popular app for food delivery, ran ads on the New York City subway saying it was a replacement for your mum, who the company seems to assume must have been lovingly cooking for you as you grew up in her home. Doesn’t that idea make you really sad?
“Oh sir, here you are, your $US19 bowl of ramen noodle soup I’ve carried across a cold and windy night to you that you may enjoy in bed in your underwear while watching ‘Rush Hour 3’ again,” I imagine a deliveryman might say to me.
I’d rather die.
What I do instead of use credit cards
I’ve only bought one thing on credit: An English degree from Georgia State University. You can read my writing yourself and decide whether or not that was a good investment.
Otherwise, everything else I’ve bought in my entire life has been with cash.
I understand that people can reap enormous benefits from using credit cards, but it’s a ridiculous game of points and deadlines that actually encourages you to spend more.
I just can’t imagine that somehow the credit card companies would be giving me money. It’s their full-time job to figure out how to make money on credit cards. I have 15 minutes a day to think about it, tops.
Because I’m not particularly rich, this means I’ve sometimes had to accept a lower standard of living. Ask anyone: I’ve lived in some truly awful apartments. Collectively, I’ve spent hours of my life in grocery store aisles wondering whether I could afford nicer toilet paper or to have hand soap and dish soap.
It’s not a big deal to me. I get that my apartments suck, my clothes aren’t cool, and I may not seem successful or smart or put-together to people on the street, but whatever.
I derive my happiness from interpersonal relationships and progress towards goals, mainly. Maybe I could save some money on an airline ticket (I notoriously favour bus travel) or a hotel (if I’m going somewhere where I don’t have friends or family to put me up, or there isn’t a cheap hostel accommodation, why am I going?) by using credit card points, but I’d rather not worry about it.
Why am I such a caveman?
Because I am. I live in the basements of the world. I toil over a hot stove. I walk in rain and heavy weather to the grocery store. I buy secondhand. I drag myself out of bed uncaffeinated day after day. Maybe I’m not like you, but we can still be friends.
You don’t have to do everything everyone else does. You don’t have to spend above your means to fit in. You can live in a poor place – most people do.
And that’s my point. Most people aren’t ordering their food hand-delivered or spending $US5 on a Starbucks-branded milkshake every day. Most people aren’t putting the newest iPhone on credit. To those people who need credit to get by, I salute them for keeping track of it all.
If you love your Starbucks milkshake and ramen noodle delivery, I’m glad. It’s hard to feel happy, so if spending a couple bucks does it for you, then bless you.
But don’t tell me you can’t live without your Starbucks or Seamless – you absolutely can.
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