Last semester, I went to The Daily Grind exactly once. I entered, waited for 20 minutes for my order, and then was immediately disappointed at the bland, bitter drink I received. Obviously, I did not return. Having shattered my expectations into millions of tiny pieces, the Grind became my Mordor: I never walked in.
Flash forward to this semester, when the Grind 2.0 emerged like a phoenix from the ashes of its former mediocrity. When I walked in, I was greeted by the familiar sights and sounds of Aromas; the assortment of packaged snacks, the eccentrically named lattes and the slightly overpriced sandwiches.
I mean, sure, there are aspects of the Grind that aren’t the greatest. Aromas coffee has the tendency to make your mouth taste like mulch for several hours after consumption. And I acknowledge that sometimes the music choices make me feel like an angsty eighth grader. Aromas still provides the one service I would give anything for: accepting Dining Dollars.
Why the old Daily Grind didn’t take Dining Dollars is one of the great mysteries of the College of William and Mary. Surrounded by other food options that accepted Flex, the Grind was a malignant tumor on our cashless college campus. Perhaps the 12 percent fee for accepting Flex was too high, or perhaps the Grind simply delighted in their aggressive deviation from the status quo. Either way, I was completely unwilling to spend real money, holding onto my cash for more important things, like vending machines and bribery.
Now that the Grind 2.0 accepts Flex, I am a loyal customer. I have forsaken the false god of Starbucks and the idolatry of the old Grind, and I now worship Aromas and Aromas alone.
I think of the Grind 2.0 as a metaphor for life. Sure, sometimes the menu is uninspiring, the endless repetition of sandwiches, bagels and cake dulling the senses to oblivion. But sometimes that’s reality; you do the best you can with limited resources. The coffee may be so bitter that it stains your taste buds for hours afterwards, but isn’t that just a metaphor for negative experiences impacting your life down the road? The sandwiches are overpriced, but so is the housing market. The music may be loud, but so is the influence of corporate greed in our political system. Hidden in the intricate idiosyncrasies of the Grind 2.0 are hundreds of life lessons, no doubt carefully curated by Aromas itself.
Thank you, Aromas. Your new brand of slightly superior mediocrity has shown me a lot about myself and the world. Not only does it now accept Flex, but the Grind 2.0 teaches you an important lesson: life is suffering.
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