Waco, TX-Carl Jordenson recently returned to his hometown after a stint in the military, a disappointing trip through community college, and a failed marriage. Growing up in Waco, Jordenson remembered the good ol’ boy feel of the town, his church, and his caffeine delivery companies. In high school, Jordenson remembered visiting the local Starbucks early mornings before class to pick up a solid cup of Joe and a small pastry. “I used to flirt with the cashier and get my caffeine fix at the same time. Things are different now,” says Jordenson, “it goes beyond just the physical remodel, updated decor, and the new chai drinks. There is just a slightly different feel to it. I don’t know what this country is coming to.” He is not alone in noticing the evolution that the town of 124,000 has experienced.
Onetime barista and current store manager ‘Chip’ agrees, “We had to move the counter back for safety and installed one of those sorting trash bins for paper and plastic. We added a new ice dispenser too. I actually like that. But the store lost a little something. I feel like we failed our customers, our town. I feel like we failed America.”
Some residents have complained that the new Starbucks has ruined Waco’s mid-2000’s charm. The quaint fear-of-terrorism driven commercialism that filled the busy downtown streets converted to flaccid, environmentally responsible commercialism. One lone passerby slurping a double Trenta Carmel Frapuiccino with whip quipped, “Everything changes, but by god, why do they have all these music CDs and sandwiches. I just want my coffee syrup type milkshake. What the hell kind of coffee is chai? Waco has lost something; we need our homogenized corporate fast food back to the way things used to be, like in the mid two thousands.”
Another resident noted that the McDonald’s on North Interstate 35 Frontage Road has converted to a Burger King. While complaints were minimal, an undercurrent of unease flows beneath the smiling faces of retail food drones. Corporate America is slightly changing.
Jordenson left his home town a little sad that the two-triple-aughts were gone. He remains steadfast and takes comfort in knowing that he will most probably become a Walmart greeter when his unemployment checks stop sometime in June.