Saturday, August 14th, 2021 Alive 18,372 days
Thereʼs a weird kind of hybrid bar -slash- epicurean bodega near my home called District Market that gives free coffee to cops and other essential workers. Thatʼs nice.
People make a lot of jokes about cops and doughnut shops thinking that itʼs nothing more than a lame stereotype, but few understand that thereʼs a historical reason for that association.
America used to be littered with all-night coffee shops. This was because people used to stay out later, as they didnʼt have much entertainment at home. People also used to work later because a lot of once-massive industries demanded it. And more people worked overnight shifts than they do now. Stopping at a coffee shop or a diner on the way home at 2am was a perfectly normal thing to do. People also used to work harder, so in some cities there were 24-hour cheap steak joints, but thatʼs a story for another time.
Because these coffee shops were open in the small hours, they were often the targets of criminals. A clever way to attract police officers to your late-night noshery in order to repel criminals was to offer the badged free coffee, and sometimes free doughnuts.
Whether District Market is giving away free coffee in lieu of paying for improved security doesnʼt really matter, because itʼs still a nice thing to do. And the whole notion of “free coffee” which used to be ubiquitous in American society has almost disappeared today.