Headlines in “The Onion” are great fun. The parody site, formerly a parody newspaper, pokes fun at the little things we see every day with a knack for getting straight at the matter.
In response to Jeffrey Epstein’s jail-cell suicide that revealed there wasn’t much guarding going on, for example, “The Onion’s” story appeared under a headline that read, “Epstein Guards Placed On Disciplinary Leave For Allowing Selves To Be Distracted By Mischievous Monkey That Stole Key Ring.”
In July, after the Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to Houston, an “Onion” headline read: “Russell Westbrook Quietly Asks Rockets Team Doctor If He Needs To Make Free Throw To Pass Physical.”
You get the idea. My favorite Onion headline of all time appeared more than 20 years ago: “New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks.” That was a time when an intersection that had only three Starbucks meant then-CEO Howard Schultz was still bargaining over the Shell station on the fourth corner. Starbucks stores were popping up like dandelions on an unkempt lawn in those days, prompting one well-meaning business reporter to ask Schultz if he thought such rapid growth might saturate the market.
Schultz waited an incredulous beat before he said, “That’s the whole point.”
By 2017, the company had nearly accomplished that. BMO Capital Markets downgraded Starbucks’ stock that year, pointing out there was an average of 3.6 Starbucks within one mile of every Starbucks. New stores, BMO feared, were merely draining customers from existing stores. BMO was wrong; Starbucks’ stock was trading at $52 or so when that report came out; this week it was about $96. It never slid along the way.
That bit of retail history occurred to me as I sat at the stoplight at 15th and Broadway, looking at the lone Starbucks on the southwest corner. It is the only Starbucks at the intersection. Bucking the trend, there are no others within one mile. Edmond has only eight Starbucks, and four of them — Spring Creek Village, inside Super Target, on the UCO campus, and Second and Bauman – are in a cluster.
As I sat at the red light, my air conditioner running like Usain Bolt in a gallant effort to fend off the 102-degree afternoon, I had time to contemplate the other retailers. Surrounding the lone Starbucks at 15th and Broadway are six marijuana dispensaries, with a seventh just a block or so to the northwest.
Could it be? Do marijuana dispensaries outnumber the ubiquitous Starbucks in Edmond? Do they ever: There are more than nine dispensaries for every Starbucks; this week’s count is 74 to eight according to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and starbucks.com. That’s one dispensary for every 1,243 Edmond residents.
The OMMA’s Aug. 14 report listed 1,784 licensed dispensaries in Oklahoma, one marijuana store for every 2,209 Oklahomans. Statewide, there are 34 Starbucks. Perhaps that says something about Edmond’s proclivities, by which I strictly mean our levels of anxiety, epilepsy and glaucoma, and make no inference regarding possible illegal, recreational use. Still, it’s possible Edmond is getting high at a rate almost twice the state average.
That inspires imagination and all the headlines the writers at “The Onion” might have at the ready should they ever notice Edmond.
“Oklahoma town passes ordinance requiring Taco Bell to remain open round the clock.”
“Mayor’s proclamation names Doritos the official food of Edmond.”
“Ballot measure would end Daylight Saving Time; proponents claim everything lasts forever already.”
And we can’t be far from this: “New dispensary opens inside existing Edmond dispensary.”