by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Comparing it to the mayhem during the much-publicized Hostess Twinkie production stoppage in 2012, south Elmhurst Jewel-Osco manager Tony Garza told reporters smoking cigarettes near the Redbox kiosk outside of the building’s front entrance on Thursday that Cook County residents continue to diminish the sweetened beverage supply in his store since a new tax hike took effect last month, resulting in a scarcity of sugary drinks that experts say are a dietary staple for most Elmhurst residents.
The penny-per-ounce tax – which went into effect in Cook County on August 1st – has brought hundreds of migrants from across the county border on a daily basis to save money on things like soda, ready-to-drink coffees, and energy drinks. The increase to the city’s tax revenue has left many local residents angry.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of grief from the customers about our low stock on sodas and other drinks,” said Garza, who stated that the typical complaints he receives from shoppers include expired food items on the shelves and the tendency of his grocery baggers to smile too little or too much at the customers. “It seems that every Elmhurst resident, butler, nanny and personal shopper in the store stops me to complain.”
While most residents reported an increase in anxiety due to the short supply of things like Sunny D, Gatorade, and alcohol mixers, other locals who deprive their families of sugar have been mostly unaffected by the increased number of foreigners seen throughout Elmhurst since the tax hike took effect.
“I do all my grocery shopping at Whole Foods because I love my children more than most people do,” said Garrett, waiting in line at the downtown Elmhurst Starbucks to order a Venti White Chocolate Mocha. “So as long as they just come to Jewels and leave again, I really don’t care.”
The Elmhurst City Council will discuss issuing temporary visas to soda shoppers from Cook County during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Beat Writer
NORTH ELMHURST – Reaching into his apron pocket to retrieve a pile of neatly-folded, biodegradable brown napkins with the names and phone numbers of women he has served at the new North Elmhurst Starbucks location, barista Chuck Stankey told reporters Tuesday that the adoration and gratitude he’s received from customers has made the last five days the most exciting time of his life and has him feeling “like a rock star”.
“I can’t believe how happy the locals are to have a Starbucks in their neighborhood”, said Stankey, a part-time employee who mostly works the morning shift. “I was eating a Monte Cristo over at Christopher’s Restaurant the other day when three good-looking women recognized me and asked if I would pose for pictures with them. They had yoga pants on and everything!”
Since its grand opening on Friday, the highly-anticipated York Street and Industrial Drive location has been immensely popular, with as many as 40 cars lined up daily at the drive-thru window before the coffee house opens at 5:00 a.m. Peak morning hours have seen vehicle lines extending out of the parking lot, creating bumper-to-bumper traffic both northbound and southbound on York Street, with the northbound line reportedly stretching as far as halfway up the York Street exit ramp from westbound I290.
“Men want to be me, and women want to be with me,” continued Stankey, who noted that he’s normally attracted to lifeguards and other baristas. “I had a guy tell me other day that he’d rather be me right now than Tom Brady.”
The only negative of his job thus far has been educating the locals on unfamiliar Starbucks product names, ordering protocol and lingo.
“I learned on my first day here that you can’t just suggest complicated drinks like a Triple Venti Half-Sweet Non-Fat Caramel Macchiato to North Elmhurst customers,” said Stankey, who acknowledged that many of them were struggling with even the simplest of terms like “bold” and “extra room”. “But as long as they keep treating me like a God, I’ll keep teaching them how to order.”