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Donkey Coffee, located on Washington Street, offers customers free deals if customers can complete a weekly challenge.

Donkey Coffee customers tap danced, wore lampshades and sang for free coffee

Singing, tap dancing or coming into the shop with a lampshade on one's head were all ways customers could receive a free drink at Donkey Coffee and Espresso.

Since early August, customers could come into Donkey Coffee, 17 W. Washington St., on Free Drink Monday to complete a certain task to win a drink of their choice.

Barista Cameron Fortin said two regular customers named Steve and Janet would come in almost every morning, but they left in July to go on a birdwatching trip in South America.

“They had 4,000 plus (reward points) on their Donkey (rewards) cards, so they decided to let us distribute those at our will,” Fortin, a senior studying anthropology, said.

The cards are a reward system with which customers get a point for each drink they purchase, excluding regular coffee. Once customers build up to 10 points, they can get a free drink of their choice.

Donkey Coffee’s first Free Drink Monday was Aug. 7, when customers could get a free drink of any kind or size if they came into the shop while wearing a lampshade on their head, Moira Snuffer, a barista and the social media manager of Donkey Coffee, said.

“We just wanted to do something interactive,” Snuffer, a senior studying sculpture, said. “We didn’t want to just hand out free drinks. People were always smiling and laughing while they were doing it. … It was just a lot of fun.”

Since then, customers have tap danced for 10 seconds, recited part of the Constitution, wrote short poems about Donkey, did an impression of someone famous and sang for 20 seconds to the person behind them in line.

Katie Campbell, a Donkey Coffee barista, said her favorite Free Drink Monday was when customers had to dance for 10 seconds.

“It’s nice to see people kind of break out of their shell a little bit and have to move around,” Campbell said.

Tyler Thress, a senior studying music, said he was in Donkey while they were making customers recite part of the Constitution for free coffee. He didn’t participate because he didn’t know any part of the Constitution, but he thought it was a clever idea.

“It’s a good way to keep forming a sense of community that Donkey has always fostered,” Thress said.

Most recently, on Oct. 2, customers had to draw a picture of a bird in order to win a free drink.

“We collected all those drawings people brought in, and we’re going to make a collage and give it to (Steve and Janet) as a thank you,” Fortin said.

Fortin said the Free Drink Mondays brought in new customers.

“There’s definitely faces I haven’t seen before when it happens,” Fortin said. “At least on those days, it brought in people who are not regular.”

Free Drink Mondays are finished now, but there is a possibility the offer could restart if the opportunity ever presents itself, Fortin said.

“We have a lot of regular customers who are really dedicated, and their point cards are very full,” Fortin said. “If someone’s feeling generous, they might go for it.”


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