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What's in Your IPO?

The bean counters vs. the Chipotlemat.

My freshman year of college was not going so well when my mother paid a visit. My attempts to write a column for the shitty school rag had blown up in my face like Peter North on an Asian, and it seemed my sophisticated new Connecticut acquaintances were not nearly as fond as I was of rolling full speed down the school's enormous central hill until they vomited. They also possessed no real zeal for harassing the campus's ubiquitous black squirrels, which was incredibly puzzling, because some of those squirrels existed in such a state of languid torpor -- due to their strict diet of starch-laden cafeteria trash -- that you could actually pick them up, dress them in doll's clothing and place them on your desk to distract a professor during a lecture. And they wouldn't even scamper!

Professor: "So you see, when Sam Peckinpah uproots the characters in the film from the western United States and takes them to Mexico, Mexico can be viewed as a metaphor for Vietnam due to implicit film restrictions against such social commentary in the early 1970s...Sweet Jesus, is that a squirrel dressed up like Raggedy Andy?"

Me: "They're Cabbage Patch Kids clothes."

Professor: "Mother of God, that fat bastard's barely even moving! And listen to that, is he actually wheezing?"

Me: "He eats too much grilled cheese."

I clearly wasn't fitting in, and to top it off, I was homesick. So when my mother asked if there was anything she could bring me, I told her to bring me Denver. She patiently explained that this was an impossible request and told me to ask for something else. I thought for a minute or two, and then it hit me.

"I would like two Chipotle burritos."

"Really?" my mother asked.

"Absolutely. Chicken burritos, black beans, mild salsa with a little bit of hot as well, cheese and sour cream."

My mother sweetly obliged and purchased two burritos made to my exact specifications, packed them in a cooler and delivered them to my dorm that evening. I sat on the floor of the hallway and devoured the first burrito in what I'm sure was record time, looking much like a squirrel wolfing down discarded grilled cheese. My hallmates watched in awe. All semester I'd been telling them about the magical giant burritos from my home state -- telling the people who allowed me to talk to them, anyway -- and they hadn't believed me.

Me: "I swear to God, burritos damn near as big as your head!"

Them: "Adam, just because it's a coed bathroom doesn't give you the right to walk in here naked and start ranting about burritos."

Me: "I doubt there's a man on earth who could eat two of those burritos! They're huge, I tell ya! Big as your head!"

My second burrito I graciously carved into bite-sized bits and served up to my hallmates as a peace offering. They were floored. Everyone enjoyed their first bite of my special Denver burrito, and I felt stately and satisfied in my first gesture as a Chipotle diplomat, a Chipotlemat. But my spreading of the Chipotle gospel like so much wet, hot butter over so many creamy, sumptuous muffins didn't stop there. No, sir. Whenever people from school came to Denver over Christmas break for a little skiing, or over summer break for some scorching-hot Rockies baseball, I'd ask them what they'd like to eat, then patently ignore their request and deliver them to Chipotle's doorstep. No one ever left unhappy. Because of my tireless efforts, word of Chipotle spread across the nation grassroots-style, like the Dave Matthews Band back in the day, back when they played decent stuff instead of the this-makes-elevator-music-sound-intriguing shit they churn out today.

Then last year I went to New York, and what did I find? Chipotle! And I wasn't jealous or defensive or smug about it, as you might think. I was happy for Chipotle. Put them everywhere! I don't care if McDonald's foots the bill; that guy Steve Ells is still CEO, and he's down with natural-raised meats and supporting local farmers and all that, and Chipotle isn't disgusting or super bad for you like the MacDo. Fuck it: Go forth and multiply, Chipotle. Put one on the moon.

But last week, Chipotle finally went too far. Chipotle unwrapped its IPO for the world, selling shares of the company on Wall Street, to an explosive response. Shares closed at $44 on the first day of trading, up from $22 that morning. Now, I have no problem with everyone involved in the Chipotle machine getting pay-your-way-out-of-fucking-a-teenager-rich off of this, but fellas, where's my share? How about a little taste for the original Chipotlemat, down from day one?

Get your boys crunching the numbers, Ells: If a pasty-faced kid starts spreading word of your delicious fare in the fall of 1998 to a school with 3,000 students, then keeps it up whenever out-of-towners visit for the rest of his life, surely he played an incredibly significant role in the growth of the Chipotle name. I had my boys here crunch the numbers, and by their estimation, I personally am responsible for over 760,000 burritos sold. No, you can't see the math. But it's obvious that I deserve a piece of the spoils. And I won't take no for an answer. But I will accept one free burrito instead. Ells, the choice is yours.

 
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