Monday, March 12, 2007

why starbucks should fail

i enjoy coffee as much as the next girl. i have my beans delivered to my house, even. but i keep forgetting to grind those beans.

so for the last two months or so, i've been stopping by my neighborhood Starbucks for a medium vanilla latte. Every single morning. Same time. The same people wait on me. Every single day for eight weeks.

And every single day, they ask me what I'm drinking. Every day.

Here's the thing is that it might be nice if they just tried to guess. Even if they were wrong. It might be nice.

Here's the other thing is that every single day I bring in my own cup: a bright orange cup with a sticker of a horse on it. There's a fucking horse sticker on my cup. And nobody notices that I come every day.

It's not like they're completely aloof. This morning, the younger girl barista told me I looked like a movie star in my sunglasses. On Friday, the older lady barista told me she liked my hair in a ponytail and asked me if I was ready for spring. Christ, that same lady once asked me if I knew who won the Frontier Airlines Denver's Favorite Animal contest. "Ummmm, no..." I replied slowly. The customer behind me thought it might have been a penguin.

Every time I have to remind them at the register that it's a personal cup and I get a ten cents discount (whoo!). Today, the young girl barista was ringing me up and, as she rang up my order, I remind her that it was my own cup.

Personal cup, you mean?"
"Yes," I reply, "every single day."
"Oh, good for you!" she offers in mock enthusiasm.

Last week, the flamboyantly-friendly guy barista, after I paid, commanded for me to hold on a minute. He then reached into his tip canister, grabbed a dime, and exclaimed, "Oops! I forgot to give you your personal mug discount,"as he dropped the dime into my hand.

I think this began to officially annoy me on Thursday, after I went to my local hipster pizza place for the third time in two weeks. I walked in and, without even looking up, the guy behind the counter said, "Greek salad, right?" Three fucking visits and they know why I'm there. Because it's their job. And they didn't even try to upsell me, like they do every single morning at Starbucks. I don't want your crappy pastries, Starbucks. I don't even want your crappy coffee, it's just on the way and I keep forgetting to grind my beans. And when I get to the counter, and you say to me, "any pastries today?" and I say, "no thanks," do not accuse me with, "are you sure? I saw you looking in that pastry case." Yeah I was looking in your pastry case. What else am I going to look at while I stand in line? Shall I whip out my phone with defiant self-importance, confident that everybody in the entire store wants to hear my business at 7:30 in the morning (loudly, at that)?

I'm going to go grind me some coffee.

...although the masochist in me wants to go back to Starbucks for as long as it takes for them to remember my drink order. Or, at the very least, let me know that they know that I'm there every morning. I'm a regular, dammit! Notice me.

Music for morning people.mp3 Kid Koala
Fucking alone.mp3 Iggy Pop


Anonymous said...

After meeting you on Tuesday night at the "Star," as I affectionately refer to it as, I came home and almost immediately checked out your blog. When I logged on, the first piece I came across was your Starbucks tantrum! I thought it was one of the funniest things I have ever read, mainly because I completely relate to your issues. I am very conscientious about the coffee I drink too, though I frequently find myself at Starbucks in the morning, because I was too lazy or didn’t have enough time to grind my own beans and brew my own coffee. As a result, I inevitably have to deal with the annoying, overly-energized-for-eight-in-the-morning, baristas! Sure, they see many customers every day but certainly the human brain is capable of remembering a familiar face, among many unfamiliar ones. It must be twice as annoying when, every day, you bring in your own, unique cup. Every day, they take the cup from you as if it was the first time they had ever seen you. And to top it off, the ten cents discount is almost an insult!

The awesome, very old-world, Italian restaurant in my neighborhood knew my name within the first 2 or 3 visits and almost always knows me by the sound of my voice, when I place a to-go order over the phone. Before I even place my order, Tristin or Tierney have a good idea of what I am going to order. When I start to relay the details of the order, they interrupt me to confirm what need not be spoken – I want a Hot Italian Sub with a side of Mostaccioli, rather than straight spaghetti! I am proud to be a regular there and I always tip well, even if I pick up my order. I really enjoy supporting the local ma and pa operations in my neighborhood because it is important to keep small business alive. It also reminds me of my childhood as my parents always supported local, small business.

Well, the hour is getting late, and I must get to bed so I can get up in time for work. But, this M.O.T. would really enjoy talking with you more. You’ve got my e-mail, so write back!

Talk to you soon…

Anonymous said...

Before I get into how much I loathe Starbucks, lemme just say that Frontier Airline's Favorite Animal Campaign was awesome. I love those commercials. But the damn Penguins?! I was voting for Jack.

Anyway, about Starbucks. It's overpriced...There's always a line...They used to offer free internet, now they charge...And what really get's me is how they act all concerned about World Problems when it's all bullshit. Take their "Ethos water" scam, where they sell overpriced spring water for $1.85 - under the guise of "helping children around the world get clean water." They actually make a hefty profit on the water and donate a lousy nickel per bottle or "up to 10 million dollars in 5 years". Basically, this means that each of their 12,000 locations would have to donate just 45¢ a day. That's right - just 45 stinking cents! Need I remind you that these are the same people who have the audacity to put a Tip Cup by the register when you just paid $4 for a Mocha Frap!

Oh yeah, and then they do the whole "room for milk?" thing. I'm like, "Just fill it to the friggin' rim coffee boy, 'cause I'm paying out the ass for it." Then, for fun, I pour a bit into the trash 'cause I can. The nerve of them and their Tip Cup! Here's an idea: Why not DONATE THE DAMN TIPS to the poor kids. You'll raise more than 45 lousy cents a day. And if you're so concerned about clean drinking water, don't SELL the water - just SHIP it to the kids.

Now you know why it's called Star"BUCKS"


@rebeccaforever said...

my friend in nyc calls it FiveBucks, because you can't escape with a coffee for much less.

Their baristas seem to be the highest paid in the barista world. You think they'd be a little better trained, then. Even when there's four workers behind the counter, they can still freak out over a line six people deep as they break a sweat over the "morning rush".

I didn't get the Denver's Favorite Animal contest. It seemed so absurd. And a penguin? I'm sure if there had been a couple of likewise endearing movies recently revered, our "favorite animal" could have just as likely been a jackalope.