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Why I Can No Longer Go To Starbucks

I have to admit that about 10 years ago I had a huge Starbucks (or “Sbux”) problem.  I couldn’t get on my commuter train, get past 3pm at the office, work past dinner, or work past midnight without a venti mocha latte.  Since those beverages averaged 500 calories a pop (including 180g of sugar), they had effectively replaced solid food in my life.  It had become my caloric intake from the day.  I was getting my daily protein solely from whole milk and whip crème…there was clearly something wrong with me…

 

But as always, things change.  I switched jobs, became a global apparel magnate and slowly came to my senses about Starbucks as a nutritional outlet…but also, and more relevant to this blog post…the general Starbucks experience has simply gone the way of the rush hour commute…

 

I’ve now reached a point where I will only go into a Starbucks if either it’s empty or I’m desperate.  For my daily caffeine buzz my home Keurig and the free crap at the office does just fine.  Why the about face change towards hanging out at Starbucks, you ask?  Well I’m happy to fill you in on why their overpriced offerings just aren’t worth walking into the store…

 

I can probably distill my views into the following categories:

 

  1. Make the beverage I asked for the way it comes
  2. Get my name right
  3. The people online at Sbux
  4. The people that are sitting in Sbux/camp out there all day
  5. People suck…and they shamelessly steal your Sbux beverage

 

Make the beverage I asked for the way it comes or change your menu…you can’t have it both ways

 

This has and always will be a pet peeve of mine.  Make the stupid drink the way you designed it.  Instead, Sbux has done the opposite.  They pre-emptively want to change their menu for you when you order, which makes me nuts.  My trophy example: the mocha latte…the mocha latter comes with whip crème – it’s self-evident if you are at a 3rd grade reading level and can read the menu board above you (hint: that requires taking your face out of your phone) – HOWEVER, EVERY time I would order this beverage I’d get a robotic Disney World-like response (NOTE: I despise Disney World), “would you like whip crème with that?...”…to which I’d smugly reply: “well, doesn’t it come with whip crème?...”…to which I’d get a defensive response of: “well sir, most people don’t want whip crème so I always ask…”…to which I’d quickly lose my patience and close the transaction with: “then you should change your offering where whip crème is NOT standard, and if BFD wants some whipping crème he’s gonna have to beg for it…OTHERWISE…kindly remind your patrons not to be morons and read the board!...”…not sure any of those verbatim exchanges ever altered the dynamic of the Sbux culture but it’s certainly symptomatic of the stupidity of Sbux Corporate, it’s employees and managers, and let’s not forget enabling its moronic patronage, the general public…

 

Get My Name Right

 

In an effort to avoid the awful social experiment of leaving freshly made beverages on a counter for the masses to self-assess (yes folks, this is a sh*tshow…there really are people who order there beverage, walk over to the barista bar where there are 20+ people waiting and think that tall latte that just got put on the counter belongs to them…I call them the coffee Nazis, who suffer from the grand delusion that everyone else must sit there in a state of catatonia while that person assumes the supreme role of “it’s my world and you’re all just living in it”…), Sbux adopted the “we’ll put your name on your cup” approach to a democratic system of matching orders with the ACTUAL people who ordered them in something that vaguely resembled the timing sequence in which those orders were made…survey said…(BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP)…EPIC FAIL…

 

For starters…my name is Dave (I don’t even bother with the barefoot part or BFD, 3 letters is even more disconcerting with the GED folks behind the counter trying to discern my plain English utterance of…wait for it…DAVE, like short for DAVID…I’m only the most famous of the Hebrew kings and the dude that slew Goliath with a slingshot…didn’t you learn this crap in school?...)…it’s not some polysyllabic indecipherable Russian or Asian name and yet every time I’d try to use my given name I’d get some aborted and offensive slight to my birth heritage…which over time just pissed me off…

 

Some of the famous Sbux misfires of….”Dave”: ‘Rave’, ‘Dana’, ‘Dayyve’, ‘Dive’, ‘Daze’, ‘Daisy’, and ‘Dei’ (I appreciate the god-like reference but it was clearly in error)…

 

So lest I lose hope, I changed my Sbux ordering name to ‘Yohan’ – see below for further musings on what an abject failure that became…

 

The People Online at Starbucks

 

Sitting online at Starbucks is like proactively choosing to invite the people you hate in life the most to arrive at your local Sbux five minutes before you do and systematically drive you to the point where you start to understand how someone could contemplate taking the life of another human being…

 

There are several main types.  One is the poor junior bastard from whatever company they work for (intern, secretary, etc.) who’s buying drinks for like 27 people and needs not just a carrying tray but a dolly to wheel the order out so you’re not really behind one person you’re behind 27…these people add 10-12 minutes to your day…Another type if the multi-tasker who is doing everything BUT figuring out what they want to order, such that when they finally reach the counter they are in a daze and I have to shout out loud something like “hi, welcome to starbucks, they serve coffee at the ones on planet earth, WTF do you feel like having today?...” – that typically refreshes their memory on like a “hard reset” basis and then finally they can order…those folks cost you anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes of your day… Another type is the guy or gal whose order is verbally longer than the Gettysburg Address…here’s a morbid example: “hi, I’ll have a grande iced (but not too much ice) triple shot, extra syrup, 127 degree, double pump, smack my @ss, lightly stirred, shaken upside down, strained with a stainless steel mesh, gently poured caramel macchiato…”…AYFKM?...Have you seen the people working at Sbux?  They stopped listening after “grande” you idiots…these wastes of human life cost you 9-11 minutes on line plus another 5-6 minutes waiting at the barista bar on the guaranteed re-order…

 

The People Sitting In Starbucks

 

Everyone sitting in a Sbux can be summarized as follows:

 

  1. The morning Pfizer sales rep meeting.  These people work out of their cars, expense their coffee (i.e., they’re not actually paying for it, Pfizer or the development costs of some experimental drug is), and make your life miserable by commandeering half of your local Sbux seating as their office space.  You can spot them monopolizing all available table space and jamming the line circa 830 AM every day…news flash sales reps…the rest of the world rents office space…it’s called Regus or WeWork or a cheaper competitor…either make use of that, or host laptop spreadsheet club at somebody’s sh*tty apartment or the public library.  People who actually are paying for their coffee might want a seat to read the morning paper…
  2. Somebody trying to find their Bumble or Tinder date.  There’s nothing more annoying than having some stranger walk up to you and say: “Are you Roger?...”…(while dressed at 730am like they’re going clubbing in the Meat Packing District of NYC…)…while you’re on line behind the people I’ve described above…”No, I’m actually Barefoot Dave, and I’m going to work…did I miss a memo or something?  Is it Halloween?  Who dresses like that at 730 in the morning?...do I look like I’m on Bumble?...do I look like my name is Roger?...did Roger tell you he would be wearing a blue pin striped bespoke suit?...are you heavily medicated?...do you plan on actually buying a Sbux beverage?...did someone pay you to mess with me today?...why are you blinking like that?...wait I think I see Roger…[she turns and I sprint out the door and across the highway to the train station]…”
  3. HS students.  When I was high school I had enough money in my pocket to buy a subway token ($.75) and a slice of pizza and a soda ($1.50 if on special).  But nowadays kids traipse into Sbux like they own the place like a herd of noisy cattle with their stupid iphones ringing or chiming or someone is sharing someone’s stupid video without headphones…HEY KIDS SHUT YOUR YAPPERS AND GO TO THE BAGEL STORE BEFORE I CALL YOUR PARENTS AND YOU’RE ALL SENT TO CHILD SERVICES!!!...holy crap…these kids can afford $6 coffee drinks every day?...and we wonder why kids are morbidly obese when they’re drinking 20 oz. macchiatos every day…Sbux is for adults not for kids…especially your infants and toddlers and other spoiled brats…but I digress
  4. People with nothing else to do all day who don’t have wifi…yes, it’s like those people at the sea wall in Pacific Beach, San Diego – you don’t know what trust fund they’ve tapped into but they’re always at your local Sbux - they always have food and drink, they hog all the remaining seats not taken by the Pfizer people, and then they sit there with their laptops, phones or tablets and suck all the available free-wifi out of your neighborhood…and they sit there ALL DAY…

 

People Suck And They Will Steal Your Beverage

 

The only thing crazier and more frustrating than navigating rich people at an open bar is watching people waiting for their drinks at Sbux.  In the days before the “we’ll intentionally write your name wrong on your cup” it was a veritable sh*tshow.  People just grabbing cups like they were filled with liquid gold.  Pure mayhem.  Just a bad social experiment.  As I said above, people literally thinking in the time it took to get their change at the register, all 37 drinks at the barista that still weren’t made were on hold while their beverage was made instantly…I mean, why not?...

 

But cup-naming was no help.  When I’m sitting there and my order would finally be served, I’d have to leap forward and grab it before some @sshole stepped in and snatched it.  Sample conversation…BFD: “excuse me, miss, is your name Dave?...”  Angry Woman: “No, but your cup doesn’t say Dave…”  BFD: “You’re right, it says “Rave” – is your name Rave?  At least this cup rhymes with my name – I can’t help it that the idiot at the register can’t comprehend how to properly spell ‘Dave’ or whose ears are so blown all from all the crap music they’re listening to that that’s the best they could do with ‘Dave’ – tell you what – you show me ID that says you’re name is ‘Rave’ and I’ll yield the beverage, apologize profusely, and pay for your drink…”  Angry Woman (scoffing): [silence…]…

 

So when I’d had enough of these interactions I started making up names to (1) mess with the Sbux employees and (2) mess with the other @sshole customers…some of my favorites:

 

  1. IP Daily (nothing better than my favorite barista at the World Financial Center shouting that out loud…I’d make her say it like 5 or 6 times just for effect…): “I PEE DAILY?!?!?!?...I PEE DAILY?!?!?...IS THERE A AYE PEE DAILY?!?!?!?....”  The Goldman Sachs crowd would be pissing themselves laughing as I finally jumped up like I had awoke from a coma and grabbed my beverage and then comforted her with a “don’t worry, we all pee daily…”
  2. Dick Burns – I’m assuming you get the picture – especially when the barista is a dude…
  3. Seymore Butts – lather, rinse, repeat…
  4. ComeOnIWannaLaya – classic – I bait the register girl into believing I’m part Cherokee Indian and that was my “Native American” tribal name…
  5. Yohan – I was a big fan of the kids cartoon ‘Hector Heathcote’ (colonial America) – when the register people would look at me funny I’d just say: “dude, I was born in the 70s and my parents did a lot of drugs, what do you want from me”  - I even got one of those hotel name tags with ‘Hello My Name Is’ so I could have ‘Yohan ID’ when I went to get my coffee…

 

Sadly even these ingenious schemes would fail because people are just flatly shameless and will just steal anyone’s drinks to not have to wait…SO…I finally saw hope when I got the email form corporate that the Starbucks APP on the iphone would actually allow you to pre-order from the Starbucks of your choice and you can pre-pay on the APP and just show up and pick it up…UNTIL I realized that they just put the pickup beverages next to all the others and so after the third time my drink was gone when I showed up I decided I was done with Starbucks…

 

Two final thoughts: (1) I still ask my wife to get me their chocolate covered almonds…they are to-die-for good, and (2) if Starbucks ever reverts to an ID system where you have to do a retinal, fingerprint or other body scan to prove your identity in relation to your beverage order, I will consider going back…until then it’s bulletproof coffee in my Keurig machine at home for BFD

 

Barefoot Dave

Lynbrook, USA Starbucks

April 16, 2016



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