In my few years on earth so far I’ve managed to accomplish several things. I’ve successfully completed 16 years of schooling, graduated with a degree, and have even managed to land 2 successful big-kid jobs since then. All of my challenges in life are met with endurance and stride, and yet for the life of me I cannot competently order from the Starbucks menu.
I HATE the Starbucks rush hour experience. I hate it more than going to the doctor. At least at the doctor its usually uncrowded, and they tell you what to do. “Sign this, give me this, stand on this, open your mouth, stick out your arm, ok go home.” And all this happens in the span of 9 hours (even though its never crowded) so you have time to think out your next move.
Starbucks on the other hand is much, much different. Today was the “buy coffee, get a free pastry” coupon day, which created a morning line out the door. I hate standing in line but even more so at Starbucks because the entire time I have to sit there and rehearse what I’m going to say. The problem is, I don’t know the lingo. I only recently learned what “skinny” means and I am years away from getting anything with “half” in it. And to this day I am still plagued as to whether I should say drink or frappucino, or hot frappucino when I’m ordering a fancy sugar drink. So in my broken Starbucks language, today’s order of choice was a white chocolate mocha frappucino hot, venti, mmm with whipped cream, but can I have skim milk? But you can’t say that or else the crowd of patrons will throw you out with the day old scones. Ordering from Starbucks is a lot like twitter- you have to say it in 140 characters or less, and if you go over you’re cut off. Also, yes I know the irony of asking for skim milk when I’ve read the calorie contents of the whipped cream online, it’s kinda like ordering a big mac with extra large fries, and a diet coke. But it was a special coupon day so I figure if I’m breaking the diet might as well do it right.
So I’m standing in line trying to cut down “white chocolate mocha frappucino hot, venti, ummm whipped cream with skim milk” when the line is moving at a rapid pace. I’ve yet to read those marketing books on how Starbucks is such a successful business model, but I hope they have the secrets on how the hell they move the line so quickly so they can share it with turtle paced establishments, like the DMV or any place I try to go in a hurry so I don’t have to pay 9 quarters in parking. There were at least 15-20 people ahead of me and my whole experience lasted about 5 minutes from line standing to order taking to stealing a handful of straws and running past the order taker so she wouldn’t see (charge me $5 for coffee? I take all your straws).
Where was I? Oh yeah. So I’m standing in line trying to recite my order, but the line moves so fast that in nearly seconds I am in front of the order taker- better known as the “special needs order taker for the Starbucks challenged” who stands on the same side as you do in order to send your order via her headset. Every time I go there she looks at me with this kind, yet patronizing look that says, “woowww, you made it all the way to work today by yourself? good job! now what do you want in your sippy cup today?” and I always go into shock. I stammered- “uhhh, hotwhitefrappumochadrinkhotwhipventihotthing….hot.” And she kindly translates. Phew, she speaks first year Starbucks. But that doesn’t free me from having to repeat my order to the cashier, who looks at me with less sympathy and more “why don’t you try dunkin donuts, I hear they’re the coffee of the (dumb) people.” Why do I suffer this ungodly humiliation every once in a while, not only to see the faces of terror but also to break my diet? For one reason and one reason only: