Saturday, June 24, 2006

Breaking taboos at Starbucks



Real simple: There is this Starbucks that I go to on a regular basis. It is a drive-thru. I know the people who work there. There is a good vibe there. They know what vehicle I drive. They know who I roll with when I get coffee.

They have been training a new crew. There are some new faces around. Here was today's transaction at the drive-thru:

new guy: May I take your order?
me: Yes, I would like a grande Americano please.
new guy: Would you like room for cream or sugar?
me: Hell no!
new guy: Thankyou, I'll have your total for you at the window.

Initially, I thought that the stuff was funny. I was thinking that if I was a barista, I would appreciate such a deviation from the standard coffee purchasing protocol. Then, the more I thought about it, and the guy's response, I began to consider that maybe I had offended him.

This "offending" worm of an idea niggled in the back of my head as I pulled up, car length at a time, to the window. I fumbled through my wallet and pulled out my two bucks. A grande Americano is a buck ninety-five, you know.

I finally got to pull up. The window opened, and this kid was there. I had actually asked the kid a few days ago if I knew him from somewhere else. He convinced me that I didn't. The familiarity of our previous conversation was not in his eyes. This guy was on some business. He passed me my coffee, and I passed my bills. I had to ask him.

"Hey man, you weren't offended by what I said were you? I was only kidding."

He looked at me quizzically. Then another guy behind him came into my focus.

"I didn't take the order." The first kid told me, as he handed me my nickel change.

"No, I wasn't offended." said the kid behind him who had just come into view. There was a big smile on his face. I laughed out loud. A mix of nervousness and joy for hitting the mark. He laughed too.

I am considering saying something like "Your momma drinks milk and sugar" the next time.

Just kidding.