September 20, 2007

Um, I'll have a...

How many times have you ordered coffee or latté at Starbucks. (Groan, not another Starbucks story). I watch people at Starbucks it's highly underrated as a people watching zone. Or maybe it's not and people just don't mention it. Everyone talks about people watching at the mall and at the airport. Not so much Starbucks. But it is. People approach the counter and belt out their order which is in turn belted out to the Barista who will serve your coffee.

If people are watching me, they might see that I approach the counter with trepidation and fear. Like a dyslexic approaches a book. The words come out in a mumbled rush. I usually have to order twice. Sometimes it's even three times that the counter partner doesn't know what I said. I don't have confidence in my order. My knowledge of coffee speak. "I'll have a Grande Mocha, two pumps, iced." It comes out in a rush, a low rumble that confuses people. Or I'll be so anxious about getting my order right that it comes out, "Iced, Grande Mocha." I can't write it how it sounds. It's that bad. But, I never seem to order the same drink the same way twice.

It's even worse when you add on the food. Oh. My. God. I have to order a blueberry muffin or a lemon bar. I never know when to order it. Before the coffee? After the coffee? Did I order right? Did they hear me? To make the negotiation easier, I have several Starbucks Cards. What a great tool to reduce the amount I have to communicate with the Counter Partner. It's not about words, but I don't have to count cash. I don't have to worry that I gave them the wrong amount. I don't have to worry that I'm holding up the line of people waiting for their coffee rush. I even fumble the card. Fuck.

Then I can snag my 'food' and go hover at the pick-up counter waiting for my order. I am the first one in line, could the little bag be for someone else? I also snatch at it. Mine. Mine. Mine. Triumphant that I escaped the ordeal without the Counter Partner sneering at me. "You stupid Fuck. Order your goddamn coffee and move along. There are other people waiting in line." They always smile.

Once in the back of the store, at the pick-up counter I can obsess a little more. Did it come yet? Did I miss it? Did someone get my order by mistake? Do I use the long straw or the short one? SHit. Ah, there is my coffee. She's making mine. Coffee, milk, stir, ice, lid, smile. "Iced Grande Mocha," she calls. I glance around furtively to make sure everyone in line in front of me has gotten their order and gone. I claim my prize. I pluck the straw from it's paper wrapper and stab it at the cross cut hole in the lid. It never goes in. Just one more sign of my ineptitude.

It always has too much chocolate. In my haste to spew the words out to order I always forget the two pumps part and the bitter chocolate overrides the flavor of the coffee. Freak. Get out. Leave before people point and laugh. Look at the jackass that doesn't understand how Starbucks works. Move along little doggy. You'll do better next time


At 2:07 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

I gave Starbucks a try. It was the worst tasting fucking coffee I've ever drank. Nasty-assed shit.

A funny and well written piece in spite of the fact you drink that yuppie swill.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger JLee said...

You can NEVER get too much chocolate ;)

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Think Frustrated said...

I agree about the chocolate. I want coffee, not candy. I like a little flavoring, but at Starbucks, they try to cover up the burned espresso taste with too much flavor.

I also obsess while waching them make my coffee. Is that mine? It's mine. She's going to say, Venti Soy Vanilla Latte. I saw her using soy milk. Shit. It was a machiatto.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Thérèse said...

I do so love the vanilla lattes.
And have no idea how to make one myself, so I have much respect.

As for the observational people-watching portion of it... well, it explains the number of writers who choose to do their writing there. ;)

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Lil Bit said...

Arrgh, all you need say is...
"Iced Grande, 2-pump mocha"
Then order the pastry.

Voila, a barista will be at your service. LOL =P

At 9:18 AM, Blogger jin said...

Haahaha! Well written.

I always have to repeat myself, even though I swear that I annunciate properly and speak slowly and loudly enough for them to understand me.

Maybe it's just a sick and twisted joke they play..."Let's see how many times I can get this jerk to repeat and/or screw up their order!"

p.s. Thanks for stopping by my place the other day! :-)

At 11:38 AM, Blogger Get Off My Lawn! said...

What I hate is the Italian lingo. They don't even use it in Italy because there's only one size. Its so pretentious, why do they make us use it? I refuse and ask for a "medium". It's like I'm speaking the foreiegn language. Everyone in the shop does a double take. Bastards.
Sorry. A bit vitriolic for a first visit.


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