What’s the problem with Starbucks?

Unlike the popular vogue, I'm not a “Starbucks Basher”. As it turns out, I go to Starbucks only rarely (once or twice per year, perhaps), but Fumie likes them, and in any case, I recognize that they're successful because they provide something people want.

Not being a Starbucks Basher doesn't mean that I can't gripe about what seems (at least to me) to be a unique Starbucksism. Today at a Starbucks, Fumie found a seat with Anthony while I went to place our order. The following conversation took place between me and the Starbucks Drone (SD)....

Me:A small mocha please, and ....
SD:What size?
Me:small... not big
Me:The smallest size you have, whatever it's called.
Me:I don't know – you have various sizes – I'd like the smallest one that you sell.
SD:[looking remarkably flustered] Well, um, we have these sizes...
[he refers to a four-cup display that has no labels, and points to the 2nd smallest]
This is a “Tall”.
Me:No, this one [pointing to the smallest].
SD:Um, that's a “Short”.
Me:Well, okay, that's the smallest one, so that's what I want. I don't want to have to learn Latin to order a cup of coffee.
SD:Anything else?
Me:Yes, a large Vanilla Bean thingie
Me:[pointing] This one – this is the largest you sell
SD:[mumbling] That's a [insert name I can't remember]
Me:Okay, one of those.

I also ordered what I would call a “scone”, for which they had a very long name. In this case, I liked the long name, since I felt I was getting more for my $1.95.

The total was $7.90. I happened to have only a $50 bill on me, which I offered to the guy. I fully realize that bills greater than $20 are not common and likely to be rejected on general principles, so had he said “sorry, we don't accept bills larger than a $20”, I'd have been fine with it, but rather, he said...

SD:Um, I don't have change for a $50.
Me:(thinking) It's almost lunchtime at a busy Starbucks and you don't have two twenties and two ones?
(what I said) I'll see if my wife does....

She did, but still, sigh.


I should mention that on the way out, while fumbling with Anthony and our stuff, I dropped Fumie's half-filled mocha, which made a solid splat all over the place. I asked a (different) Starbucks Drone for some towels to clean it up, and not only did she cheerfully say that she'd clean it up, but while doing so offered a free replacement (which we declined – it's not their fault that I'm a fumblefingers). That was nice.

All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

I am enjoying reading your blogs.

I don’t like starbucks coffee, but it’s likely because the coffee tastes bitter to my palette.

I had a similar humorous exchange (humorous to me, at least) with a starbucks drone when I wanted an Iced Coffee (which they did not sell). I have forgotten much of the exchange, but I did eventually get a ‘medium’ sized cup of ‘plain old regular’ coffee and a cup of ice (no extra charge)! The reason for not selling iced coffee, I was told, (i’m paraphrasing) is that it would destroy the proprietary, distinct, subtle aroma and flavor of the coffee. It tasted fine to me. I put a lot of sugar in it (which I never do for hot coffee!).

— comment by Bill Souza on March 11th, 2007 at 9:12am JST (10 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I dont under stand what all the hoopla is about starbucks! the reason there coffee is bitter or has the that burnt taste is they over roast there beans. Different beans require different roast times. if you over roast the beans it brings all the oil out of the beans and they have that burnt taste because they are burned, which all of your Starbucks beans are. They also are high priced for the cost verses other gourmet coffee .

— comment by Dirk on April 5th, 2008 at 1:33pm JST (9 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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