We are all familiar with the Starbucks system. You place your order at the till, they call out your latte, or Americano, or whatever, the barista calls it back, you pay, and then you move down the line to the counter where your drink is waiting for pick-up. The system works very well, most of the time. When it breaks down, it breaks down.
This morning for instance, I entered my neighbourhood Starbucks and walked into a serious traffic jam.
I placed my order, "2 tall Americanos please," and took my spot in sequence behind a tall man wearing a strange earpiece, a middle aged lady wearing a faux fur coat and a young woman in pointy green heels.
The chaos started like this:
"Excuse me, I've been waiting for my drink for 10 minutes." Earpiece said.
The ditzy girl behind the counter looked at him blankly, "What did you have?" Turning to the pointy nosed gay guy behind the till, accusingly "Did you call it?"
Pointy nose harrumphed, "I called it."
Earpiece, in near panic, "A caramel something. Frappucino? Latte?"
For godsakes! He doesn't know! Ditzy girl starts crushing ice.
Earpiece turns to faux fur coat, "I think they're making the wrong drink."
Faux fur coat to ditzy Starbucks girl, "I think you're making the wrong drink for this gentleman."
Can the man not speak for himself?
"Yeah, it's supposed to be a warm drink." Earpiece says.
Pointy Nose says icily, "A frappucino is a coooold drink."
Intimidated, Earpiece says, "I'll just take whatever you're making there."
Is this man insane? It's below freezing outside, he paid $5.00 for a coffee, and he'll just take whatever they're making?!?
Frustrated, Ditzy Girl says, "I'll make you a caramel latte."
Earpiece says nervously, "Fine, fine, that's fine, whatever you make is fine."
Relieved, he finally picks up his coffee and we all move up 1 in the sequence.
Faux Fur leans over the counter, "is that drink for me?"
By this time, ditzy girl has been pulled off the espresso machine, and been replaced by Too Precious gay guy.
Huffily, Too Precious says, "The Tazo Chai latte, yes, I'm making it for you now."
Faux Fur, "It's just, I have a cab waiting, and I've been waiting all this time, and it's getting really expensive."
Is this woman crazy?! She's been waiting for 15 minutes for a Chai Latte with a cab fare running outside, and she's being nice. Now it's a $10 latte!
She picks up her drink, and rushes out the door. Pointy green shoes picks up her venti latte. No problem.
My turn! Finally! Hurray!
Too Precious puts 2 drinks on the counter, "2 tall decaf Americanos"
"These are not supposed to be decaf." I say without smiling. Precious sputters, "...oh....really..." and checks the labels, "Sorry. I'll make you new ones."
I glare at him.
Waving his hand around, "Can you get this lady a service coupon." Precious says.
Success! Free Starbucks!