Some people would say that Carrie is making a big deal out of nothing. That she is being unnecessarily difficult on principle regarding something that isn’t all that important. Well, of course. This is The Consumerist. That’s our thing! Carrie’s battle was against Starbucks, and she fought against employees’ insistence that she give them her name with her order so they can misspell it on her cup. She declined, which threw the employees’ entire worldview into chaos.
At first, when you asked me my name, I was confused and taken aback. (I had not yet had my morning dose, you understand.) So I mumbled my name and stepped aside so the ever growing line of thirsty politicos could order theirs and go about plotting the downfall of something, political entity or other. Finally, with caffeine now in my system, I deliberated and I deemed myself miffed by the experience, but alas not enough so to avoid seeking out a convenient latte in the morning.
On the following day, I found myself in somewhat of a hurry. I’d just received a couple of urgent emails on my blackberry and I was expected in the office for a conference call. No worries, I thought, this should not take long…
Starbucks: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, grande soy latte, please. (See, I even used your lingo!)
That will be $5.14. May I have your name?
Me: Oh, uh, sure. Carrie.
Me: No. Carrie.
Starbucks: Oh, Carrie. Is that with a C or a K?
Me: No. C…a..
Me: No. C.a.r.r.i.e. (to all of your waiting behind me, you now know the spelling of my name. Aren’t you thrilled?)
I look at my watch and then at my blackberry.
Since there is no one else waiting for a latte, I grab mine as it is placed on the counter. C.e.a.r.i.e. Great.
While sipping my latte and listening in on a conference call that would be unaffected by my immediate death, I started to wonder what about this name thing made me uneasy… But I could not put my finger on it.
By Friday morning I had decided it was stupid, poor policy meant to portray a sense of community where no community existed. Annoying! I walked into my local Starbucks and took a stand.
Starbucks: May I have your name?
Me: I’d rather you not.
Starbucks: Oh, but I need it for the cup.
Me: I don’t think you need it.
Starbucks: Well, it’s Starbucks policy.
Me: It’s bad policy.
Starbucks: Well, can I have your initial?
Starbucks: Well, I need to put something on the cup.
Me: Why? Will you not serve me my coffee unless you write something on the cup?
Starbucks: Well, no.
Me: Then can I just have my coffee?
Starbucks: (looks left, looks right, oh shit there is no one to help me!) Okay.
As I leave the store with my unnamed beverage in hand, I can see the baristas tittering in a little group. Yes, I think, what a wonderful community. I feel so at home. (Actually, I feel more like I did when I was 15 and realized that the means girls weren’t so cool after all.)
When I take a swig of my soy latte and I am blasted with some repugnant, foreign, sweet nastiness I can’t help but think the whole thing ironic.
You see Starbucks, I have been going to the same store, where the same baristas have been serving me the same beverage for nearly two years, but they have never taken the time, initiative or interest in learning what I drink. And now they want to know my name.
What is it you are thinking? Oh, maybe they deliberately gave me the wrong drink? What? Cause I was a bitch? An annoyance? A bother or bad customer? Yes, go with that. That will help defend the name thing!
In parting, dear, overly sweet Starbucks, forget my name. Just give me what I pay for in a prompt, courteous manner and we can all go on our merry way. Okay?
Anonymous (’cause I wanna be at 8 a.m.!)
New corporate initiative? My local baristas stopped asking for and writing my name on my cups…even though I use a stored-value card and they know exactly what my name is. I got over it.