The Green Apron Gives Medical Advice

Did you hear the one about the lady who came through the drive thru?

Seems like most of my posts are starting off in this vein, but hey, I spend a good chunk of my time in a drive thru window so perhaps it’s okay.

So, really, this lady came through the DT yesterday. She asks me how many shots come in a Venti latte (two). What about a Tall (one). How about a Grande…Is that like one and a half? (no, it’s two, just like the Venti). Well, I’m five foot four. How many shots do you think I can handle?

Stop.

Did someone just ask me to recommend a number of shots based on their size? Yes.

To her question, I reply: You shouldn’t be allowed to have caffeine. I’ve never actually conducted a weight/height to espresso ratio, but I think you’re probably safe with the Grande.

You will not pass go, you will not collect a hundred dollars.

Pro tip: For optimal results, never ever call your barista a “clucking witch” or anything similar. This will not endear her to your cause, especially if your cause is trying to pass a counterfeit bill.

Starbucks’ policy is to not accept payment with large bills. This shouldn’t come as a surprise- you’d be hard-pressed to find any fast food joint that’d let you buy tacos with a Benjamin. Even still, this policy has a tendency to annoy two types of people: Middle-aged white women driving large SUV’s and scammers. All others will reasonably attempt another form of payment or abandon their caffeinated cause.

I’ll discuss MAWWDLSUV’s another time, but for now, let’s talk about the scammer… This fella barrels through my DT with his young kid in the passenger seat when my sweet little barista sweetly informs him that we don’t accept $100’s. In response to this information, he yells out crowd favorites, such as “WHAT, DO Y’ALL NOT TAKE AMERICAN MONEY HERE?” and “JUST TAKE YOUR KEYS AND OPEN THAT LITTLE DRAWER AND GIVE ME SOME CHANGE!”  He then proceeds to call my barista an unflattering name and squeal off. Uh, buh bye.

After leaving my store, turns out he went to a nearby Starbucks (passing at least three banks, any of which would have gladly broken his bill) and tried to get them to take his AMERICAN MONEY, too. Can we say, red flag? When his request is denied there he proceeds to loudly cuss the ENTIRE STORE (in front of his child, who probably would have been better off unattended in a running vehicle). After loudly accusing every partner, every customer in line, and every customer in the store of being a CLUCKING WITCH  (or a MOTHER CLUCKER,  depending on the insultee’s gender), he storms out to take his business elsewhere. Again, buh bye.

All of that story to say, my Green Apron and I will do MANY things when asked kindly (or heck, even up to semi-rudely). I *might* even break a large bill or buy your coffee for you if I’m feeling benevolent and you don’t set off my inner scammer sensor (which is well-honed and toned). But call just one of my fellow Green Aprons a wordy dird and you’re not getting squat. (And when I say “you”, I mean that figuratively as I know that you you would never do such a thing).

Mind Reading 101

Just an average day over the drive-thru headset with a loveable customer.

Me: Hello! Welcome to Starbucks!

Confusion: HI! I WANT A TEA! WHATKINDOFTEAISITTHATILIKE? (Pause…..)

Me: Umm, dunno. Never seen you before. Would you like an iced tea or hot tea?

Confusion: IT COMES EITHER WAY! IT’S BERRY! BUT I WANT ICED.

Me: Okay, well we have a green tea, black tea, or passion tea that come iced.

Confusion: NO!

Confusion: IT’S BERRY!

Me: Ummm, maybe our Berry Blossom tea? It’s the only tea we have with “Berry”.

Confusion: NooooooooooooTHAT’S NOT IT.

Me: We have Orange Blossom, Calm, Passion, Refresh, Zen, Awake, Chai…

Confusion: CHAI!

Me: Oh, you want a Chai Tea?

Confusion: IT’S CALLED A BERRY CHAI! YEAH, I WANT THAT!

Me: I’m terribly sorry, ma’am, but the Berry Chai was a seasonal drink and we don’t have it anymore.

Confusion: REALLY? I LOVED the BERRY CHAI!!!!!!

Me: Well, you must not have been to see me in awhile because we haven’t had the Berry Chai in over a year.

Confusion: OH. WELL THAT’S BECAUSE I USUALLY DRINK THOSE FRAPP-UH-CHINOS WHEN I COME.

Me: Okay.

Confusion: WELL GIVE ME ONE OF THOSE MOCHA FRAPP-UH-CHINOS! WITH NO WHIP CREAM!

Me: Yes, ma’am. I’ll get that ready for you. Come on down to the window.

Confusion: I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T HAVE BERRY CHAIS NO MORE.

Confusion: DO YOU THINK THEY’LL BRING THOSE BERRY CHAIS BACK?

Me: Are we still having this conversation? I don’t know, but you can always go to the Starbucks website and let them know how much you love it and you’d like to see it again.

Confusion: Did you get NO WHIP CREAM ON THAT FRAPP-UH-CHINO?

Me: I’m not deaf. Yes, ma’am.

She finally came to the window and, believe it or not, she was still not finished discussing how wonderful the Berry Chai was, although she hadn’t attempted to order one in over a year. She also confirmed 2x more that I was not putting whip cream on her beverage. Check.

How Not to Get Hired at Starbucks, Part I

Welcome to the first tutorial in my series of How Not to Get Hired at Starbucks. Just think of me as your learning coach for the day and let’s get this journey started!

Today’s topic: Turning In An Application

Before you can be considered for employment, it is a MUST to turn in an application. Sounds easy, but you might be startled to find out how many would-be employees don’t understand the basic rules involved.

Here are some major pitfalls to avoid:

  1. It is never OK to turn in an application through the DT Window. If you cannot be bothered to get out of your car and walk in, chances are you cannot be bothered to be a good employee.
  2. Slightly less offensive, but still not OK is walking in but failing to get off your cell phone and dangling your application in my direction. If you cannot make eye contact or offer a basic greeting when meeting a potential employer, chances are you will not be able to deliver these courtesies to a customer.

Other minor errors in judgment that could lead to your application not getting the attention it deserves:

  1. Getting your mother to turn in an application on your behalf.
  2. Borrowing the store’s only pen* to fill out your application. (Be prepared with a writing utensil!)
  3. Forgetting to return the only pen* when you’ve finished.
  4. Dressing inappropriately (I realize “professional attire” is relative when it comes to a coffee shop, but it never bodes well for an applicant to be showing his/her underwear).
  5. Announcing that you “hate coffee but sure could use a job.”

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of scenarios to avoid but is definitely a good place to start. For our next lesson we’ll be discussing how to fill out an application. You won’t wanna miss it!

* I realize a store should always have multiple pens on hands, but sometimes they disappear and the One Pen Left Standing becomes as valuable as its weight in gold.

Drive-Thru Etiquette, Holiday Edition

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Actually, in the retail world, it’s been looking a lot like Christmas since early-October.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted Handy Drive-Thru Etiquette Guidelines or Helpful Follow-up Tips. Since the holidays seem to come with their own special set of challenges, I felt it important to offer you additional advice on how to make your coffee-drinking experiences a little merrier and bright.

Shall we?

Setting the stage/lane:

  1. Fact: The colder it gets, the more people will crave our warm beverages. This is not an evil marketing ploy to get more people in front of you in the DT lane.
  2. Fact: Perhaps it’s the generosity of the season, but people tend to purchase lots of extra beverages to take with them and share at their destination. This increased Treat to Driver ratio (TtD/r) affects your wait time. We’ll discuss tips on how to deal with this later.

Peppermint:

  1. I’m getting ready to share a big Starbucks secret. Are you ready? Here goes: We sell Peppermint Mochas ALL YEAR LONG. If you have ever doubted the effectiveness of marketing, you will shed said doubt when you realize that it takes us eleven months of off-season to work through a case of peppermint syrup, but feature that sprinkle-laden treat on a sign and we’ll go through a case a day! Hallelujah!
  2. That said, we may run out of peppermint for short periods during this blessed time of year. Please do not groan, shout, writhe, put your hands on your head, place an emergency phone-call for alternative beverage advice, or have a general freak-out. It’s just peppermint, folks.

Bulk Orders (a.k.a. TtD/r):

  1. For sake of ease, let’s define a Bulk Order as any purchase over $15 (of course, exceptions might include a cup of coffee and a Paul McCartney CD, which may be a bad idea, but is decidedly NOT a Bulk Order).
  2. While we can all agree that DT’s are extremely convenient, they are NOT an appropriate venue for Bulk Orders (that’s what our Cafe is for!). Bulk Orders might include (but are not limited to): 12 hot chocolates for the soccer team, 20 assorted pastries for your office, 2 coffee travelers for your meeting, 30 $5 gift cards for the teaching staff, etc.
  3. If you are foolish enough to order these items in the DT there is a high likelihood I will ask you to come into the Cafe anyway.
  4. If you are unfortunate enough to be behind someone with a Bulk Order, sorry, as your wait time will definitely increase. Suggested tips on dealing with longer waits due to Bulk Orders: Keep a magazine or book handy in your vehicle, purchase some VIA ready-brew so you can drink a cup of instant while waiting on the real stuff, play games or update your Facebook status on your iPhone.

Gift Cards:

  1. While we applaud your generosity (and patronizing our store), there are a couple of Customer Courtesy Tips to keep in mind when purchasing gift cards.
  2. CCT#1: For those wishing to purchase Bulk Orders of gift cards, please use the handy online order tool at Starbucks.com. They can ship them super-quick and you don’t have to wait in line for a long time. Win/win!
  3. CCT#2: Because only five of you read this blog, I know most of those who need to know about CCT#1 will stay uninformed. Spread the word!
  4. CCT#3: If you need to purchase more than, say, three gift cards, it’s a good idea to wait until after the morning rush to do so. Drivers tend to lose their holiday cheer if they have to wait behind someone activating a ton of gift cards.
  5. Speaking of drivers…

Kill Them (with Kindness, of course!):

  1. Holidays bring out the worst in people. I know I battle an occasional bout of homicidal rage when driving through a busy parking lot or navigating around clueless pedestrians.
  2. To minimize the likelihood of bloodshed and corresponding prison time, I would recommend: Practicing your yoga breathing, buying a cuppa for the person in line behind you (pay it forward!), engaging in a friendly manner with your harried barista, listening to soothing tunes (can we say Charlie Brown Christmas?), or just taking those few minutes you’re stuck in line to RELAX.
  3. Once you’ve finished relaxing, inhaling, and receiving your beverage at the DT window, proceed with utmost caution to the end of the DT lane. There’s a world full of idiot drivers beyond.

Peace be with you,
the green apron

* This blog in no way represents the True Feelings of Starbucks Coffee Co. I am merely a barista with strong opinions.