YOU are Starbucks

Dear Guardedly Optimistic,

Thanks for sharing. You’re funny and I like you.


the Green Apron


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.


  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 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.