Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Starbucks Effect

When you work from home, that "Third Place" takes on real meaning. So why is it that Starbuck's seems to be doing everything in their power to allienate me, a loyal two Tall Skim Cappucinos a day for five years, customer?
I knew that they were starting on a downward slide the moment that pastry case arrived. Sure, it's handy to be able to grab a bagel or scone when you are on your way to work, but have you ever stopped to TASTE that food?! BAD. Really bad. I got burned for the last time when I somehow convinced myself that a Pumpkin Muffin with Cream Cheese seemed like a good idea. Of course they had pictures of this Wonder Muffin on every flat service in the store, so they were selling me from the time I walked through the door. I've had food poisoning twice in my life and the Pumpkin Muffin takes a Third Place Honorary Mention for the havok it wreaked.

I saw a 60 Minutes interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and he spent a lot of time showing us around the Magical Lair where his workers create things like the Pomegranite Frappucinno and some Coconut Bananna thing which immediately reminded me of the Pumpkin Muffin so I was smart enough to steer clear of that. I believe he said that there are something like 150,00 different combinations of drink choices available. That's great, but is it NECESSARY? When the local barrista sees me on the corner, before I've even opened the door to the shop, he or she is already making my Tall Skim Cappucino. WHY? Because that is the drink I ALWAYS get. I'd bet that 90% of the people I see everyday at Starbuck's get the SAME drink each and every day. It's easier that way. I made my drink choice 5 years ago and for the most part, I'm stiking to it. The problem is that when the barristas are so busy trying to make that 1/2 Pomegranite 1/2 Bananna Coconut, extra ice, light whip, bubble lid, with jumbo straw SMOOTHIE it's cutting into their time and making it harder for them to give me what I came for; yummy, expensive coffee and a nice enough place to sip it.


Zenrob said...

haha - who drinks 1/2 Pomegranite 1/2 Bananna Coconut, extra ice, light whip, bubble lid, with jumbo straw smoothies anyway?

Great post!

Laura15SP said...

Hey Zenrob:
As you see I used a little 'poetic license' with this example. I've heard some pretty crazy drink requests though, my favorites are the 1/2 Caf. ones or the 'Extra Hot' ones or the ones that they request in a specific type of cup that is different from the cup you would normally expect. If I asked for my Tall Skim a Grande cup, for example, so I could add more milk or sugar or whip or something.

Marcos Lacerda said...

I only visit the US about 2 or 3 times an year, but I totally agree with you: about 5 years ago I made my choice: a simple Grande Mocha. And everytime I go to Starbucks I order the same one.
I do the same thing here in Brazil on the MacDonald´s CafĂ© stores, despite they have a couple of new combinations every month. :-)