I know there are a lot of Starbucks haters out there. And many of them have their reasons. As a former High School Punk Rock wannabe, I can relate to the intrinsic hatred of all things corporate. But, in a flash of not-so-unexpected irony, like many high-performing High School Punk Rock wannabe students, I ended up going to college and ending up as a cog in the working middle class. On a basic level I want to hate the corporations and "the man", but let's face it: to a lot of people, I am "the man".
All that aside, I've accepted that from time-to-time I will buy Starbucks coffee. I don't feel that bad about it either. As far as minimum-wage service jobs go, they take pretty good care of their employees. They have a good product - strong coffee. I still want to hate them, but here I am, twice a week, buying a coffee.
Starbucks is a pretty ridiculous place. There's a thousand of them. They are always pushing some offer on you. And the people there are so obviously commanded to make you feel like a Gen-Y-er - Everyone's a winner! Just believe you can do it, and it will happen!
But the thing that gets me the most is their cup-sizing convention. All I want is 16 goddamn ounces of their strongest, darkest, high-test coffee. 16 ounces happens to be the size of their middle-sized cup. But no, they have to call it "Grande" (which should really refer to the largest if you ask me, but no, that is Venti - I think - and what the hell does that mean?).
On top of silly cup-size names, every morning, they have 3 drip coffees on tap: a regular roast, a decaf, and a dark roast. Really, their dark roast is the same thing every morning, but they call it something different and moderately racist every day of the week - Komodo, Ivory Coast, West Philly Blend, etc.
As a regular customer, I expect I should be able to just get my coffee and get the hell out of there with no headache. But I refuse to go along with their naming convention. I order a medium dark roast every morning. And I feel a little guilty, as the employee is required to use the stupid naming convention. So the exchange is like this:
Me: "Medium dark roast, please [satisfied, subtle grin]."I am then barraged by offers for 1/2 off iced drinks after 4 p.m. This would normally annoy me, but typically I'm satisfied by my ordering victory - every day I successfully get my coffee without uttering a word of their pseudo-language.
Her: "Ok! [huge toothy smile] One Grande Burundi Kayanza coming up!"
Today was a little different. I ordered using the English language - one medium dark roast - only to see the Barista (???) pouring me a cup of the regular blend. I corrected her to say I'd like the dark roast, and she worked really hard to not drop the smile as she said "Anniversary blend? Ok." and grabbed a new cup. As she rang me up at the register, she stated, "Our default is the regular blend - Pike Place. If you want something else, you need to specify." I smiled and said, "Oh, ok!"
I was taking solace in the fact that at least Starbucks ruffles a few feathers by remaining staunchly anti-Christian.