Starbucks was once a place I avoided at all costs; my temporary occupation as a writer, though, has all but forced me to embrace the Seattle Satan in my everyday routine. It’s not all bad, it serves its purpose, and from time to time it’s a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Some aspects, however, I just can’t deal with.
The Impatient Barista
Here’s a typical exchange between myself and the green-aproned soul taking my order :
ME : “I’ll have a Grande Hazelnut Coffee…an-“
BARISTA : “Ok is that all?”
No, that is not all. You interrupted me, ironically, exactly as I was speaking the word ‘and’ to inform you – quite clearly – that another item was forthcoming as part of my order. Waiting more than seven milliseconds after hearing the first item in the order to see if there is a second is a courtesy most customers would appreciate, Speedy McMocha.
The Cream Allowance
BARISTA : “Leave room for cream at the top?”
You know what? No. I want you to not only leave no room for cream at the top, I want you to fill this 16 ounce cup so full of burning coffee that only the tenuous forces of surface tension keep it from cascading over the edges onto my unprotected hand.
I want it filled to the point that it is impossible to stir in cream, sugar, or any of the other dozen things you offer me to stir in at my own convenience without splashing coffee all over the counter.
I want product so completely engulfing this goddamn container that any turn, acceleration, deceleration, or rotation of the Earth will send java juice squirting out of the tiny sip hole in the lid and all over my cup holder, armrest, and trunk.
This is what I want – how did you know?!
ME : “I’ll have a Grande Hazelnut Coffee“
BARISTA : “Which roast would you like with that? We have a..” (continues with a detailed resume of every coffee bean in the store)
In the mere six words I have spoken to you to this point, you’ve been given two hints that I don’t give a shit which brew you use as the base of my beverage.
First, I said “coffee”, which is my linguistic indication of apathy and/or ignorance for the delicate nuances that separate a Pike Place from a Medium Blonde or Pale Ale or whatever the hell you have back there. Secondly, my brazen inclusion of Hazelnut syrup shots should be a strong indication I’m not a coffee purist.
It’s not always the staff’s fault that I want to douse everyone in the place with scalding tea water. Of all the egregious violators of common decency lurking on the public side of the counter, none are more annoyingly inconsiderate than The Spreader.
Listen, we’re all here to loiter – that’s a given. There are some implied rules to our shittiness, though. Primary among them is the concept of not taking up more than two people’s worth of space, in the form of one of the impossibly small round tables or their slightly more practical square brethren. When the store gets busy, you might even want to cut that back to (gasp!) only taking up one spot.
The Spreader has other plans. It doesn’t matter if the table they’re seated at was designed for two, four, six, or a small nation of people – they are using all of it. Determined to show how much surface area one can occupy with a laptop, cell phone, and two binders, The Spreader could give a fuck that you have nowhere to sit down and enjoy your breakfast sandwich; they have homework due tomorrow for their really, really important community college class, and you’re going to have to just stand there for now.