Starbuck's has been a major point of hypocrisy with me for the last year or so.
You see, I endeavour to patronize locally-owned shops whenever possible. There are some niches that no one locally will ever fill: Costco is one example. There are some exceptions to this rule: it's really more of a guideline than a rule. For example, I prefer to shop at Books A Million than Borders or Barnes and Noble, because Books A Million is not exactly "local", but it's regional---headquarters in Atlanta. But restaurants and coffee shops are always highly localizable, so I try to eat and drink at "Mama Someone-Or-Others House of Spaghetti" rather than Olive Garden or Carraba's.
Having said that, occasionally a company will sway my decision through their own incompetence. Books A Million, for example, messed up my discount card. I renewed it, but their online store won't acknowledge that, and refuses to give me my discounts. The brick-and-mortar location a mile from my house will, but they don't have nearly the selection of their online store.
Oops! I got tired of it and bought an Amazon Prime membership. We spend several hundred dollars a year on computer books (for work) and textbooks (for homeschool): it looks like the online portion of those dollars'll go to Amazon now...
Starbuck's is a place I love to hate. Not because of their coffee, but because of their pseudo-intellectual, wanna-be bohemian, "Oh look at me! I'm all liberal and politically correct" culture. You know the ones I mean: the people who dress like they can't afford new clothing, but they can pour down latte upon latte at $5 a pop. And they carry $2700 MacBooks. Those annoying people.
But I like Starbucks, because they make decent coffee. Not those stupid froo-froo coffee drinks (venti skim milk mocha latte, anyone?), but their coffee. You remember coffee? That black stuff people used to drink before someone decided it wasn't trendy enough?
So I have a love-hate relationship with Starbuck's. Or I did until last Monday.
I flat-out refuse to order in pseudo-Italian Starbucksese. I just won't do it. If I ask for a "really big dark coffee", I expect someone intelligent enough to actually make it to work in the morning ought to know what I want. How is "venti bold" better than "large dark coffee"?
Occasionally I get flak for it from the Starbuck's crew, but they usually smile. One woman frequently says "That's not on our menu", but gets me what I want anyhow.
I think it was Monday, it might have been Friday. But one way or the other, she crossed the line last visit, and I won't forget it soon.
I went into Starbuck's to get a coffee and a froo-froo drink for the guy I work for (not technically my boss: I'm contracting on this gig). I asked for "a large Sumatra and a large skim milk mocha latte with whipped cream". You can see I've already sacrificed my principles to order the froo-froo drink; a better woman would have smiled knowingly, acknowledging my concession to the man, while filling my order; happy in the knowledge she was winning.
But this woman, gave me a large coffee and a medium froo-froo drink!
I toyed with the idea that she just made a mistake, but her history of correcting my orders with a smug "that's not on the menu" is pretty damning. In the end, I had to conclude she's attempting to use classic conditioning to make me order in Starbucksese.
As an aside, I would expect Psych majors to get jobs at Starbuck's. I guess the Philosophy majors nabbed all the fast food jobs, so the Psych majors have resorted to Starbuck's...
At any rate, I have concluded they are attempting to use social engineering to make me order in their abominable pseudo-language.
Well, I will win. I paid for my order by draining my Starbuck's gift card, and unlike all previous occasions, I did not recharge it. I paid the balance (my gift card is running low) in cash.
So now that there's no gift card, I'm no longer tied to Starbuck's.
There are two nice locally-owned bakeries just a mile or so from my main customer's site (Nova Bakery and Marguerite's), and a locally-owned coffee shop (Smelly Cat) just two miles away. That's three locally-owned coffee sources, and they all let me order in English.
I think the local folks will appreciate my money a little more, and they certainly give me service every bit as good as Starbuck's.
This could be the start of some beautiful friendships.