Starbucks Situation At 7am
All of you know that I’m an early into the office kind of guy. What’s great about being at your desk by 7:30am is that when you go to Starbucks while it is still dark out, there are relatively few lines, and when there are lines, it is usually business people getting coffee – not coffee drinks (if you recognize the difference). Its quick, its easy, and I’m on my way.
If I enter a Starbucks anytime after 7am, the game changes. It just does. Recognize and accept this folks! Frappachinos, Carmel Macchiatos, etc…they are all being ordered by girls going to school (doesn’t anyone eat breakfast anymore? And have coffee drinks replaced a pre-high-school smoke in the car to show rebellion against parents and teachers? I think so…) or females. I think Starbucks drink ordering really does break down a lot along gender lines. You’ll see a guy order a latte periodically, and that’s okay, but if he orders a Peppermint Mocha, he better also order a grande regular and sip that as he carries the Mocha to his car (carrying it home to the wife…)…or risk having his man card pulled and revoked.
Most of you also know that I’m not the biggest fan of children in the world. I used to barely tolerate some kids….now that I have Demetrius and Maya, I’ve come a long way…I can tolerate some kids now. That’s a joke, I really do like kids alot more now, but certain ones still drive me batty.
You also risk having parents with kids in line at Starbucks after 7am, and that’s just asking for your coffee to be spilled…but since I have my own now, I am less judgmental about these things – but still, if it is a weekday morning and we are in our nice work clothes (like I wear those to the office any more – I’m in technology!), please take your kid to Dunkin’ Donuts – it is suited for him or her with food and beverage choices of his her liking… and he and she won’t be surrounded by surly adults, like me at 7am, going into the office.
Finally in the set up of this posting, we all have our favorite Starbucks, even though there are seven stores located in a single strip mall now. We like walking in and having ‘our’ barista serve us our overly hot cuppa-joe, especially after a long run with Buddy and finally on my way to work at 6:45 am….
Well, at my Starbucks, at 7:10am this morning (I still made it to the office at 7:30am! No traffic on the 400…weird!), there was a line, and I groaned to myself when I walked in. In the line is a woman, I run into her periodically at this Starbucks after 7am, with her son….and being behind them is painful. She changes her order all the time, even after she’s been served what she originally ordered!, the kid is always ill behaved and I have actually seen him wipe his hand, after scarfing some scone, on a guy’s pant leg. Sure the Mom let him have it that time, but this is how it is every time I run into them at the Starbucks (about once a quarter of a year, I suspect).
Pretty much the same thing this morning, except Junior kept changing his order between donuts and scones. I’m fifth in line.
Dude with Blackberry: Can you move it? I’d like to place my order this morning.
Mom turns and shoots a look at the guy and says, “Excuse me! That’s plenty rude!”
Dude: No, you are rude. Every morning you treat this line like your own kitchen counter, and your kid needs a swift kick in his butt. Especially after yesterday.
Now, I really, really, really want to know what happened yesterday. I never found out. But this exchange had everyone in the little Starbucks/drive through store quiet. All you heard was the music playing on the speakers and the hissing steam of the espresso maker.
Mom: How dare you.
Dude: I dare, and it is time some one told you to move it, now will you place your order and pay so I can get my cup of coffee?
Manager (I think): That’s enough. He then turns to the guy working the register – “Everyone in line after this woman gets their coffee for free today.” (I’m the last guy in line! Cool!)
Mom: I’ve been coming to this Starbucks every day for two years, every morning. I cannot believe I am hearing this.
Manager (I think): And for two years you’ve been rude to my employees, thoughtless of anyone else in line, and it has gotten to a point where other customers are openly hostile in line waiting for coffee. These folks deserve their coffee as much as you deserve yours, and this morning, they deserve it a touch more.
She says absolutely nothing. Pays for her son’s pumpkin spice donut. Leaves. I get a Venti Zen tea (I should have gotten the works, but I like having my man card).
So what’s my take away here?
1 – The manager did a great job leaving the kid out of the conversation altogether. While this :30 heated exchange was going on, he (kid) kept pulling on his mom (he has to be at least 7 years old) telling her, “he wanted his donut now.” Nightmare kid, but if the Manager said ANYTHING about the kid – he steps over the line. Even with me.
Frankly, the kid is a nightmare because of his parents allowing him to be so. It’s not the Manager’s role to judge the kid, even though Dude with the Blackberry had no problem doing so. If he brings the kid into it, he probably is somewhere in the area where a letter to the district manager gets him in trouble, or fired. Demetrius has wandered behind the counter at this particular store before, etc…kids are just kids, to an extent. You gotta keep the kid out of it, even though he’s a big part of this altercation.
I would never want my kid(s) called out like that, so I respect the Manager keeping it among adults here. That’s either just plain great training on behalf of Starbucks, or this is a guy that understands how to make his point without crossing a line. Good for him if so, and good for Starbucks if that is part of their training.
2 – I’m just not grumpy when I’ve watched this Mom and son interact in line. Sometimes I think it is me and I’m overreacting to this behavior because its early and I want my tea or decaf coffee and to get on my way to work. Clearly, it’s not just me.
3 – The employees have been putting up with this behavior, and then angry customers behind and Mom and son for a good long while. Today… today was probably the last day this happens, without a huge screaming match. It was completely disarmed by the ‘coffee to the other customers’ reaction to her behavior.
I still want to know what happened yesterday!
I know my kids misbehave, I know there are plenty of days where we don’t order quickly, or change our order a number of times because all the donuts look so good we can’t make up our minds. That’s life with kids. But where is the line? I suspect the line is crossed at some point after two years of day after day of this, and other actions.
I’ve tried to be as thorough as laying this out as possible. Wondering what everyone else’s take is on this? I don’t feel a bit sorry for the Mom here, like I said, I bump into her at that Starbucks once every 90 days or son, and it is always that way. So I can’t imagine being behind her in line every third day or so…I wonder how many folks just go to the next Starbucks or a competitor down the street due to this? Who knows, at 7ish in the morning, it is all very subjective anyway…
What says you? Also, I don’t think this has to do with our autistic kids, this is more a ‘regular bad behavior’ thing (if Starbucks can’t understand that our kids can be ‘different’ due to the autistic condition, then we go somewhere else, that’s not what I want your feedback about….)
I guess what I want is, do you think the Manager was right or wrong? I’m in the ‘he’s handled this well’ camp….