Starbucks recently implemented a policy concerning the pace with which they process specialty drink orders. They now only allow a certain number of drink orders to be prepared at a time (Americans, Lattes, Cappuccinos..etc.). Their thinking is that coming into a Starbucks should be an experience and that by rushing the order not only is the drink compromised but the whole Starbucks experience is jeopardized because its all about fastness and not pausing to be in a coffee house and enjoy the break from your otherwise hectic day.
Kudos for attempting to get people to slow down and to regain control of the public’s perception of the Starbucks experience, but I think they might be pissing more people off in the process.
So, as I stood in line waiting for about 10 minutes to place my order (a tall, bold…nothing fancy), I got to thinking, if you are alone in line in a Starbucks, what do you do to pass the time?
My most recent visit took me back to a newly renovated Starbucks near my office. The line up was to the door and it was crazy. I first checked my Blackberry to see if I had any new emails…nothing. Checked Facebook…nothing new. Now what? Well, since the place was newly renovated I managed to pass the time by looking around to see what was new. Since I work in retail leasing, I paid close attention to the work that was done and how much it must have cost. That lasted all of 2 minutes. Then, I started to look at the people in line. Now I was right in the middle of the que…equal amounts of people in front and behind me. I was trying to get a read on their patience levels. The people in front of me were probably getting slightly annoyed now since we had been in line for some time. The people behind me were probably royally pissed because they came into the store to see a mob of people in front of them.
Then I started looking at the people in greater detail. Being a guy..of course I checked out the women first (Risa, my wife…if you were in line too, you know I would be looking at you and only you…but you weren’t there). Then I looked at the guys…seeing which were in “business mode” and how many of them were checking out the women just like me!
After waiting a while, I started getting annoyed. I began rehearsing the diatribe I was going to launch on the poor Barrista who was about to endure the wrath of me. I was going to say how frustrated and angry I am that I had to wait for a simple cup of coffee while all these coffee-snobs in front of me had to order their fancy “venti-skinny-extra hot-extra dry-one Splenda-two vanilla pump-double shot of espresso, latte”. All I wanted was a lousy cup of coffee and they (Starbucks) should have an express line for people like me, who want a simple cup of coffee…and how I am never coming back to this location and how I deserve a freebie for having me wait for so damn long and how I was going to prepare a letter to send to Howard Schultz the CEO of Starbucks….blah, blah, blah. I had it all planned out.
Finally, it was my turn. It was going to feel so good to “vent” (not “venti”).
“I’ll have a tall, bold to go, please”.