According to Wikipedia there are over 16,858 Starbucks in 50 countries, including over 11,000 in the United States alone. No wonder it seems as if there is a Starbucks on almost every corner. But all Starbucks are NOT created equal, as I learned the past week.
I was in Amarillo, Texas, and just happened to stop in at the Starbucks on S. Soncy Road around noon. I was a little taken back by the uncleanliness on the outside of the premises as I approached, seeing coffee stains on the sidewalk leading up to the building and a dark soiled pathway on the concrete leading into the front entrance. Maybe it had been too cold to power wash the exterior. I would soon find out.
I stepped up to the counter and ordered my usual. “I’ll take a soy mocha with non-dairy whipped cream. Vinti.”
“We don’t have non-dairy whip cream,” the lady taking my order quipped.
“You’re kidding me?” I gasped without even thinking, the words popping out of my mouth like an involuntary audible reflex reaction. Regaining my faculties, I remember thinking to myself that even McDonald’s probably offers non-dairy whipped cream, but keeping my thoughts to myself, I politely passed on the whipped cream answering, “I’ll just take it plain then.”
“That’ll be $5.25”
There were only a few customers inside the S. Soncy Starbucks, but the drive-thru appeared to have a pretty steady stream of traffic, so I had to wait awhile while my drink was prepared. I passed the time by watching the other clerk as she hurriedly filled orders. Whipping up exotic coffee drinks seemed to be the last thing in the entire world she wanted to be doing. I caught her eye once and smiled, but she remained ridged and looked right past my glance.
“Vinti soy mocha, no whip cream,” she hollered out as she sat my cup down hard on the customer pickup counter, and then while turning away, almost as an afterthought, tossed an unfolded cup sleeve onto the counter next to it and walked away.
I fought with the sleeve a moment, finally getting it unfolded and slid onto the hot cup. Off I went.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I pay over $5 for a cup of coffee, I like the sleeve put on the cup for me, like they do in every other Starbucks I’ve been in before or since. Lucky for me there is another Starbucks just a few blocks from there inside a Barnes & Noble Bookstore, because I will not be going back to the S. Soncy Starbucks.
Lucky for me there are… beaucoup Starbucks.