Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Frappuccino Enema Improves Customer Service

I have been living in New York for two and a half years now and I can distinctly feel my brain cleaving into two halves, the New York half and the Human half. Although, to be fair to the Big Apple, I wasn't exactly a friendly, trusting person before I moved here.

The exchange below took place between myself and a Starbucks employee yesterday morning. I am not a regular Starbucks customer, I go maybe once a week, maybe less frequently. Also, my former Starbucks (two blocks from office) closed down, so I've had to find a new Starbucks (two blocks from office but around a corner). I'd never seen this barista before in my life. The story here is not that this guy was friendly to me, but that I actively had to fight down my New York sensibility to say something smart-assed and cutting. But I did it, and though I was thoroughly bewildered, it got my morning off to a great start.

Scene: 8:45am Wednesday morning, a busy Midtown Starbucks with a line out the door. After waiting in line I step up to the next available register.

Cupcake: Hi, I'd like a grande ice coffee with room and ...
Mudslinger: You look really nice today.
Cupcake: Huh? internal New York dialogue: are my boobs hanging out?
Mudslinger: You're looking very pretty today.
C: No, I'm not. Okay, thank you. [pause] I'd like a ....
M: What can I get for you?
C: Yeah, I'd like grande ice coffee with room and a shot of carmel and ...
M: Can I recommend something?
C: what the hell is going on here? Yes, sure.
M: mmm, I don't have anything with carmel. How about a piece of the low-fat cinamon coffee cake?
C: do I look fat in this? Okay, great, I'll take that.
M: So, how has the work week been treating you?
C: Is this about the tip? I'll leave you a tip buddy. You can cut this crap. Good, my week has been fine. Um, how is your week going?
M: Good, I was off yesterday, can't complain about that. I saw the DaVinci Code.
C: [tries not to choke on tongue] Does this guy have me mistaken with someone else? Like, somone who cares? Oh yeah, how was it?
M: Good. Not great, but you know. It was pretty exciting. They changed a lot from the book. Did you read the book? [I just nodded my head dumbly]. I didn't think Tom Hanks was that great, but it's worth seeing. You should go see it.
C: I think I'm hallucinating. Please give me some coffee before I see butterflies swarm out of your ears. Okay, right, well maybe I'll check it out.
M: So, can I help you with anything else today?
C: Nope, I think now that the people standing behind me in line are foaming at the mouth we're about done here. No, that will be all thank you.
M: Okay, your total today is $4.84.

I fished out some extra change to put in the tip cup, but when I went to drop it in the jar, there was none. I thought about just leaving the change on the counter, but I didn't. "Okay, you have a wonderful day, now!" said the guy as I walked over to the drink bar.

Result: I smiled all the way into the office. I saw Der Man and told him, "I just had the craziest experience. I was at Starbucks, the line was a mile long and before I could order the guy behind the counter told me I looked good today..."

"Well," said Der Man, "You do look very nice today." I smiled more.

The kicker: dude got my order totally wrong.


AJWP said...

That poor barista. He was trying to create a Legendary Experience for you! And it seems to have worked, though not in the way he or his manager might have wished.

Joshua said...

My theory is-and not that you didn't look great, as I'm sure you did-but that he was a visting regional manager or the like.

Sometimes they work the counter and it's all a lot of fun to them slumming it, so they're in good moods.

Probably not. Either way, funny story.

Cupcake said...

That makes sense, maybe he couldn't receive tips because he was a visiting manager?

AJWP said...

Joshua's probably right--when our DM filled in at the bar, he tried to make us sing to the customers. See? Your experience could have been worse!

Lord of the Barnyard said...

I have always wondered how people who work in situations like that, the ones who serve constantly the people who have been waiting miserably in line, are often times ridiculously friendly.

is it because the happy banter, through trial-and-error, has has been proven to make customers less volatile?

Cupcake Queen said...

I think he was trying to hit on you!