Starbucks letter

To whomever it may concern: (A letter I sent to Starbucks).

I generally don’t give negative feedback, however, the people who work at the store on 7th and Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C. (which is across the street from where I work) are infamously rude to their patrons.

Usually, it’s just a blatant disregard for common courtesy. However, lately it’s been worse. For starters, they like to yell across the counter, making people feel like barnyard animals. And they will not take twenties. I understand this happening from time to time due to lack of change, however it happens often, perhaps planning better to avoid this would be a better technique? Another problem, which happened today as a matter of fact, was that they ran out of iced coffee. And the absurdity of this was nearly laughable. They had coffee, they had ice, but we were not able to order iced coffee. (I felt like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces). When I asked the cashier why they were out of iced coffee she merely answered,

I do not know. I am only a cashier.

I could go on an on about the rudeness spewing from this location, really. But I won’t bore you with the details. I will say this, however, that particular location is in a highly reputable area. They serve senators, congressmen, businessmen, tourists, people from all over the world. I should hope that a location with such a hi-level exposure would be a shining example of how a Starbucks would like to be recognized, and quite frankly, it is not. Contrary to the desired relaxation coupled with coffee shops, I leave there stressed out and annoyed. And lately, I have wondered why it is I keep returning.

Finally, I like Starbucks. I like their fair trade. I hear that Starbucks treats their employees fairly well, unlike many large franchises today. I hope something is done to fix this problem, because I rather enjoy the convenience and the coffee.

Thank you for reading,

Michele H__

(Either I don’t have enough to do, or I’m just a big bitch today. But I could resist, given the iced coffee and all).

19 Comments

  1. In that situation you really should do what I do and yell back. Seriously, playing the part of hostile customer is so much fun I can’t even stand it. Especially when provoked. For instance, “NO ICE COFFEE?” “I SEE THE ICE, I SEE THE COFFEE, I’LL WAIT!” “JUST POUR THE FUCKING COFFEE OVER SOME ICE” etc. Generally that is really effective.

    Once in a Starbucks, Kosta asked for a Mocha Chai Tea. And the guy was like “Mocha? In Tea?” and Kosta fired back with “Just Mocha dat shit up!”

    So good.

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  2. Starbucks in DC versus Starbucks in Seattle is like Fuddruckers vs. Olives. Yes, they both serve food, and that’s where the similarities end. I always thought that the key to running a successful chain was consistency across outlets. Guess not. I think the main reason Seattle Starbucks are better both customer service- and coffee-wise is because of the fierce competition from small independent coffee places.

    DC just doesn’t have that scale of competition to keep ol’ Starbucks on its toes.

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  3. you are never a big bitch.

    Those working in a service industry where they interact with the public should be trained and expected to be generally polite. I’m not saying they should kiss up, or tolerate a truly abusive customer when that happens on occasion. They need some good managers and some probationary observance, I’d say.

    With the unemployment rate higher than it’s been in, oh nine years, there are many sunny and resourceful (coffee + ice = hello!) people who could take their positions.

    I’m lucky enough to get 44 (small) or 83 (medium) cent coffee (that is crap) from my cafeteria. Quasi, an African immigrant who went from accountant to cashier, is my daily guru. He asks personal questions and shares insight that office mates of years haven’t.

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  4. seattle really does have the best coffee i’ve ever had EVERYWHERE! i was amazed, if i could handle the weather, that’s where i’d be. Are you in Seattle?

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  5. They’re awful down here. For real. Holy shit.

    Three of us sent mail today in hopes that something might change.

    The best was by far when some half-woman/half-man type person yelled at me from behind the counter

    “YOU WANT PASTRY?!”

    You really need to hear this as it sounded a lot like that scene in the Exorcist where Linda is telling Jesus to do obscene things to her. I had no idea what she/he said. And made the mistake on asking “Huh?” And again….

    We joke about that often here.

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  6. p.s. the people at Caribou Coffee are cool, for when you want real coffee.

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  7. i think i need to come visit. YEAH I FUCKING WANT PASTRY!

    also, in seattle i had coffee made with caffeinated water. so good. When i worked for MS they had good good coffee brewing all day for free. But other than that it was the worst job in the world.

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  8. i’ve acclimated to the rain, let’s go to Seattle!!

    if you want to be truly truly evil when they yell you can yell back “it’s really nice of starbucks to hire the hearing impaired! Does it help if I yell too!?”

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  9. seattle is a bit too, well a bit too seattle for me.

    i think portland is a better a seattle.

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  10. never been to either, but i hear portland is beautiful. :)

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  11. I went to Seattle once, came back with the worst sunburn I’ve ever had.

    So sometimes, I wonder if I was actually there…

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  12. honey, that wasn’t seattle – it was the Jersey Shore.

    yes, you were “down the shore”

    And as painful as your certain skin cancer will be, that sunburn gave you the cutest damned freckles on your thighs…

    as for coffee, be a cynic if you must, but i love the three dudes acting as baristas at tryst. mostly because they almost always have my large iced americano ready by the time I pay and always put the straw in for me. pretty good espresso there, too.

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  13. what’s there to by cynical about? I’m talking Starbucks, mister. Tryst rules, even if they’re sometimes slow, they’re politely slow. :]

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  14. The people that work at the Starbucks by me are rather entertaining, actually. During the morning rush, the barista starts fake crying when more people walk through the door. He also tries to tell every single person to have a great day, and he’ll say it different every time. “Enjoy your day.” “Have a good one.” “Rock on.” “Go for it.” It’s kind of cute.

    Of course I may be only catching him on his good day.

    The Starbucks at the mall, on the other hand, are a bunch of nasty self-involved evil little teenagers who actually talk on their cellphones while taking your order. I don’t go there anymore.

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  15. Cellphones? That’s ridiculous. My sister was telling me about something similar when she went to the movies. The girl at the counter did not say a SINGLE word the whole time. Not a greeting, not an acknowledgement of the order, not a total, not the amount of change. As soon as my sister was done, the chick starts laughing and giggling with the other teenage wastoids working at the counter.

    In this day and age of unemployment, I really wish management would insist on

    1.)better training their staff
    2.)better empowering their staff to handle crises
    3.)making proper customer service mandatory

    Because there are a lot of people to choose from who would be happy to work there instead.

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  16. Megami, I just had the exact conversation with a guy I work with. There are a number of folks who would rather have the job and probably treat everyone with due respect.

    And managment sets the tone. The woman working and managing Starbucks on 7th and Indiana is a mega bitch. So obviously it trickles down.

    They’re so rude, when I think about it, I get all worked up. So I’ll try and stop now.

    And think of the puppy I saw over lunch…

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  17. think puppies mihow :) i’ve ran into two golden retriever puppies in the past three days. i saw a boxer puppy too – too little to walk on a leash and kept falling asleept. it was all chubby and adorable.

    it makes me happy when the new dog owner allows strangers to pet their dog and take a minute or two and not get impatient. :)

    When a babydog sees you passing by and just assumes your are on this earth to love them (you know that little dog smile, head tilt?) I can’t resist and it makes my whole day.
    wow, i fucking babble about puppies. doh
    i may start a pets in the workplace movement.

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  18. I get all worked up too. And that’s exactly it…the employees take their cue from their immediate management. I’m sure head office would be less than thrilled to hear how their company is being represented.

    I’m sporting a head full of henna and I’m about to relax in the garage with a smoke and an ice water. So there.

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  19. Remember these stories?

    http://www.snopes.com/rumors/cool.htm

    http://www.snopes.com/rumors/starbuck.htm

    I suspect the head office is represented just fine.

    I think Starbucks is Microsoft. An uncaring company puts out a crappy product and then tries to crush smaller but better competitors while sitting back in the Seattle are and raking in the dough.

    [Sorry the addresses aren’t links. I’m clueless.]

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