The Many Faces of Starbucks

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It’s both a blessing and a curse that immediately next door to the building where I work is a Starbucks. This means I visit the green mermaid several times a week, spending both precious dollars and time worshiping at her fins.

But I’m not sorry. It’s a nice break in the day to lay down arms in email form and go next door to grab a cup of something nice.

So in my recent near daily adventures to the ‘bucks as I stand in line and observe, I have started to get a bead on the various faces of the customers of Starbucks.

Here’s my thoughts, in no particular order (feel free to add your own in the comments)

The Stalker – This person places their order and immediately moves to the pickup area. The Stalker doesn’t care if there were ten people ahead who ordered first and are still waiting, nope. They will set up camp right there at the edge of the pickup spot, blocking everyone else from grabbing their order when ready. Often they will have also ordered a pastry and they will stand there mouth breathing and chewing their petit vanilla scone like a cud while staring dully at the barista. At their worst, The Stalker will pick up and check each cup that comes out to see if it is their order. They do this even if the barista has called a name that isn’t their own. It is as if by sheer force of their will, they can turn the beverage into theirs, because they are the center of the universe.


The Can’t Be Bothered – This person places their order, pays the tab and then disappears. Their drink is made in due time and the barista calls their name or their drink order. No response. So the drink sits there getting cold (or warm, depending). And it sits. And sits. If it has whip cream on top, this starts to wither and ooze. The barista calls out the name or drink over and over and everyone looks at everyone wondering who the heck ordered this drink and won’t pick it up. No one really knows where The Can’t Be Bothered has wandered off to.


The Planner – This person orders their drink and then moves to the sweetener station where they grab their sugar packets, stirrer, coffee jacket, straw, napkins, etc. They stand there waiting with sugar packets pre-shaken down and ready to pour (in some cases already torn open). They look like special teams ready to take delivery of the pigskin, hands open and ready to receive. The very second the cup hits the countertop, bam, they are on it, sugar, stir, jacket, lid, booyah! And out.


The Conspiracy Theorist – This person has ordered a special drink for a special snowflake in a special way and they are convinced the barista will make a mistake. The barista sets the drink down, The Conspiracy Theorist swipes it up off the counter and looks at it in askance as though it will betray them at any moment. “Does this have four pumps?” they will ask, “Is this no foam?” or “did you heat this to exactly 230 degrees?”. The barista will nod and give affirmative answers through clenched teeth that try to make a smile but can’t quite. God help the barista who gets it wrong, “Oh, gosh, no, I forgot and only put three pumps. Let me fix that.” This just encourages The Conspiracy Theorist.


The Indecider – This person stands patiently in line, gets to the front, and doesn’t know what they want to order. They take something like twenty minutes just to decide what they want and then of course they use a gift card that doesn’t have enough money so then they dig around in pockets or purse or backpack for the 72 cents to pay off the rest of their tab. I often want to throw a dollar bill at them so they will just finish the heck up. Argh! And as they dawdle the line starts queuing up out the door and onto the sidewalk. Boo!


Ok, that’s only the beginning of my log of personality types at the ‘bucks. Much like Jane Goodall, I am out there living among them. I will continue to take notes as new classifications arise.




Ah, a stalker family!

Yes, I blurred that person’s face




Image found here.




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  • Ur Bro

    The indecider describes much of Asia. No matter what store it is, they have to ask fifteen questions, and change their mind four times before ordering…. This also happens at the X-ray machine in aiprport security where they take no action to get ready, until they reach the machine, then spend 30 minutes unloading stuff. When finally ready they invariably still have their phone in a pocket and have to go again.

    As a planner this behavior drives me completely bonkers.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Bro – Yeah, I agree with you on the x-ray machine thing, although the Asian version of TSA will actually HELP the person to get their crap onto the conveyor belt. “Do you have a phone in your pocket? Here’s another bin.” X-ray machine lines may move slowly, but they are more helpful. In the US the TSA can’t be arsed to help even if your hair was on fire.

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