Monthly Archives: June 2012

Expectations pt. 1

I meant to write about this after it actually happened, but I am nothing if not a top-notch procrastinator. A few weeks ago I went to a downtown Starbucks and had a very stupid experience.

See, occasionally at Starbucks I need to remind staff to use the soy pitcher instead of the dairy pitcher for my soy frappucinos, since I have a serious dairy allergy – and I do it very politely. Every single time they have been happy to comply and switch the pitchers or reassure me that the soy pitcher will be used, and this is why I love Starbucks.

Not this time. The young lady behind the counter rolled her eyes and said “That’s the way we always do it.” When I said that I had seen some people using the dairy pitcher for soy drinks, she snapped back “Just because that’s the way they do it at other stores doesn’t mean that’s how we do it here.” Taken aback, I said that I was concerned because it was a life or death issue. Undeterred, she continued “Yes, and that’s the way employees are taught.” Then she turned to her coworker and muttered under her breath “It’s gonna be a looong day.”

Aaand I took my frappucino and went on my way. As soon as I left I realized I should’ve told this bitchy barista I didn’t want her attitude-laced beverage, but I am not at all confrontational. I hate causing a scene – this is something the chef wished I could get over because occasionally, to broach allergy concerns, you need to cause a scene.

Anyway, I called Starbucks customer service and they were very nice and sympathetic and gave me some free drink coupons and told me they would contact the regional/district managers about it. Then I called that Starbucks back and told Miss Attitude that if she couldn’t show the least bit of empathy toward her customers’ requests, she probably shouldn’t be a barista.

Hey. I get it. People with nutritional/allergy concerns can be kind of annoying to you. You need to double-check things. You need to make substitutions or leave something off or make sure something is extra clean. But it has so much more to do with the actual customer service aspect of it… Just be friendly. Reassure me that you will talk with the chef or double-check that you’re using the right pitcher. If you can’t accommodate me, that’s really okay, just let me know (tip: it’s much worse if you pretend you can accommodate me when, in reality, you can’t). I don’t need a lecture on your company policy; just tell me how you plan to make my frappucino safe. It doesn’t take much, honestly.


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