Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Starbucks Nightmares And A Dream Come True

Every barista will tell you: there’s little worse than the inevitable Starbucks nightmares. Mine started two weeks into my training. Not to be boastful, but I picked up the training very quickly in comparison to the usual course of Barista 101. I attribute this fact to my amazingly dedicated learning coach, and the fact that the whole store jumped whole-heartedly into my training. As a result, I struggled very little with the process.

Except for those Caramel Macchiatos. I just couldn’t get them made correctly. This was ironic, because they have always been my favourite “go-to” drink. Lattes? Perfect. Cappuccinos? Foamy. Mochas? Well stirred. Americanos? Mellow. Caramel Macchiatos? Too heavy or too light. Arg!

As my certification loomed, the nightmares started: night after night I dreamt that I was making a tall Caramel Macchiato, and that it wouldn’t turn out correctly. I’d make them over and over and over and over in my dreams. Even when I mastered the drink in real life, my early struggles would still haunt my dreams. Time and time again the customer would send their Caramel Macchiato back over the bar- too foamy, not sweet enough, too much milk, too much espresso…these nightmare customers were impossible to please.

Finally, they stopped. For two years I’ve not dreamt about Starbucks at all.

That is, until last night.

I didn’t realize just how stressed I’ve been at work lately. Quasa is prowling around my district (for those of you unfamiliar with the company, imagine the harshest, meanest, most stringent health inspection you’ve ever heard of. Then quadruple it. That’s a general idea- it’s really terrifying.), we just totally rearranged our frappuccino station for the millionth time, the new wifi standards have resulted in a full cafe almost all of our open hours, our 1,000 piece weekly roasting plant order is now coming on Friday afternoon instead of Wednesday morning, one of our espresso machines keeps breaking down, our fire exit light is out and they don’t consider fixing that a “priority”, our Siren Sign won’t turn off (which makes it look like we are open all night), we have two new partners in the store, our food and milk delivery comes while we are still open for business, and Simphony continues to kick us in the rear ends. Little things, but taken all together they are super stressful.

The nightmares are weird.

I don’t remember much, but I do remember making frappuccinos on the hood of my car (please don’t ask). Much of the dream centered around unhappy customers, and my attempts to make them “enthusiastically satisfied.” The only thing worse than ornery customers in real life are those dream customers- you just can’t make them happy. In my dream, I was trapped at the bar for hour after hour making drinks, and not getting anything accomplished. Even my drinks were horrible. Silly non-real customers; not that my brain will accept that fact that they are figments of my own imagination….

I woke up as exhausted as if I had worked a six hour shift instead of sleeping safely in my bed for the past six hours. It’s just ridiculous!  My first thought was to have some chamomile tea before bed to calm my brain…but wait! That reminds me of Starbucks. Warm milk? Nope, that brings work to mind as well. Listen to music? No, I’m always haunted by the incessant repetition of our HearNow music selections. So, I’m open to ideas! Send them my way!

Okay, deep seriousity aside…I’ve got AWESOME news!

It’s a dream come true- you can now pay with your Starbucks iPod/iPhone/Blackberry app in corporate stores! Yay! I’ve been waiting over a year and a half for it, and now it’s here! (Still waiting for an Android App, if there happen to be any Starbucks Corporate people reading this. Pretty, pretty please?)

Wait, what?

You don’t know what I’m talking about?

Oh dear, dear….

I’ve only *just* started downloading the Blackberry App, so let’s talk iPod/iPhone. The App is free from the store, and looks like this on your homescreen:

Isn’t it cute? So, you download the app, and then sync it with your Starbucks.com account by signing in. You remember your username and password, right? Good!

Once you sign in, it will sync all the cards and reward information from your account. For example, here’s what my cute little designer minicard looks like on the app:

First off, it looks just like my card!!! *Squee* moment! Okay, coming back down. See my total? If you touch that you can refresh the card’s balance, reload the card, or see transaction history. The other buttons do cool things too, but let’s just focus on the the round button with the blue button that says “Touch to Pay.”

As you might have assumed, you touch this button. The card flips around, and shows you a barcode:

Sorry for the blurring, but I’ve got to protect my card! But you all get the idea. So, here’s how it works. You walk into Starbucks, place your order, and tell the barista you will be paying with a Starbucks card. You can then hold your iPod/iPhone under the scanner. It will beep once, and you’ve paid! Hit the “Touch When Done” button, and it will ditch the barcode, give you your pretty card picture again, and automatically refresh your balance.

You can also see how many stars away you are from your next free drink!

Is that cool or what?!?!?!?!?

Oh, and partners, register your partner card. You can scan it for your discount!

It’s genius!

There you have it: nightmares and dreams come true all in the same week. Here’s hoping for a quiet week- both at work and in my dreams!


Going For The Gold

While the elite athletes of the world were up in Canada winning gold medals, I was working on a more important gold award. That’s right folks, my Starbucks gold card came yesterday!

To earn this card, I had to make 30 swipes on my registered Starbucks cards. Yup, no problem. The new card is cute, but the International Space Station called last night to complain about the glare. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the pretty new card:


It is shiny! What’s even cuter than the card with the darling little stars is the card that brought it to me:

…where they wrote me a cute little note. Best of all, it comes with a free drink coupon!

So there you have it! Make sure that you don’t just throw away the note from Starbucks- you don’t want to miss out on every great benefit the new Gold Card Program has to offer. Happy star earning!

And remember, after reaching gold, every fifteen stars you get one of these in the mail:

Yes, this is all very exciting! Now, I’ve got to go get some coffee.

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How Rewarding!

Starbucks released a new rewards program two weeks ago, and understandably there is still some confusion on how it works. Therefore, I’m going to do my best to map it out here!

Firstly, the Starbucks Gold Card Program is no longer being sold. This card worked much like a Barnes and Noble membership- pay $25 to activate, and get 10% off all purchases, including sales and clearance. It was a nice program, and very popular.

The only problem was that Starbucks already had another rewards program going on. If you registered your Starbucks gift cards, then you would receive free syrup add ins, free soy/breve, two free hours of wi-fi daily, a free drink on your birthday, and a free tall drink when you purchased a pound of coffee. Depending on the drink you normally ordered (if you use soy or extra syrup especially), this was a better bargain than a straight 10% off. If you didn’t modify your drink much, or bought food/merchandise, then the Gold Card was better.

However, you could not combine the two programs. This was a problem. I can’t get into the details on how much of a problem, because no one has that much reading time. So, you have to take my word for it!

Now, here’s how to work the new reward program.

1. Grab a Starbucks card with money on it. Maybe it’s one you already use, one you got for Christmas, or maybe you need to go grab one from the local ‘bux. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here until you are ready.

2. Go to starbucks.com. If you don’t have a Starbucks.com account, then you need to make one (it’s free). If you have one, sign in.

3. Once you are in, register your card by entering the numbers from the back of it.

4. Voila! You are now in the rewards program! You will receive a coupon for a free drink on your birthday, and you get two free hours of wi-fi per day. It’s a beautiful thing.

5. Use the card for 5 transactions. Now, in addition to the other benefits, you will receive the free syrup add-ins, free breve/soy, etc.

6. Use the card 30 times, and you reach the gold level of the program. For every 15 uses, you will receive a coupon for a free drink. In the course of the year, an average customer will earn 6-10 drinks. Starbucks addicts will earn even more!

Hopefully this is a little helpful. As my manager wrote in a note to us, “There’s been a few kinks in this rollout”. Um, yeah- that’s one way of putting it.

See you at Starbucks soon!

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