Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

Testing, Testing, TRENTA!

Okay, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. A really, really, really long time. SUCH A LONG TIME.

But, it’s here. It’s finally, finally here.

I’ve held it in my hands. I’ve seen the labels. I’ve heard the news.

Trenta has come to my Starbucks.

What????? You don’t know what Trenta is???? It’s a 31 ounce cold cup for iced teas and iced coffees. For someone who can go through 3-4 venti iced teas per work shift or study session, it’s a dream come true!

It’s not as bad as you might think. It just looks like someone stttttrrrrrreeeeeetttttcccchhhhheeeeeddddd out a venti cup  a little bit. See? Look at the whole family together!

Tall Grande Venti Trenta!

I’m pretty excited. This particular rollout starts on the 18th (NEXT WEEK!!!), so check with your local store to see if you can try out the new size yourself. Happy drinking!

10 Comments »

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!

2 Comments »

Adding Some Flavour

So, Starbucks released new flavours for VIA this week: mocha, caramel, cinnamon spice, and vanilla.

Now, you all know that I’m not much of a VIA fan, but I’ll do my best! Everyone in our store agrees that mocha is the best, I really like the caramel in warm milk, the vanilla is *really* sweet, and the cinnamon spice needs to be over ice cream or in an apple pie. Whew!

Oh, and because I’m not good with VIA descriptions, please head over to Sarah’s blog and read all about her awesome VIA taste test. What else can I say about the new VIA?

Hmmmmmm….

Oh. I know. Guess who got to draw the chalk board? That’s right- ME! Check it out!

 

Look! I even did better on the Siren this time then I did on the Anniversary sign.

I don’t know who designed this sign, but I love how cute it is. Did you see the sparkles around the word “instant”?

Yeah, that was fun to do.

Okay, that’s enough Starbucks for the moment! Have you all tried the new VIA flavours? What did you think about them? Good thoughts or not-so-good thoughts, leave them in the comments!

6 Comments »

The Smell of Starbucks In the Fall

Ah, Fall. There’s nothing like it- crisp, cold air, riotous colours of leaves, pumpkins, apples, bonfires…yeah, I really don’t like Fall so that’s as poetic as I’m going to get.

However, I do love it anytime Starbucks decides to unveil new drinks and rollout new merchandise, so I’m excited about Fall. First, let’s start out looking at the new Starbucks products (for those of you too busy to notice or too far from a Starbucks to see the new goodies!).

(Quick note: I’m going to post these pretty small just to save room. Click to enlarge!)

First up: FOOD! Sorry that it’s a little blurry: I was so excited to see these that I was shaking!

YUMMY!!!!

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Now, check out our cute display tables:

This display took forever to set up- we had a little plexi mixup. But isn't it pretty?

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Decaf Espresso! Finally, a useful use for those beans!

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This table isn't quite set up properly, but you can get the gist.

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Now, let’s talk about tumblers:

Removable leather sleeve= bracelet for Emma. :)

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Emma wants. But it's metal, only 12 ounces, and $15. So, it's not going to happen.

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These...are kinda weird. The handles are suede. No really, suede. We aren't too sure about them....

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Sooo cool- that's burlap in there!

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Look at those pretty mugs on the rack! They are made in France, and are a lovely deep purple. I like these too!

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Our Anniversary Blend is wonderful this year! Really nice, bold, rounded flavours, subtle on the spice, and heavy on the syrup notes. It’s really a coffee you want in your home this fall.

Look! The siren is waving at you!

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Speaking of Anniversary, I got another chance to get my hands on the chalk markers and write up the limited edition coffee sign. Since all the signs in this promo are made to look like chalkboards, I tried to make my letters match.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well.

But anyway, here’s how it turned out:

This took me an hour. Please don't laugh!

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Yeah...I never claimed to be an artist, but I couldn't resist trying.

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We have new gift cards too! I’m in love with them- might get them just for fun.

Green Mugs!

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Wild Geese Flying....

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We are even promoting some of our new drinks!

Pumpkin Spice and Toffee Mocha

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Cute 'lil sign!

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So, let’s talk drinks for a minute!

Pumpkin Spice:

It’s back! This is not a drink I enjoy, but it is a perennial favourite with most of our customers. They want us to carry it all year long. I tell them that they will get sick of it!

You can have this drink many ways:

PSCR: Pumpkin Spice, no espresso

PSL: Pumpkin Spice Latte- hot or cold

PSF: Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

PSCF: Pumpkin Spice Creme Frappuccino (no coffee)

Too, try adding a few pumps of chai to it- you’ll make a Pumpkin Pie latte! Another thing I suggest is adding it to White Mocha; sweetens it up a bit.

Toffee Mocha:

TM: Toffee Mocha Latte

TMF: Toffee Mocha Frappuccino

TMCF: Toffee Mocha Creme Frappuccino (no coffee)

I like this syrup for making hot chocolates, personally. It’s a little less sweet than adding Toffee Nut syrup to our Mocha, and it’s creamier and butterier to boot. Just think about a melted Heath Bar…yum!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: IT’S BACK!

This is severely under-promoted, but our wonderful hot chocolate from two years ago has returned! Try it made with the Toffee Mocha syrup instead of the Mocha/Toffee Nut combo- it’s soooo much better! Love that topping- sweet and salty.

So, those are the most important things I can think to share with you all. Go see all this stuff in person when you can- the pictures don’t do it justice. Have a Happy Fall!

My cute, new, teeny-tiny teacup!

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8 Comments »

The Craziness at the Bottom of the Coffee Cup

Our store opened on an April 1st. In a way, I think that this explains the most fully just why we are insane. I frequently refer to our store as the biggest April Fool’s Day joke, and no one really argues with me. We, in short, are mad as March hatters…hares…hatters…oh, nevermind.

We’re crazy.

So are the customers.

So is the company.

Need proof? Oh, I can help with that! Let’s start on the partner level. Here are some of the crazy things we do!

Got Coffee?

First, I should explain what you are looking at. If your store has a warming oven, then you might have noticed that there’s a trash bin underneath, neatly hidden behind a drawer. The theory is that you put a large trash bag into the metal bin, and only use it for the paper and plastic waste associated with warming up sandwiches and pastries.

However, our store is crazy. Apparently, this particular day not only did someone decide to forgo the trash bag (issue #1), but they, for some unknown, mysterious purpose, decided to then dump a pound of coffee beans in the drawer.

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Yeah, not sure why.

What you may not be able to see is that this drawer is about 16 inches deep and 24 inches wide. This was no picnic to clean up- in fact, three of us just stood there for a good two minutes staring at, well, this.

Yeah. Moving on!

We love celebrations. We also love having a hierarchy of seniority. Since most of our store’s partners have been with the company 4+ years, this is usually based on age.

I was the youngest for a brief moment in time; now, there’s a partner younger than I! Yay! Thing is, it drives him nuts that I’m older, and that our birthdays are only 3 days apart (and that mine comes before his!). So, weeks beforehand we took over the main whiteboard, and this was the result (he’s a talented artist!):

The only problem is that this board is in full view of the customers…and we put our birthday messages up a month before the events took place. For some weird reason, this really confused the customers. Can’t imagine why….

Because, let’s face it: our customers are crazy too! We absolutely adore their crazy selves, and wouldn’t have it any other way. For example, look at how they tip us:

Stor-o-gami!

We know who did a few of them, but several of them just randomly showed up!

More Stor-o-gami!

See? They are nuts!

Okay, now we really start to have some fun! I feel that I must preface these remarks by assuring you, dear readers, that I have full permission to use this on the blog. I asked permission. Three times. In front of witnesses.

Ready?

Among our amazing regular customers, we have these two men that come in every day/night. One of them is a motion graphics artist, Steve. Jim works with the Census. He’s also quite talented in Kenjutsu. When I remember, I call him Sensei.

After this latest escapade, we have a new nickname for him; but there I go getting ahead of myself again!

They’ve become quite good buddies over the past few months, and when the two of them put their heads together…well it scares me just a lot. Suffice it to say that for a certain reason, Sensei is teaching Steve the art of Kenjutsu. At Starbucks. Right beside our store. In full view of all baristas, customers, and the highway that runs beside the store.

Did I get video of the first lesson? But of course! Enjoy!

I’m really proud of myself that you can barely hear me giggling. However, after seeing the videos Mum decided that we needed to call them Obi-Jim and Luke. I might have fallen on the floor laughing at that; but there’s no proof of that.

Speaking of proof, let’s wrap this up! For my last exhibit, I’d like to present proof that corporate is as nutty as we are. Ladies and gentlemen of the blog jury, I present Exhibit A:

There's got to be a better way to say this....

Okay, let’s not even talk about how “Until” lost its “i”. I’m sure that it’s a painful story with no bearing on this case. However, I do have to wonder exactly how we are supposed to follow these directions. I mean, I understand the intent, but they are asking the impossible. There is no way to take a loaf of lemon pound cake and instantly thaw it.

These directions are physically impossible. The defence rests!

Well, I think that’s quite enough fun for one post. Until next time, stay cool. No, I mean it! You aren’t allowed to thaw yet!!!

8 Comments »

The Extra Mile

Every Starbucks has at least one person like her. She says she’s homeless, she tells us that she lives with her goddaughters. She comes in to the store while she waits for the bus. The situation is enough to touch your heartstrings.

Until you are around for a while. Then, you begin to see a few disturbing things. She begs customers for money (something that we must forbid on Starbucks property, and she has been told many times that soliciting customers for money is not allowed). Then, she comes up to the registers and asks us for free pastries and free coffee. Not just asks, but begs. Then, she takes the money she begged from the customers (for coffee) and takes it to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. I’m not in any position to judge her life, but it is off-putting and disturbing to people who don’t like seeing their niceness used for a different purpose than they intended.

We really, really want to help her. Deep down, we all want to be generous. Unfortunately, it’s one of those situations where if you do one nice thing, then she expects more and more and more and more.

We haven’t seen her in a while, but the other day she came back. Instantly, she started in on us. First, she targeted me (she is good at figuring out who is the newest and least experienced). I’ve no authority to give out free merchandise, so I passed it off to my shift.

I’m a coward, I know.

My shift is a wonderful, soft-hearted, giving person. However, she knows the history and trends even better than I. She offered to look in our donation bin for some nice pastries, but that was all she could really do. My shift returned with several slices of coffee cake from the night before, neatly wrapped up.

The woman thanked her profusely, and went to sit down in a comfy chair. Coincidently, this chair was next to the table of the only other person sitting in the cafe. He’s a regular, and we figured he was safe from her begging seeing as how he was deeply embroiled in a cellphone conversation.

Within 5 seconds, the woman called across the cafe to my shift, asking for a plate and fork. My dear shift grabbed the requested items, and took them across the cafe to her.

Less than 20 seconds later, the man at the table gets up and comes to the counter, still on his cellphone. He usually comes in with a woman, so we assume that he’s getting ready to order her drink. He stares at the board for a minute, obviously perusing his options. Then, he orders a grande latte.

As any good barista should do, my shift asked if he wanted any flavouring in it. He shrugged at us, gave a little smile, and quietly said that he was getting for the woman in the chair.

My shift and I weren’t quite sure how to react. On one hand, it was really sweet of this guy to buy her a drink. On the other hand, 20 seconds to get a guy on a cellphone to buy her a pricey drink had to be a new record. We look at each other for a moment, and then shrug. My shift gets the milk steaming. I go back to mopping the floors. The customer looks at me, and holds out a $5 bill.

Here’s where I make my decision: if the customer wants to be nice, I’ll let him be nice. However, I’m not going to charge him for the drink. I smile at him and shake my head; I’d take care of it later when I got my food for my 30. He smiles back, then frowns a little. He continues to stand there.

I go back to scrubbing mats. My shift finishes the drink, and hands it to him. He once again tries to pay, but she tells him “no” as well.

Sweet man, he honestly wouldn’t take our no as an answer. He stood there insisting on paying until we rung him up. Then, he patiently fixed her drink up with sugar according to her specifications. Specifications, I might add, that she yelled at him from across the cafe. He even came back up a minute later to get her a spoon because she wanted one to “drink” her latte.

She left a little while later, leaving her plate, spoon, fork, and empty cup littered around the cafe. I never did hear her thank him for his care and consideration.

However, it blew me away. It was a sweet gesture, done quietly and without show. Not only did he reach out to this woman, but he did more than the minimum required by the situation. He could have gotten a tall; he bought a grande. He could have gotten plain coffee; he bought her first latte ever. He could have accepted our refusal to let him pay; but he paid anyway. He totally amazed me that day.

Our customers are, hands down, the best in the world.

I wish I could be more like that at work. I wish that I didn’t have to filter situations through a more jaded screen. I have no problem doing “x”, but I know that should I do “x”, next time there will be a loud demand for “x+y”. The next time, “x+y+z”, and so it goes.

But this one man, he’s not there enough to risk seeing her again for a long time. He reached out and touched her life that day, and I can only hope and pray that it made a difference to her.

It certainly had an impact on me.

2 Comments »

Sunday At Starbucks

It all started with getting up at 8:30 am on Father’s Day. Wait, let’s have a little more background first.

I’m not an overly complicated person; I simply know how I like things. Sometimes this means that I do things myself, so that they are done correctly. Other times, it means that I have to leave my final destination in the hands of others and navigate them as clearly and simply as is humanly possible.

Too, I’d like to preface my remarks with the acknowledgement that Sunday mornings at Starbucks can be horrendous. I’m aware of this fact, and always adjust my expectations accordingly. However, I’m also a good judge of what is busy, normal, and slow. Just so we’re clear.

Now, let’s try this again:

It all started with getting up at 8:30 am on Father’s Day. Dad’s choice for lunch was Olive Garden, which opens at 11 am. Thus, in order to get in at the first seating, we had to go to early service. (To be honest, Dad is an early bird who would always prefer to go to 9 am church. Mum and I are night owls. We compromise. Late service it is! But I digress….) So, I’m up early, dressed, make-up on, and I think I even found my right mind! It was a little Father’s Day miracle.

Church was wonderful. The great news is that we were finished with service by 10:15. The bad news is that we were done by 10:15. Olive Garden, if you remember, opens at 11. What to do, what to do?

Oh. How about running to Starbucks?

Hurt me.

So, off we toddle to the nearest Starbucks. Allow me to stress that THIS IS NOT MY STARBUCKS. We good? Okay!

Three of us have traditional orders: Iced Grande Sweetened Green Tea. Tall Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. Iced Venti No Classic Dark Cherry Green Tea Lemonade (it sounds harder than it is). Only one order requires any sort of special attention, so we started there. I needed to mark out 1/2 pound of Three Region Coffee before my benefit expired Sunday night. I’m here, let’s do it now. So, I grab my 1/2 pound and join my family in line.

Okay, this is not my Starbucks. However, I’m in here enough that all the baristas are (or should be, at least) familiar with me. Besides, my family is standing together as a group. Four of us. Just keep that in mind for later.

It’s our turn to order, and I take the ordering/paying lead for several reasons:

1. I’m the barista; it’s literally my job.

2. I’ve got the discount numbers.

3. It’s Father’s Day- no way Dad is paying for our drinks!

First things first. I hand my 1/2 pound to the barista (after smiling and saying hi), and tell her that it’s my markout. Once that’s taken care of, I ask her if she’d be willing to grind it (which they should offer anyway), and if she would brew me a pourover- tall in a grande cup.

For future reference, I’m looking to receive the middle-sized cup containing only the amount of liquid that would fit in the cup to the left. That’s what “tall in a grande” means. The cup to the right is called “venti.” There’s your barista lesson for the day! Oh, and remember what a venti looks like, okay?

Here’s where the visit begins to go awry:

Snag 1: This barista’s worked for the company longer than I have, and she looked at me blankly. Pour over? How does that go again? She looks at her shift, and asks him how to grind and measure for a pour over.

Snag 2: He looks at her as if she’s grown 3 heads. Pour over? Paper filter?

At this point I jump in: you grind for a cone filter. Ahhhhhhh; faces clear up, concern vanishes- this is doable!

Snag 3: Barista comes back. Do I know how much coffee to use? But of course.

Then she disappears. The shift disappears. She reappears. My coffee (bag and brewed) does not. Okay, we’ll give it some time. She hits total. I say I have more drinks. She takes my first drink order. She hits total. I tell her there are more drinks. She takes my next drink order. She hits total. I tell her there’s another drink order (anyone else remember that my family of four was with me? Okay, good.). She disappears. Shift reappears. Other baristas are bustling around. New barista comes on to the floor. My barista is still missing. Customers look at me like I’m the reason the line isn’t moving. I’ve my money in hand; where’s my barista?

Finally, she returns with cups. Crisis averted; I pay.

Vanilla Bean Frappuccino up!

Iced Sweetened Green Tea up!

Iced Dark Cherry Green Tea Lemonade up!

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No 3 Region- bag or brew. Shift won’t make eye contact. Register barista won’t make eye contact.

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I mozy to the other end of the bar, and visually locate their pour over. There’s the 3 Region; it’s done brewing, all ready to go. Two steps behind the counter, and it could be mine! But I’m nicer than that. I continue to wait for my coffee.

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Now, granted there was a steady stream of customers, but nothing this store can’t handle. For goodness sake, our store could handle this level of business with 2 people, and they have 6!

Still, I wait patiently (in view of the baristas in hopes of giving a visual cue to them.)

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I finally give up. I go over to the family’s table, slump over, and beg Dad to go ask for the brewed coffee. He comes back with….

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a full Venti. Pop quiz: does anyone here remember what I requested? Yes, that’s right; a tall in a grande cup.

*facepalm*

I’m angry at this point. Incensed. All I wanted was a little bit of coffee brewed, coffee which I provided. Did they listen? They did not.

I still don’t have my 1/2 pound of coffee back.

We sit for a while in the cafe, because believe it or not we did still have a bit of time left to kill. As we left, I went over (business is dead now), and asked the barista if I could get the rest of my markout that they didn’t brew. She blinks; she doesn’t know where it went.

I ask the shift; he looks at me like I’m trying to cheat the company. Ummm, he guesses that would be okay. (Remember, this is MY coffee benefit that I earned, paid for with MY numbers. I’m really not cheating at all- the coffee belongs to ME.) He pours the ground coffee into my bag, and I finally escape.

Annoyed.

Very, very annoyed.

This is the kind of Starbucks experience that gives Starbucks a bad name; this is what some people think of when they hear the word “barista.”

It’s sad, to say the least. No star skills were showing ; there wasn’t even the common courtesy of assuming that a fellow partner knows what she’s talking about when she asks for a certain brew. Lest you all think that I was being a pain, allow me to remind you that nothing here was complicated: they chose to make it complicated. I think I was nice too; I waited patiently, I tipped them, and I used my best manners. I even complimented them on their hand-drawn signage.

So, sheesh.

I’d like to take a minute to personally apologise to anyone for whom this is a “typical” Starbucks experience. If I found it frustrating (and I understand Starbucks), how much more maddening must it be for you all?

There’s a simple solution here: everyone in the world should come to my Starbucks when I’m working. I’ll treat you all correctly!

13 Comments »

Breaking News!

Starbucks to offer free, unlimited wifi starting in July! Apparently, those silly people don’t read my blog at all. Let’s review why this is a bad, bad, horrible idea:

1. Starbucks card sales will drop. Let’s face it, the real perk is the free wifi. No one really cares about syrup and milk. Birthday drinks/free drinks, yes, but wifi is the big draw.

2. Many much people sitting in the cafe without buying anything. Ummmm, dearest Corporate, our stores are small. We have 9 tables, total. Free loading laptop users like a table per laptop. We have lots of regulars. Where are they supposed to sit??????

3. Quality. It’s just not gonna stay good. Which is the pits, because I was hoping to break free of my room senior year and get to Starbucks to study. That’s not going to happen if I can’t rely on the wifi signal. Bummer.

4. Speaking of college; how ’bout those poor college students? Think they will buy a drink before homesteading all day by the laptop? Nope, not a chance.

5. Forget about being the “third place”, an “extension of your living room.” We will rename our cafe “Where business people come to hold meetings where they take up tables for hours without buying anything talk loudly and leave trash everywhere because they don’t have a proper office.” I think it’s catchy, don’t you?

Okay, readers, open forum. Thoughts, input, good or bad. Can you convince me that this is good for the company? Have at it!

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“Free Wifi”

Scene: Starbucks

Time: Inconvenient

Characters: Barista (me), Random Person, Laptop, Starbucks Card

Setting: Cafe is fullish, there are several customers waiting for their drinks.

RP: *walks into the store with laptop bag. Finds a table, drags three chairs into the “perfect position”, sits down. Pulls out laptop. Does not make purchase. Turns on laptop. Does not make purchase. Opens web browser. Does not make purchase. Attempts to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Fails to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Attempts once more to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Discovers AT&T login screen. Does not make purchase. Tries to log-in and fails. Does not make purchase. Approaches register. Does not make purchase.*

Barista: Hi there, can we help you today?

RP: Yeah, what’s the deal with your wifi? Do I, like, need a code or something?

Barista: It’s actually kept a paid service here. You can purchase a pass from AT&T using a credit card, or you can load a Starbucks card with $5, register it in-store (this takes only 2 minutes), and get 2 free hours of wifi a day.

RP: So it’s not free?

Barista: Technically no, but if you do the Starbucks card option, that money is still yours to spend here at the store so you aren’t actually paying for the wifi. It’s like getting it for free, plus getting the other Starbucks card reward benefits.

RP: *Returns to table, slams laptop closed, walks out. Does not make purchase.*

***End Scene***

I’m not exaggerating (much) when I say that this scene plays out in our cafe at least twice a shift- sometimes more often. There is a massive outcry from customers for Starbucks to provide free wifi, but I think it’s a bad idea. Here are a few reasons why I think Starbucks should never go to limitless, free wifi:

1. It’s a marketing gimmick to get people to stay longer at your store. Starbucks already has a solid base of homesteaders; we don’t need anymore people setting up camp. When we have a cafe full of free-loading computer geeks, then our regulars don’t have anywhere to sit. Let’s face it; we *heart* our regulars.

2. It’s expensive to pay for high-quality, limitless wifi. Should this happen, quality is going to drop and people will be complaining about that instead of price. At least now you have little chance of being kick off the network.

3. We will lose a LOT of business should we go to free wifi. People won’t ever feel like making a purchase, and they will keep our paying regulars from having a “third place” environment.

There you have it, my thoughts on free, limitless wifi. What are yours; good, bad, helpful, harmful? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Frappyhour

This Tuesday was the official rollout of Starbucks’ new however-you-want-it frappuccino. Many customers have asked us just what is different about the new process, so here we go!

The old recipe used to be 3 steps: dispense based (creme or coffee), add in syrups, add in ice and blend. The only problem was that we were pretty much limited when it came to special dietary needs. We couldn’t use soy or be vegan, for example. So, Starbucks broke it down for us.

If you want coffee, we put that in first- we can even make it decaf! Then, we put in any milk you want: soy, non-fat, 1%, 2%, whole, breve, heavy whipping cream, anything! If you want flavouring we put that in next- any syrup, any add-ins, any combination. The last ingredient we put in is the magic; it’s a thick binding liquid that gives it that great consistency and frappuccino taste.

Okay, now for the fun stuff! Because our normal store artist wasn’t working the night before rollout, yours truly had the opportunity to do the store’s main chalkboard. That’s right- my first promo board! My District Manager even complimented our Store Manager on it.

Here are some of the first pictures- I’m hoping to get some better ones of the updated board. Yes, I tweaked. How could I not?

I’ll post some more pictures soon!

So, now to the explanation of this blog title. Starting yesterday, and running through May 16th, you can come in from 3-5 pm and get any frappuccino in any size for half off! Mum and Dad came in to visit during “happy hour” and Dad called it, “frappy hour.” Now, it stuck (and it’s part of the improvements I made to the board).

As a last note, we have new coffee gear! We love our cute, new, blue aprons (pic of that to come too). However, the wrist bands are a little puzzling. In case you have sane baristas who refuse to wear them, here’s what they look like.


There’s no consensus as to why we have these. They are a health hazard, being so close to so many contaminates. We’ve compiled a list of possible reasons for the wrist bands. Let’s have some fun and try a poll: why do you think that Starbucks gave us these wristbands? Pick your top three, or suggest your own ideas!

Well, that’s all from me for now- I’ll be back with more pictures and stories of this crazy week very soon. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

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