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May 29, 2007

Starbucks: We kiss you first

I must say that I feel better about paying $4.25 for a cinnamon dulce de leche latte than I do when I pay $3.20 for a gallon of gas. I don't know why because per ounce I am getting screwed over big time by Starbucks. I think it is because Starbucks does a really good job of packaging both inside the store and with their products.

The inside of the store makes you feel very comfortable and important as soon as you walk in. The strong aroma of beans, the higlighted coffees from around the world, and the people sitting with their laptops clicking away all lend to an atmosphere of exclusivity- yes, you are good enough to frequent our establishment.

If i do not have the time to stop by the Starbucks enroute to work then I will settle for the onbase coffee house Seattle's Best. If that is true then Seattle is in big trouble. Everything that Starbucks is, SB is not. To be fair, I have never been to an off base SB but the two that are onbase have consistently made my vanilla latte taste like it was poured down the crack of a hog's ass.

I like the efficiency of Starbucks also. I went in this weekend to get morning coffee for my wife and I and as I walked up to the door I arrived at almost the same time as a woman who looked to be in a hurry. I felt gallant, something I usually don't feel until after 8:00 am with a few belts of coffee in me, and I opened the door for her.

As she got up to the register to order, out came a yellow piece of paper with at least 7 lines of writing which turned out to be 7 different orders of coffee. I wanted to first punch myself in the face for once again getting screwed over for being nice, then punch her in the face for making a coffee run and holding me up.

One of the baristas sensed a disturbance in the force and immediately came over and opened up another register and began taking orders. Very impressive.

There is another significant difference in customer service that I have noticed when I have to hit the SB. When my coffee if handed to me, there are no safety features attached to the cup, i.e. recycled sleeve and/or lid. SB actually expects me to carry my coffee, with whipped cream piled high, over to the condoment station and get my own lid and sleeve. I say, "F" that. It takes 2 seconds to put those important safety features on my cup- so do it. It is just a small act of customer service that says, "Hey, I don't want you to burn yourself on this incredibly hot, but tasty, coffee."

Starbucks even serves food, good food actually, but you will pay for it dearly. My son likes their apple juice that comes in a roundish, apple-shapped container. I bought those for my office snack fund and paid about 40 cents each. I cringe everytime my son points at them with an accompanying, "Pweeeeeeeeeeeze" because I know I am really getting ripped off when I pay $1.50 for it. I admit that the cheescakes, breakfast sandwhiches, and fresh salads are tempting, but they will have to spruce that place up a lot more before I pay $5 for them.


  1. Martinelli's Apple Cider comes in little apple-shaped bottles, my older brother works at a big glass-factory in San Leandro where they make those. It's a kinda brutal union-labor heavy equipment job he has.
    JMO, but one reason we feel better about Starbucks compared to gas is that with Starbucks you get a nice taste - if it's a kiss-off at least it's on the lips and not the elsewhere feeling you get with petroleum products.

  2. "condoment station"
    Best. Typo. Ever.