Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Starbucks Challenge

Starbuck Challenge 4.0This past weekend, Erin and I went to our local Starbucks on Larchmont. I tried the Starbucks Challenge for the first time. That is, I ordered a cup of "your fair trade coffee". I'd been waiting to do it for some time, partly because I haven't had an occasion to go to a Starbucks, and partly because I was worried that the experience would be embarrassing. What if they said no, and I had to argue with them? Or if they didn't know what it was, and I had to explain it to them?

Anyways, on Saturday we decided to go read at the Starbucks. A manager was training someone at the time so we were double-teamed. At first the response was a confused look, but after I repeated my order the manager sprang into action, telling me he would have to French press it. I said that would be okay, and he told one of his associates to open a bag of Estima and French press it.

So far, so good, with the emphasis on the "so far".

He told me it would be about 8 minutes, then took Erin's order - some tea concotion that they were missing an ingredient for. They suggested an equally complicated alternative and she agreed and they said they wouldn't charge her for it. Erin and I sat down at a table to read.

About 15 minutes later, I was starting to get curious about my coffee.

Erin and I were discussing what I should do (she thought I should remind them, I wanted to see what would happen), when we heard some variation of "oh shit" as the manager remembered that the coffee had been steeping too long. He came to our table to apologize, and gave us two free drink coupons. He said a new cup would be ready in four minutes. About a minute later, another Starbucks employee came to our table with another apology and two complimentary baked goods. I was becoming embarrased. Finally, a couple minutes later, the same guy was back with not one but two cups of coffee.

So, in total: 1 iced tea, 2 cups of coffee, 2 desserts & 2 drink coupons, all for a buck seventy plus tax.


Blogger Rahul said...

Oh man, this is too funny. I'm a little perplexed though. I thought Starbucks was on some big campaign to give themselves a new positive makeover to the "green" "eco-friendly" consumers who usually scoff at the "chain coffee shop." I'm surprised Sturbucks isn't pushing their fair trade coffee more to lure them in. I'm even more surprised that they found your request so unusual that they had no idea how to handle it.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Siel said...

Wow -- Hope you enjoyed the food & drinks :) You'll have to take the challenge again with the drink coupons!

BTW -- Which Starbucks was this?

12:38 PM  
Blogger erin said...

actually, it was $1.70 without tax. we *cleaned* up. it was awesome.

siel, it was the larchmont starbucks.

rahul, i wonder if berkeley starbucks are any better with this. maybe siel knows. also, congrats on business school and good luck with the move!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Roger, Gone Green said...

I have been finding that folks know how to handle it mostly these days, and as I have heavily challenged my usual Starbuxi (see SBX, Fairtrade & Me )I haven't done it much lately . . . but this is a VAST improvement over the typical, "oh sh*%" moment notwithstanding.

Welcome to the club! Guess I better go FT Review my dang supermarket . . . (grin)

10:51 PM  

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