You are as ignorant as a fence post if you don’t already know that these are tall, grande and venti sized cups.

At the risk of over-generalization, I am of the belief that we all have our vices. My biggest vice is coffee. I drink too much of it and most of it at Starbucks. I hate the fact that they charge me 3 bucks for their cappuccino that I am addicted to and it doesn’t make me feel any better that I keep going back there day after day and sometimes more than once a day. I can’t stand their pretentious tall-grande-venti drink size definitions and feel like a buffoon asking for a grande cappuccino, but it doesn’t matter, I know they own my caffeinaholic ass and I will be back there like a golden retriever with a ball. A friend of mine who actually works for this Seattle based company once told me that their goal is to make their customers feel like these neighborhood Starbuck coffee places are their second homes. “Hence the extra perkiness from those waiting, the amiable lighting inside, the contemporary music.. and the bottom line.. ” she said, ” is for you to feel extra comfortable to go back there even if you feel you are paying more for your coffee than for your lunch.”

Starbucks.. yup.. thats the right demographics.

Fair enough, I don’t begrudge anyone trying to go out of their way to be friendly. I might be paying for the cost of Howard Schultz’s jet fuel single-handedly, but I don’t fit the profile of their regular demographics because after I get my coffee, I spend as much time in those ‘second homes’ as it takes for me to pick up that grande cup and walk out the door. It must appeal to the late teens building an image among their peers, high-falutin’ yuppies trying to look cool and leisurely housewives with baby strollers out to set an example for their little ones by pouring over the latest Eileen Goudge novel. Sadly, I fail to qualify in all three categories, but I was willing to tolerate this concept of a personalized service as just an unwarranted perk for my coffee splurge even if I don’t care for the acoustic crap they dole out regularly in those joints from the next Sheryl Crow/Jewel wannabe.

Earlier this week, I walked into a busy Starbucks in a location I hadn’t been to before, ordered my regular dose of caffeine, and was a little taken aback when the waiter asked for my name.

Why?” I asked.

“Why?” he asked back.

“Yes, Why?”

“One Grande Cappuccino for Why.. ” he yelled to his left.

“Why?” his compatriot, the perky cappuccino maker wanted to confirm. She wasn’t convinced that was a real name.

“Yes, Why.” he replied, looking at me for acknowledgement.

“No, ” I clarified, “Why is it that you need my name?”

“We do that for all our customers Mr. Why, so that Amy here can call you when it is ready. We are not going to spam you or anything.”

“Ok, thank you!” I gave up not wanting to hold up the line anymore. I was trying to extricate myself out of this impromptu Abbott and Costello skit, when I heard Amy’s voice..

“One grande capp. for Why.”

Screw this, next time they ask for my name at one of these places, I am going with “Who” and see how that goes.

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