Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Starbucks summary

Imagine a machine, well-oiled and well-equipped to handle numerous tasks at once with remarkable proficiency.

Now take that machine and give it a benevolent personality. That, essentially, is Starbucks.

Walking into a Starbucks shop, especially one placed in a hustling environment like Boston's Huntington Avenue, is like stepping on an island. The moment the doors close, the noise outside drops off completely, replaced by the smooth jazz that invites customers to relax, drink a coffee and spend a few hours with the free Wi-fi.

As I made my way up to order a medium old-school hot chocolate, I was greeted at the counter by a young barista that, despite looking like a seamless stand-in for Dr. Gregory House, appeared happy to help me out.

The exchange that followed:

House: "Hello, sir!"
Me: "Hi, could I have a medium hot chocolate please?"
House: "Sure, for here or to go?"
Me: "For here."
House: "And do you want our new signature recipe, or the old school one?"
Me: "Uh, old school. By the way, what would the price of a medium regular coffee to go be?" (A mandatory question from my 'Reinventing the News' class)
House: "$1.94. Do you want that as well?"
Me: "No, it's just for a class."

After that, I remembered that I needed to take photos from inside the Starbucks. When I asked the barista for permission, his face seemed to fall as he apologetically told me that "those have to go through corporate." Bummer.

After the order was placed, I observed the mechanical aspect to it. Cups started cycling back and forth and different levers were pulled to pour different liquids, I heard a machine whirr in the background, and my hot chocolate was ready. Starbucks isn't renowned for its quickness, but they were on their game that day.

After that, you get to enjoy yourself and your coffee (or hot chocolate, in my case). The music is soothing, and the atmosphere is relaxing. You're there as long as you please, and there isn't a rush.

All in all, a good experience. I'd offer you proof, but then I'd have to go through corporate.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Your barista was too sincere and mild-mannered to have been a stand-in for House. There was a serious lack of verbal abuse and snide remarks.