Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I see that my beloved Starbucks is closing its doors for a few hours this evening in order to 'provide a more consistent, higher-quality product,' or something like that. Must be some training session they have planned!

In any case, they needn't worry about the competition, in my opinion.

It's possible I'll offend some people here, and if I do, I'm truly sorry. It's just my opinion, and my impression of things.

Recently, I've attempted to order coffee now and then from McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, which are positioning themselves (or trying to) as direct competitors with the Bux. I hear Mickey D's is even planning to hire 'baristas.' Okay.

I worked for about a half day on Sunday. I decided to treat myself to a McDonald's iced coffee (poor me! Working on a Sunday!), which probably has an absolutely sinful amount of cream and sweetener in it. I really don't need that much creamy sweetness, so I thought for once I'd attempt to ask them to cut it back a bit.
I realize I'm not at Starbucks. (which I didn't get because their coffee is stronger, and I figure I don't need the rocket fuel while pregnant.) I realize I'm not to expect custom stuff. But I thought I'd try, anyway.

I asked them how many pumps of cream and sweetener were in a large. The woman had to ask for a translation, but the answer eventually came back: Six. So I asked them to try four. (they make them when you order them, anyway -- how hard can it be?) They managed to do it -- I think -- but I heard a lot of what sounded like grumbling and glances darted back and forth about "trabajo", etc. Sigh. I realize I'm asking a bit more than you're expected to deliver. I apologize. Sort of.

That was purchased along Hwy. 50. A hard left turn onto 14th Street in D.C. resulted in my large iced coffee filling my passenger-side floor, so, like a dope, I ordered another one at a joint downtown.

Astonishingly (or not?), I had the same experience. Same semi-incredulous looks, same need for translation, same muttering about 'trabajo.'

All this is to say, good luck, McDonald's, with your barista scheme. A modest suggestion: Make sure the barista speaks fluent English, and has a good attitude.

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