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Diatribe: Starbucks, Please Train Your Customers.

05/29/2011

I was never much of a coffee drinker until I got my current job.  There’s a Starbucks in the building right next door and I learned, very quickly, that I enjoyed “Decaf Tall Americano”.  Plus, it was often difficult to resist the extraordinarily attractive and yummy treats that their marketing people force you to look at while you’re waiting in line, so it quickly became an expensive routine.

People watching at Starbucks is better than people watching at the airport.  Every day it was a cast of thousands.  Of course there were the other regulars like me, but there was always some odd duck that just didn’t seem to know what they were doing … like they were from a far-off land that didn’t have coffee or treats.  And these people would always, without fail, be just before me in the line.

Starbucks does a fantastic job of training their employees to work quickly and efficiently as a team to make sure that the customers have a good experience and will return regularly, but they have yet to learn how to train their customers.  They should really have two lines in each store … one for customers that know what they want to buy and a second for customers that have no idea what they want and need to stand in front of the big menu and study all the possibilities, options and prices before they place their order.

On my last trip to Starbucks I waited patiently while the woman in front of me tried to figure out what she wanted to drink.  She asked a dozen questions and then barista had to ask a dozen more.  Some people should simply not be given too many choices.  I thought her brain was going to explode.  She couldn’t decide what size she wanted, want flavor she wanted … did she want milk, if so what kind?  Whipped cream?  Drizzle?

I wanted to slap her.  This woman had been waiting in line for quite some time and had heard all the people in front of her place their orders and then, when it was finally her turn, she acted like she didn’t know what coffee was.  And then she acted surprised when she had to pay for it.

All the while the barista, as patient has can be and with a smile on his face, pretended like she was the nicest customer that he had ever met and that her cup of coffee was going to be the best that he had ever prepared.  The employees are very well trained … Starbucks, please train your customers.

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9 Comments
  1. Tomiko permalink

    HAHA! So good. What’s hilarious is how I’m one of those super indecisive people–skim or whole milk, one pump of syrup or two? But instead I browse their online menu before making an ass of myself IN line…

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    • Our store was remodeled last month … now some of them wander aimlessly like zombies! Apparently, they can’t THINK enough to find the end of the line until they’ve had their expensive java. Catch 22 much?

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  2. This is good. I love it when people arrive on earth and then walk directly into Starbucks.

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    • LOL. I think some of them might be born there during the night … Like the pod people zombies from “Invation of the Body Snatchers” (the good one with Donald Sutherland, not the crappy one with Nicole Kidman).

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  3. Oh gawd that is so true! I really applaud customer service staff for being so patient… yet sometimes I think it’s also good business to just say “Ma’am please step aside until you’ve made up your mind.”

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