Starbucks courtesy rules revisited

A cat after my own heart!

A cat after my own heart!

It’s 7:30. Starbucks looms in the distance. I’m heading for the drive-through but so is a car from the other direction. It’s a race for the spot. I’m coming up quickly but she gets there just before me. Booyah!

She acts like she didn’t see me. No acknowledgment. That’s the drive-through attitude. I’ve done it myself. If I get out of my car and knock on her window, she would say, “Hi, I didn’t even see you!” with a big smile.

We all know that’s crap. She was racing to beat me to the spot.

It’s part of the culture. There is a protocol you follow when you use a drive-though. Some folks don’t get it. This one didn’t! Here is what happened.

What is she doing? Why doesn’t she pull up to the order thingy? Oh, her cell phone is ringing. Hello, hello! What is she thinking?

There are now two cars in back of me while she creeps to the order thingy (that’s a technical term). It is very important to get your order in or a walk-in will get ahead of you. We are a very competitive group. Very. Competitive.

Finally, she is ordering. Why is it taking so long? Even a fancy-smancy drink order doesn’t take this long. She is asking questions! No questions in the express drive-through!

The order is complete. Finally.

What is she doing now? Why isn’t she pulling up so I can order at the thingy? Oh, yes, lipstick! We can’t pick up coffee without lipstick. Hey, yo! I’m going to be late for work! Oh, wait, I don’t work anymore. Well, I’ll be late for something.

Drive-through lines have rules. Just in case you don’t know them, here they are:

  • No questions! That’s what the inside counter is for.
  • No catering the entire office crowd. There should only be one drink more than there are people in the car. The drive-through is the express line of food service.
  • If you have a carload of people go inside.
  • If you have children who have no idea what they want, go inside and let them cruise the display.
  • No credit cards requiring signatures! Starbucks cards are ok — quick, easy, no signatures. Money is ok too but for heaven’s sake, don’t drop it on the ground and feel the need to get out to pick up a nickel.
  • Don’t wait until you get to the window to dig out the money from under the seats and in the glove compartment.
  • Be courteous. Once you order, pull completely up to the next car so I…um….the next person can get their order in.

The line is moving and it looks like I will get my mocha latte soon.  The beloved husband always calls me “Happy Kate” after I get that chocolate foam on my tongue!

Good morning y’all!

Mine! Go away!

Mine! Go away!

31 thoughts on “Starbucks courtesy rules revisited

    • It’s a crap shoot. If there are a lot of cars in the parking lot, it either means the indoor line is backed up to the door or everyone is lounging over their drinks. They need one of those highways signs — “5 minutes for pick up” or “walk inside no wait.”


  1. You know, I seldom use the drive-through. I feel better coming inside, seeing everyone face-to-face, walking around. Same for the bank, same for picking up a prescription. But this was a most informative. If I ever decide to use the drive-through, now I know the rules.


    • I prefer the drive-through for Starbucks because it’s after the gym although if the line is long I will go in. I walk in at the bank (which I rarely use anyway) and my drugstore does not have a drive-through. I guess I’m 50-50. My husband likes to walk in at McDonald’s for an ice cream. There I would use the drive-through.


  2. I would have gotten out of the car…you showed amazing restraint…without even caffeine…reminds me of my father’s favorite Alan King joke…a woman driving in front of him put her hand out so he assumed she was making a left…no, she said, after he rammed into her…I was only drying my nails.
    Hey,,,essays evoke…love the line about being late for work…


  3. Oh so well said!!! I was in a Starbucks drive thru once, and the lady was asking for (ready?!) SAMPLES! I was like what?! Get OUT OF YOUR CAR! (And I can say that she could get out of her car, because I actually know her from my kids’ school and she got OUT of her car to walk her kid to class not 30 minutes earlier!!). So insane. If I’m undecided, I go inside. I use my Starbucks card exclusively (why wouldn’t you?! Hello freebies!! Shoot when I take my kids they each have their own card linked to MY account and they pay for their own drinks. Faster free Starbucks!) so I’m prepared.

    Your rules should be posted at every drive thru!! 🙂 love them.

    ❤ Jules


    • Anyone who even just occasionally uses SB should use a SB card for the freebies! Today I was in back so someone who was talking to someone STANDING by her car. She didn’t drive up to the order thingie until she finished her conversation. Cars were backing up behind me. It was a young girl and the pedestrian was a guy so what do you expect. If I would have had an old car (and a lot of money) I would rammed her. Thanks for weighing in!


  4. I’d be frosted too if I was inhaling gas fumes and running on empty to get to the drive thru window.

    I’m old school. I go inside to order. But the calorie count on my pumpkin spice latte (that really doesn’t have any pumpkin in it) and my blueberry scone about gave me a heart attack. Yowzer!


    • Yowzer is right! My drink is made with non-fat milk and no whipped cream although that would make it tastier (and me chubbier). I go inside to order if I want to try something new or if I want something to eat and I’m not sure what. I rarely eat there so I need to LOOK at the stuff before I decide.


    • OMG! I was in back of someone who wrote a check! A CHECK! I write very few checks. Of course she didn’t fill anything out until the whole order was checked out and then she used precision penmanship. My feet were thumpin’.


  5. I know exactly the kind of inconsiderate person you are talking about! Lipstick indeed…that one probably could use a whole face lift! The picture at the end…is that Hazel? What an amazing picture. Loved it.


      • Maybe we shouldn’t!! I don’t like the way the paper money, receipt and change is thrown at you and you have to organize yourself while someone is beeping. My favorite story about drive thrus is: One time, I was tired of seeing all the change that had fallen on the ground in between the drive thru window and the car windows!!!! Money!!!!!! So I got out and started to pick it up (the drive thru people were never ready so I had time) When I got back in my car, the drive thru person in the window said, “Oh it’s okay!” I said “I wasn’t going to give it to you!!!!” What a crab I have turned out to be, Kate! It totaled five dollars in change. Now is the drive thru person throwing the change at people and the buyer misses? Or is the buyer just letting it fall?


        • Not sure. I have seen people fumble with money and drop it on the ground but I have never seen any substantial amount there. At the SB I got to, if they drop it, they will give you the money from the cash register. I don’t know how it all works out at the end of the day. Maybe they keep a tab of what they drop.


Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s