It happens at Starbucks and a courtesy reboot

I am always fascinated by people. They are crazy. Here are some things I saw last week at Starbucks.

I was in back of a car waiting in the drive through. You know how that works. You pull up a car length at a time. This guy turned his engine off every time he moved. Every. Single. Time. He was from out-of-state. I had no idea why he was doing it. We were moving along smoothly so it wasn’t to save gas or keep the engine cool.

When I pull into the area where Starbucks is located I can see the drive-through. I can clearly see how many cars are in line. There are two entrances. I can see cars coming from the other entrance. There is a three second blind spot. Three seconds! How do cars materialize out of nowhere. I will see two cars in line. By the time I pull around there are five. Where did they come from?

When people use their phones they usually hold it at steering wheel height. Lately I’ve been seeing people stare at their crotch. It’s kind of creepy. Don’t do it. You look like perv.

I have done extensive research on drive-through courtesy.

Time and money had been invested (by me) on very careful research. Nothing is too much for you my dear reader.

There were days when I went to Starbucks just so you can have the latest information. (I also have a bridge to sell….)

Here are some priceless nuggets of wisdom to make your visit enjoyable and uneventful.

Don’t dawdle! Drive crisply up to the order thingy and order. Do not stop three feet before it to fix your hair, lipstick, butt crack (thongs do that) or anything. If you want to check if your BFF wants something, park away from the drive-through and text her. Do not, I repeat, do not call her when you are at the order thingy. Bad things will happen and I may be jailed. I don’t look good in orange.

The lingo is complicated to the uninitiated. If you aren’t doing something simple and don’t know how to say it, go inside. There are pictures, descriptions and baristas more than willing to help you out. Even other customers (on a good day). On your next trip you will be experienced and know how to pull it all together. All the regulars will be impressed (and relieved).

Kids never know what they want. They like to look. Go inside with children unless they are getting chocolate milk. As a child I could never decide between blueberry, cherry or watermelon popsicles. Today’s children are the same. There isn’t that much evolution between us. (Then again there are days when I wonder…)

Be ready. Pulling up to the pick-up window does not signal the time to start looking for dropped change under your seat to pay for your order. It takes a lot of pennies to pay for a Starbucks drink. A lot.

If you want to go unnoticed drive a regular car — no vanity plates, no stickers. There are people I know by their stickers. What people plaster on their car can tell a story.

There is a family of five stick figures with a dog and cat. I even know what sports each child plays.

There is a soccer mom and she’s proud of it. Her car says so. Her child is also on the honor roll. She’s proud of that too.

One person travels. There are a gazillion destination stickers all over her mini-van. She’s been to Disney World, the South of the Border tourist stop (multiple times) and every state park in between.

Men have the fancy cars with vanity plates or a company vehicle.

Some company vehicles may say “bakery” or “exterminator” (no they are not “working” there, just getting their “joe”).

You have now graduated from Kate’s school of drive-through courtesy. If you are in front of me, you can pay for my coffee. Thank you and you’re welcome!


54 thoughts on “It happens at Starbucks and a courtesy reboot

  1. Sitting in Starbucks. Right. Now. I ordered a venti, extra hot, non-fat, 7 pump chai tea latte. I had to earn an advanced degree to learn how to order the damn thing the way I like it. (Hubs refuses to learn to speak “coffee.” ) I came inside. Just sayin’! Have a beautiful day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Electric cars are like golf carts . . . you push the pedal and it goes.
    You push the brake and it stops . . . and sits quietly.

    We rarely go through drive thrus down here. I would if it was C~O~L~D outside. Or pouring rain. Other than that, I’d rather go in so I don’t have to such up exhaust fumes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of our vehicles shuts off completely when we stop when it is set in EcoPro. It is a PIA but CH loves it. It drives me insane. Thankfully it can be turned off. I get the biggest kick out of your Starbucks drive-thru situations and etiquette. We hardly ever do drive-thru, CH goes in HyVee and gets his coffee but you are in a lot of our conversations anymore because of Starbucks. I will be telling him about the car that you noticed kept shutting off… he will be delighted and laugh! I f we were in front of you we would, for sure, pay for your coffee!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Out here in “no man’s land” we have no Starbucks. I admit that survival is a challenge but in-line etiquette is not only absent but unnecessary. I will remember your “nuggets of wisdom” though, for when we visit civilization again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for your advice though I rarely use the Starbucks drive thru…I like to go inside. But I will keep your tips in mind when I go to the other bazillion places I go. BTW. Somehow for some reason, you were dropped off my follow list at WP. Why does that happen? Don’t they know I am ditzy and sometimes don’t know what I am missing?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m not much for the drive throughs, but thanks for the tips.

    I too love looking at people’s cars. You really can tell a lot about a person. the other day I was behind a large BMW with the license plate: JRK 3 It suited his driving perfectly as he was three times a jerk.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been to Kate’s Starbucks Research Center and it’s an amazing place. They have a Starbucks drive through training facility there, where current and future Starbucks customers are trained in the art of proper ordering by an on site Starbucks barista drill sergeant. You do an 8 week bootcup camp, and let me tell ya, they really put you through your paces there. Upon graduation, you’ll be able to drive up to any Starbucks drive-through thingy, look any barista right in the eye and without any hesitation, know exactly what you want—espresso, cappuccino, or berry refresher—in Tall, Grande, Venti, and handy (every size) Styrofoam. As the barista drill sergeant told me, “When you come eye to eye with the barista it’s order, or drop and give them fifty…as in fifty bucks—for holding up the line!”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You’ll be after me next. I pulled a bad one inside a Starbucks. The place was in a supermarket, and I gave my order crisply. I had the app visible on my phone, but as soon as I started handing it to the barista, the phone shut itself off. My phone never shuts itself off, but that day it did it twice while I was trying to pay with the app. Behind me, I could almost hear the next person’s teeth grinding with disgust.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was unexpected. You were prepared and it happened. The way our drive through window faces sometimes there is a sun glare and they can’t get the reader to read the phone. It’s not anyone’s fault. I don’t get annoyed if the barista got the drink wrong either (as long as they don’t do it often). It’s when people do things that purposefully delay that gets my goat.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not a fan of those stick figure stickers, but I’m intrigued by them. They give away way too much personal information, imho. However, I stop and stare whenever I can, so being in a drive-thru line is my time to gawk and judge people. We all make our fun where we can!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OMG, yes, please have your order ready. Because there are Germans like Kate and me behind you and we get very angry when you are inefficient. Especially at the Corner Bakery when all I want is a bowl of soup. I don’t want to listen to you interrogate the staff on the merits of different pastas for your five children. Deliver your order in crisp tones, slide your card, and get out of the way.

    Go to a bistro if you want your entree described in detail. Or at least the Olive Garden.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have one of those annoying cars that shuts itself off every time it idles. It’s supposedly a gas-savings thing. It may save gas, but I can’t believe that it is good for the engine. Fortunately, there is a switch to shut that “feature” off, but I have to do it every time I start my car. If I see you behind me at Starbucks, I’ll be sure it’s switched off. You are welcome.

    Liked by 3 people

      • When I lived in Portland (OR) I remember the dirty looks we used to get when we’d sit in the car while it idled. We were usually consulting a map or the GPS, but people would stop, stare, and often give us a look. We finally figured out that they objected to the air pollution we were creating. I felt yelling out Steve Martin’s, “Well, excuuuuuse me!” But I didn’t.

        Liked by 2 people

    • My car, too. I don’t even notice it now. Drives my husband CRAZY so I showed him how to hit the little switch that says “AUTO OFF” and now he’s happy 🙂

      But we don’t go to Starbucks. And I’d be scared to go to a drivethrough now!

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I like to go inside to get my coffee. I’m afraid I’ll be like some of the people you mentioned. I might forget what I want or talk too slowly. Plus I like to talk to the other people in line or watch them.

    My daughter has a new Volvo. The engine shuts off every time she stops at a stop light or stop sign and turns on again as soon as she starts, automatically.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I pulled up to an accident that just happened. A big fender bender. Wisely, I parked and went inside. Strangely the two young women were outside of their cars busy texting on their phone. Maybe that’s how you contact people these days but it was weird.


  13. Haha! Thanks for the early morning chuckle!

    Also brought home to me how much the world of driving has changed since I last owned/drove a car. Back in the golden era that was the late ’90s, there were no drive-through coffeeshops, texting was not a thing, and Starbuck’s world domination-level expansion was still just a gleam in some Seattlite entrepreneur’s eye.

    Sniff. We never realize how good we have it until it’s gone, do we…

    Liked by 2 people

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