So... I was in my local (Lynn Valley) Starbucks the other day, feigning interest in buying a small sack of Blonde Roast Veranda Blend while waiting for my order to be whipped into shape, when a guy wandered in and asked for a coffee. Clearly (and remarkably), he’d never come across (or at least ordered java from) a Starbucks before.
Because, in our brave, new 21st Century world where the number of choices for types and strains and flavours and sizes and places to go for coffee is enough to make your brain explode, specificity is crucial. Particularly at Starbucks. At least if you want to avoid being metaphorically caught with your pants around your ankles.
The server (or partner, as Starbucks likes to call its minimum-wage staff to make them feel more distinguished and important) looked at the guy (let’s call him Guy) like he had three heads. Like that was the most ridiculous question in the history of mankind.
As if to say: “You want a what?!”
What she actually said (or would have said had I actually been within earshot of the conversation and not making this up), was (sparking the ensuing dialogue):
Starbucks Partner (SBP): What kind of roast would you like?
Guy: Roast? Um… chicken? I haven’t had a good Sunday dinner in a while. Could I get a coffee, too?
SBP: No, roast of coffee, sir – blonde, medium or dark?
Guy: Um... well... blonde? Hmm... that sounds a little lady-like, and I’m a man’s man—don’t want to come across as effeminate. Scratch that one. Medium? Then I’ll be Mr. Average… I’m so much more than that. Dark (& mysterious)... yes, that’s me. A little edgy (at least since he decided to grab a coffee at Starbucks).
SBP: Short, Tall, Grande, Venti or Trenta?
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To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.