Venti, Vidi, Vici

It’s 10 am and I’m sitting at a local Starbucks. I have some time to kill so I thought I’d get a little work done. But instead of preparing for a presentation I have in an hour, I feel compelled to recount what has just occurred: While waiting for my coffee and toasted bagel with cream cheese (and I sure do wish Starbucks would smear the schmear themselves), the middle-aged man behind me in line placed this order: “I’ll have a large coffee.”

The guy in the green apron standing on the other side of the counter pointed to the new uber-size, the Trenta, and the man shook his head no. “Well, do you want a Venti then? And what kind of coffee would you like?” After a somewhat lengthy Q&A – considering there was a line – the customer ordered a Tall Blonde Roast, since he thought it rather fun to ask for a tall blonde; but then he requested…cream!

I find this astounding. At first I tossed the “large” up to customer rebellion, as my somewhat rebellious best friend refuses to use Starbuckspeak. However, the request-to-add-cream thing seemed to indicate a greater issue. Who was this guy who didn’t know that patrons add their own? And sweetener too? Could this possibly be his first visit to a Starbucks?

I remember my very first visit to a cash machine, which was at a Chemical Bank – I am that old – outside the Time Life Building in New York. My pulse quickened with every step forward, afraid the people behind me would know this was my first time if I took too long to read the selections or, horrors, if I made a mistake and had to cancel out and start all over again. I knew starting again was an option because I’d watched my then-best friend use her Chase card on West 57th before mine arrived. So I wonder if Mr. Large Coffee was nervous. Had he pulled into the parking lot and given himself a pep talk before crossing the threshold into uncharted waters? Apologies for mixing metaphors.

Either way, nervous or confident, I applaud him for bucking the trend this long. There are certain aspects of the hip modern life I am considering abandoning due to exhaustion or “downsizing,” like my Facebook account, Living Social, several of the groups I joined to make my LinkedIn profile look sexier – and my iPhone because the touchscreen drives me batty. But as long as I have work to do, time to kill, and free wifi, I’ll still be living la vida Grande.


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