Friday, November 09, 2007

High Maintenance in the Starbucks World (and other frivolities of the life of Dave)

You know, if you're in a Starbucks, be aware of your surroundings.

Case in point... yesterday afternoon, we were busy. It's getting colder, Christmas time is in the air, and more and more people are coming to Starbucks... here's why:

Maintenance. When its hot, and you want refreshment, you come to Starbucks for a frappuccino. Or Brusters for ice cream. Or Smoothie Planet/Tropical/King for a smoothie. Or Sonic for a Sonic Blast. Or Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. A ton of choices, which is why most sales go down during the hotter months.

But when its cold, where do you for hot chocolate, lattes or something to keep you warm? Starbucks. Oh, I'm sure there are other places to go as well, but Starbucks is one of the best places to go.

So, we're busy... three of us on the floor, I'm running the front register, but I need to hope over to help out in Drive Thru, because four cars just pulled in at the same time. I figure I'm just going to get these next two customers at the register and then I'll jump over to DT and save the day.

"Is that peppermint mocha good?" asks the old lady at the register.

"Its really good. I hope you like peppermint, though, because it is... well, pepperminty," I replied with a smile.

"Well, then I'll take one of them in a grande size. And give me one of them pumpkin breads out of the food case here," she asks.

"Alright, thats a grande peppermint mocha and a piece of pumpkin loaf," I said, "and that will be [ringing up] $5.91"

"5.91?? Why is it $5.91??" she stammered.

"Well, it's $3.48 for the peppermint mocha and $1.95 for the pumpkin loaf, plus tax," I replied, getting a little anxious. In the background, there's a woman and her son. The woman is picking up mug after mug after mug. Her son is picking up the stuffed bears, "Bearista Bears" they call them, out of the basket and piling them on a table.

"Well, I'll just take care of it then," she said, opening up her billfold. When she opens up the pocket, I see the glisten of coins. Lots of coins. Being with this company for five years, I knew what was coming next... I cringed as she said, "I'm just going to get rid of some of this change here."

She began to count out five dollars and ninety-one cents in various coinage pieces. Meanwhile, Kelly is in the drive thru getting killed. And the bar person is going to down in flames.

Finally she gets all of her change out, and I snap it up, handing her the pumpkin loaf and smling as I let her know her drink will be ready in a moment. Immediately, the lady behind her hands me a tumbler. "Here, hold this. Your a man, you can tell me how it feels," she says as she quickly turns back to the wall shelves to grab another.

The kid's bear pile is becoming quite high by now, nay, almost admirable. The beep is a constant sound in the headset in my ear, signifying another car, then another car, then another car in the drive thru.

The lady comes back to the counter with three tumblers. "What do you think?" she asked.

"Well," I answered, looking at the fat tumbler in my hand, "I like this one, but my issue with is that it won't fit into a car cupholder, so it depends on what he'll be using it for."

"Yeah, you're right," she says, standing there with four cups, looking at each. Remember, all of this has happened in the span of about five minutes, where I could normally shoot through about twelve customers or more.

I smiled, nod towards the pyramid of stuffed bears, and said, "Your son is quite the architect there." She looked over, sighed, and said, "Put those back." Her son obeyed, and put... two back. She grabbed on, grabbed a small stuffed penguin, piled them on the counter and said, "I'll take these."

I rang up all four tumblers, a small stuffed penguin and the Bearista Christmas Bear. "That'll be $74.03," I said, running the credit card she handed me. I bagged everything up, handed her the bags, thanked her and she was on her way. And just like that, the rush was over.

Now, what have we learned?

When you come into a Starbucks, its okay to take your time. It's okay to be in a hurry. We have customers in both catagories. But, be aware. Life does not revolve around you. You are given our full attention for a very brief time, so when you get that attention, don't take it for granted. Cause, there are lots of other people around who also want our full attention.


I get to go give blood this morning. My buddy Ryan, and my buddy Rad-a-Tad too, works for the Red Cross, and anytime they have a big event, I try to go give. Lifetime, I've given two gallons and three pints, so I'm working towards three gallons lifetime.

Everyone has their blood donating horror stories... the first time I gave, it was in the Samson High School gym. We had blood races, with the guys pumping their fists on that hard plastic tube to make it flow faster. I never finished higher than 2nd.

My veins are pretty big. Nurses see them, they start drooling, then stand on the other side of the room and toss the needles in my arm. My worst experience? Well, two...

1) I was giving at Troy State, upstairs in the Adams Center student building. The line was really long, and I was running late for my freshman journalism 101 class, so as soon as I was done, I grabbed a rice krispy treat and ran... yes, ran... out the door.

For those of you who know Troy State, this is not a good thing. I dash down the stairs, out the Adams Center back doors, and then up the hill leading to Wallace Hall. Then, I run down the hill to the Wallace doors, then up three flights of stairs. I dashed into class at the last second, and sat down behind Miranda. Then the fact I just lost a pint of blood hit me.

"Whoa..." I whoozed. Miranda turned around, looked at me funny, and said, "You don't look so good."

2) I was giving on one of those mobile blood RVs, and the nurse had stuck the needle in. When she did, a little blood spurted out and got on the sleeve of my white shirt. "Oh dear," the nurse said, grabbing a little cloth. Then she started rubbing the blood spot on my sleeve, but as she did, her hand kept knocking the needle protruding from my arm. As it moved back and forth, stuck in my arm, it kinda hurt. "Um... uh, don't worry about the blood on my..." I stammered.

Not paying attention, she was talking to some other nurse, all the while, actually moving a needle that was sticking out of my veins. Not good times. Bad times, bad times.


Sitting here watching "While You Were Sleeping", one of my favorite films. Yes, it will appear in the Dave100 somewhere along the way, once I get to it. And no, I haven't forgotten about the Dave100. Its a list that will make its way over the next few months.

Anyway, my little sister and I watched "Speed" the other night. We actually watched "Muriel's Wedding", which I was hoping I would like, and I did, but before either of us could move, or I could kick her out, "Speed" came on, and we were sucked in. We had a discussion about Sandra Bullock, who had her big breakout in this movie. Remember when both she and Meg Ryan were the absolute cutest things in the entire world? Back in the early 90s?

Well, "While You Were Sleeping" came on, and it reminded me of just how much I used to like Sandra Bullock. She has a Sydney Ellen Wade performance here, because there's not one time in the movie she doesn't look absolutely gorgeous. I had a friend in college named Jennifer Davis who smiled like Sandra Bullock. I think thats why Jennifer Davis was so hot.


Speaking of hot chicks, I read in Entertainment Weekly that there's another sequel to "Gone With the Wind". The book, not the movie, but the book is coming. Anyway, the literary sequel is called "Rhett Butler's People", written by Donald McCaig.

I only mention this because they actually are planning a movie version. Apparently, in a poll, The Goddess is the most popular choice to play Scarlett O'Hara, narrowly edging out Rachel McAdams.

Now I have an issue... would I have to watch this movie? I mean, its associated with Gone With the Wind, which is normally something I don't associate with. But, I'll watch anything Ashley Judd in it. I mean, she's Ashley Judd. She's The Goddess. And she's been in some terrible, terrible movies. This might not be any different.

I guess Ashley is to me what Colin Firth is to The Lovely Steph Leann. Colin is president of the "Guys That Steph Wouldn't Leave Me For, but Would Hesitate Before Saying No" Club (who boasts members like Bradley Whitford and Patrick Dempsey). I guess Ashley is my own president, over members like Debra Messing and Kate Winslet.

Of course, none are Steph Leann. And like I tell Steph.... "I'm with you, not Ashley Judd, so what does that tell you?"


Just got a message from my friend Tiffany Abbott (McCauley, or something like that, who knows), who was to Troy what Julie Wise was to high school. She tells me of the bathroom conditions at the Georgia/Troy game, which Georgia won... by only ten points, mind you.:

Georgia is in such a drought that they basically had signs posted at the football game bathrooms to the effect of "if it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." There were employed restroom attendants whose job is was to do the flushing.

I laughed hard. Talk about your potty humor.

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Can you believe that after knowing Tiffany Formerly Abbott for twelve years, this is really the only picture I have? So, I figured I would post it just for comedic effect.


And finally, if you're in Tuscaloosa and you want some BBQ, don't go to Dreamland. Go to Archibalds. I was helping train new Starbuckians for the new store in T'town last week, and decided to visit my brother-in-law Tyler on campus, and his roomdawgs, Trey, Jonathan and Stephen. After killing time and watching two or three episodes of "Family Guy", we were hungry. I suggested Archibalds.

I don't know where I'd heard it, but I had heard it was really, really good. It was later I realized that I had seen it on ESPN's College GameDay, where Todd Blackledge has a weekly segment where he visits local restaurants and such.

Anyway, after Tyler drove us around in circles for 30 minutes, we found it. It's this hole in the wall restaurant, where Archibald, this large, old black man, serves BBQ out of the pit that's actually in the wall. The building itself is really not bigger than a regular trailer.

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Stephen, Jonathan, Trey, Archibald, myself and Tyler. Oh, Archibald is the big black man in the middle.

But the food was cheap. And FANTASTIC. For just over 8 bucks, I got a big plate with four ribs and a BBQ pork sandwich, and a 20 ounce Mountain Dew. None of us, not me, nor Stephen, nor Jonathan, nor Tyler, nor Trey said much as we chomped our food.

Seems the place has been around for at least 47 years, when he took over for his daddy. He laughed heartily, and seemed to enjoy the fact we were a bunch of young bucks--even me--eating in his restaurant. A good time was had by all.

And I was full. And it was nice.

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