Starbucks is probably one of the best examples for global branding and successful franchising. You know what you get, no matter where in the world you are.
Lately, what you get is mediocre coffee made by stressed 24 year olds in green aprons (if you sense disappointment, you are sensing right.)
Even though I much prefer small cafés, I go there at train stations or when stressed – because I know what I get. Apart from always the same cups, coffee, after-coffe-gum and american welcome phrases, they also have a corporate shouting policy that made me wish they served earplugs with their double-shot-soya-skim-caramel-topped-frappuchinos.
When waiting for a colleague in Paris the other day, I suddenly found myself in a sequel to Deborah’s Starbucks story. She wrote about sitting in an empty Starbucks in Zürich one early morning with much too lively baby. The swiss barista did as they were told and shouted her lonely order across thedeserted place, just like on a hectic New York street corner.
In Paris, they shouted as well.
Station one takes my order over a much too high counter, only to scream it right back at my face to confirm it’s no cupcake. They then loudly clarify I should go to the cashier and scream in the direction of the barista “Nicolaaaaas deeuux cappuchinooooooo! Un toll macchiato c’est caaaaaa!”
Person 3 screams back to confirm he has two ears: “Deux cappuchinooooo, un toll macchiatoooo”! Simultaneously, ducking my head, I arrive att green apron no 2, who mildly annoyed looks at me as if I had just landed from the moon. She hasn’t heard the alarm about my cappuccino, there is just a French question mark in her eyes “Bonjour madame…??”
I realize I am somehow bothering her and quickly pay, to move one step closer towards my cup.
Getting it requires more shouting.
The barista not only screams back at the order-taking guy but also out to the crowd: “Un macchiatoooo à emporteeeer”, “Un toll soyaaaa!” – and the customers (similar to folks in a bingo saloon) jump up and scream “Oui, c’est moi! Un toll sojaaaaa!!”
I wonder if the experimental jazz music was supposed to have a calming effect or overplay the ear-battering bus traffic.
“Seul? Okeh?” … ehh yes, that’s mine. I grab my cup and leave the place.
– “Döö yöö vaant somesing döööö aight?”
– “Aight? Kookee?”
I don’t want their corporate cookies. I want a cup in silence.
Grande, double shot soja please.